My motivation for writing this article is to get suggestions/help from Rodinhoods like you. Kindly do post your valuable comments. I am thankful to rodinhoods.com for publishing it.
It was mid-summer of 2016 when an idea of starting an e-commerce portal struck my mind. But unlike other e-commerce companies, the motivation here was something more than the revenue generation and profit making. I wanted to take an initiative to help Kashmiri Saffron farmers. It was no innovative idea nor was there any high level of creativity involved in it. It was a modern cliched thought of going online and using internet to realize your virtual thoughts. But I wanted to give it a try. I wanted to contribute my part rather than just thinking over it.
I formulated my idea or you can say penned down my business model. I thought of a business where the profit margin involved in the product will by narrowed down. That way, we not only can provide high value to the farmer side but can provide the product at a very low cost to customer side. The below graph may be helpful in understanding this. (the scale is arbitrary)
The portion shown in blue is the cost offered to the farmer and in our case that would be more. The total height of the rectangle is the cost of saffron from consumer side and that in our case will be lower than normal. The orange part is the profit margin, which is self-explanatory.
I contacted one of my close friends and discussed the idea with him. While he seemed little convinced but was worried of starting a business with negligible profit margin. Finally, he asked
Friend: Do you think it will work, setting a negligible margin will leave no motivation for us to work for it in long term.
Me: You are absolutely right, a business needs to be sustainable and I have planned for that too.
Friend: And what is that plan of yours?
Me: We will be providing high quality Saffron at very affordable prices, that will attract more people in long term to our website.
Friend: Then? The margin is low anyways.
Me: Yeah, but launching other similar products on already visited website will do the job.
On 5th October 2016, we officially launched our company. Along with saffron we added Kashmiri Walnuts and Almonds for the profit to be there
At that time, we were having no sources of funding. Everything we invested was out of our own pockets. Since the resources were limited, we did not want to outsource the website designing and domain registration. We did everything on our own. I choose the name for our company as Kesar Kottage (I do not know why: p). We got our domain registered as http://kesarkottage.com. Currently after one year of the launch, Kesar Kottage has covered six farmers and has served more than 500 customers.
The numbers above might not be that significant but every figure added to the above numbers increase our enthusiasm by tenfold.
We were in an experimental phase and now want to scale the things up and by the medium of Rodinhoods.com, I want to take suggestions from you all on how we can achieve it. Currently our only source of reaching out to our customers is through Search engines and social media. I want to know the other ways of advertising/marketing strategies that are low cost as well as effective. Since we are new to the business world, any sort of other suggestion/advice from you would be appreciated.
Thanks & Regards