With so much enthusiasm over the successful launch of #start up India, Stand up India, several young guns have began to script their entrepreneurial journey. India is set to be the fastest growing economy this fiscal and with several industries picking pace, the time is probably ripe to consider launching your own startup.
Focussing on the Gems & Jewelry field, the industry has immense scope for new ideas and innovation due to its traditional way of doing business. The industry has jumped onto the bandwagon of innovative business ideas with several e-commerce startups (Augrav, Bluestone) as well as marketplace startups (Myheera). With this boom in mind, we have consolidated few essential aspects that you must consider while launching your startup in the Gems and jewelry industry.
You must be very sure of the idea that you want to pursue as a business, whether it is to sell your jewelry online, become a market place for dealers or to set up a delivery system for luxurious products. If your concept keeps fluctuating, you will end up missing out on key parameters that may help you sustain your business. You must chalk out clearly who is your target audience and how does your product benefit them.
Research for Competitors and study them thoroughly
There may be several competitors or there could be none. But your research regarding this aspect has to be extremely fool proof and should not skip any feature that allows your competitors to take the market from you. List down your competitors, their market size and presence (based on location), number of employees, key executives, etc. This will help you understand whether market exists and to target your audience in the most optimum manner.
Training and Development
You must gain expertise for the concept that you are willing to convert to a business. Training is a dominant step in giving life to your startup which will help you build your product or service. For example, if you wish to start up your own jewelry design studio, you must enrol for a course in jewelry design to gain not only designing skills but also technical and industry knowledge that will facilitate you in being competitive in your business. Similarly, other sub-fields include Diamonds, colored stones (gemstones), knowledge of which may be necessary depending on your requirements.
You need to brainstorm on the subject as to what is the differentiating factor that you are trying to develop that is different from that of your competitors. In short, why would a customer come to you when there are others providing the same product or service. You can either have a big differentiating factor or several small factors. Jot down in a list form the extras that you can provide along with your product or service, such as after sale services, freebies, etc.
Financial Plans and implementation can make or break startups. It is one of the key ingredients that can determine the success of an enterprise. You need to decide whether you will infuse your own capital or require funding. Even if you opt for funding, at what stage of your startup would you require it. It is advisable to prepare a detailed budgeted cost sheet as well as a revenue statement covering every aspect of expenses and every source of revenue that you intend to generate.
You need to build content around your startup including your website, blogs, featured articles, among others that may help you market your product or service and have an internet presence. Additionally you will also need to prepare documented details about your product or service. For example, a user manual of your product or service, add-on services, etc. Furthermore, you may consider a photoshoot of your product based on your requirements. These may be small aspects but at the same time they are time consuming and essential to boost your marketing efforts.
Build social media presence
Now this is an important one where we had to elaborate. Social Media presence has become a necessity in the business environment. It is the only place where your brand is put on the same level as that of large competitors. An extremely economical marketing tool for startups, if used effectively. Even though it brings huge opportunities with it, most enterprises, big or small, have failed to make an impact on social media. The entire campaign should be well-thought and planned with a strategy in mind. It can also be used to communicate with customers, get customer feedback, promote your brand, among other things. Recommended social media sites are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you intend to export your goods or services related to gems and jewelry, then Pinterest is also a good option. Updates to social media sites should not be made just because you have to. The posts should be relevant to your business and useful to your target audience. This will help build a community of followers and in turn generate leads for your business.
Apart from Social media, you can experiment with other marketing and promotional activities such as Radio ads (has become trending again), Print media (such as brochures, catalogues), and other visual content such as video commercials. A mention is necessary here regarding YouTube. You can easily start your own YouTube channel and upload a few promotional videos. Further, you can use such videos as ads on YouTube itself. Some emphasis should also be given to on-field marketing. You can participate in exhibitions showcasing your product/service. Approach clubs, shopping malls and other luxurious events relevant to the Gems & Jewelry industry. Depending on your marketing budget you must plan the entire schedule in advance.
From incorporation to your day-to-day business life, you cannot get rid of legal compliances. Based on the form of entity, you need to be ready with documents such as partnership deed, memorandum and articles of association, Permanent Account Number to launch your startup. Other registrations include Shop and Establishment, Service Tax, VAT/CST, Income tax (TDS) and Labour laws (depending upon the number of employees you hire). Each of these also require monthly/quarterly/semi-anually and annual compliances. Apart from government compliances, you also develop documents such as terms and conditions for your customers, return policies, and privacy policies to ensure smooth functioning of your business. You may consult a lawyer or a Chartered Accountant for all the legal aspects of your business.
A great amount of your startup’s success depends on your ability to network. You should attend as many relevant events, exhibitions, conferences and seminars related to the Gems & Jewelry industry as you can, even of at a cost. Key events such as India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) help to connect with several businesses in the industry. You can choose to organise a workshop inviting your customers and prospective customers enabling them to understand your product/service and build a brand value for your product.
Hope this helps as you build your entrepreneurial path towards success.
We will soon share with you a Detailed Startup Plan template. So follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be updated on the same.
– Naman Ajmera (J K Diamonds Institute)