There Is No Alternative To Hard Work.
By Ms. Purnima Rao- Owner of Fresh2all
Beautiful Minds - 'Wings of Inspiration'
Ms. Purnima Rao – A woman who is catering to fresh fruits and vegetables across New Gurgaon and making lives of Home makers and Restaurants very simple and cost effective. Here is a journey of a woman who believes in catering to pesticide free products.
Q.1 Tell us about the beautiful journey that you have travelled so far ?
I started my entrepreneurial journey in July 2015 and since then it has been a roller coaster ride. After my 2nd daughter was 2 years old, I was contemplating to either join my IT job back or start something of my own. I am glad I decided not to go back to IT job. Not to boast much but I'm happy with the result we have achieved so far. Looking at the amount of money burnt by our competitors, if I'm able to maintain operational profitability at Fresh2all, then it's not too bad. We have been an agile organization and have been adapting ourselves to changes in our approach to sustain and grow Fresh2all.
Q.2 Give us an insight of your business 'FRESH2ALL' ?
We started with B2C model, later added B2B, as we wanted to increase the volume of products we buy to reduce our product cost and attain higher margins keeping low Sales price. We always had challenges in getting organic products, that too at right price that we realized early-on, hence we decided to ramp up B2B and lower B2C until we have more farmers doing organic farming. With the right team, we are expecting to close FY 2017-18 at 80+ lacs. Since more than a year now, we had been in operational profits, without considering management salaries. In FY 2016-17 we did revenue of 36+ lacs and in 8 months of FY 2015-16, our revenue was 16lacs. We have been able to demonstrate growth without incurring losses. We have made our niche space in B2B by lowering our costs to procure most of the products directly from farmers, while also buying lot of products from wholesale mandi. We started with a LLP company and in July 2017, we opened a Pvt. Ltd. Company as we wanted to raise some equity based funding after firm foundation. We are still in talks to raise some funds from friends/family/customer/HNI/investor route. With funds for credit coverage, we could exponentially grow as now we have laid a solid foundation in B2B domain in Gurgaon. Without funds also, we are growing but the pace is little slow.
Q.3 What motivated & inspired you to start your own business ?
With 2 breaks for my daughters, I thought going back to corporate job would mean, I will have to settle for relatively less salary and lower role as compared to others of my age. Moreover, going back to 9 hours job would mean less time for family. Hence to maintain a balance between my self-respect, career and family time taking the risk of doing something of my own is worth. Indeed, I'm thankful to my family who supported me throughout my journey. Being from technology background, mostly I’m able to manage my work from home. We use cloud base software besides social network tools.
Q.4 According to you, what are the key aspects that can help an Indian woman to achieve professional and business success?
Focus, dedication, perseverance helps a lot combined with passion in what we do. Its important to maintain balanced personal and family life for happiness, hence its critical to continuously try and maintain that balance. Ultimately family life or happiness impacts a lot on professional success too.
Q.5 What is the greatest obstacle you had faced in achieving the success you desired? How did you overcome it?
Funding was the major challenge and with no option left, I had to make it sustainable somehow, which meant I had to be agile in my approach. For instance, starting with B2C and ending with B2B as a major revenue share of Fresh2all. Even though we wanted to always sell organic, however there are cost and availability challenges for organic products hence, we decided to focus on organic from a long-term perspective while deliver what is available at low cost for the market, hence B2B focus increased in last 1 year or so. We found B2B as a good model too where we have predictable revenues and no wastage with almost zero inventory model. We have about 35+ B2B Customers in Gurgaon that we are growing slowly due to lack of funds to fund the credit period in B2B industry. However, with the solid base of B2B Customers in Gurgaon, once we have funds we could exponentially grow. This year we want to add some of non-vegetarian in our offering catalog as we can easily sell more products to our existing customers and increase our revenue.
Q.6 Do you manage your finances on your own and do you have knowledge of all your investments ?
I manage all the company's finances myself. As I have not taken out much money from the company so far, hence our home finances are still managed by my spouse's salary and our property rental income. But I think I'm good at managing finances.
Q.7 Should women have financial knowledge and how much important it is for a woman to to be financially independent ?
Financial knowledge is definitely very important for running a business, and also for managing home finances. Being financially independent is very critical for the self respect of women, if we look at the mirror.
Q.8 What advice would you give to the young women entrepreneurs about being more organized and informed about startups ?
It is very important for young women to be more aware and it is very easy in today's time as technology has taken a different shape all together. It's important to read and connect with right people. Most importantly, for being an entrepreneur, it is extremely important to have a vision.
Q.9 The young entrepreneurs will love to know your SUCCESS MANTRA, so that they can also use it for their business growth.
There is no alternative to hard work. My success mantra would be that while being agile, focus on the vision, be patient and target to grow by building a sustainable business. Frankly I’m yet to classify myself as successful, but I feel we are slowly inching towards success.