We started small, but with time, Sigmastore became a brand name in NIT Warangal. We started it to have profits but later on, converted it into a library model to benefit the students to the maximum.
so how did I started this startup? Get to know about it in this blog.
For those who want to watch the video instead of reading it, here is the link:
Without further ado, let's start!
For any start-up, the 1st thing is its idea. My start-up idea was based on a very simple observation which is: If any new student comes to college then what goes on in his mind? that he will study well and get a good job, right? Now, wherever we talk about studies, the first thing which comes to our mind is books. This mindset is continuing from our school time, that if you want to learn a new skill or study a new subject then we first think about which books to buy.
so I noticed that in our 1st year, many of my friends bought new books. (Even I also bought 2-3 xD). But when the semester ended, I realized that I haven't studied that much (yeah!). I had only studied 1-2 chapters from each book. I felt it would've been better if I had bought second-hand books, or got photocopies...
then I realized that there should be a platform where you can get second-hand books for a cheap price. so before going home for our summer holidays we contacted all the seniors who were passing out of college and we asked them to sell all of their books to us for 25-30% of MRP. We went to the room of each senior and bought all the books. We made an investment of around 30-35k. We stored all books, calculators & drafters in a room.
In the next 2-3 months we developed our own website (sigmastore.in) and updated all the photos, costs, and counts of each book available.
When freshers joined in college, we did a hell lot of publicity (it was a very exciting time!). I still remember that we got pamphlets and posters printed and my friend stuck one pamphlet in front of the washroom xD in hope that it will have more publicity. (yes! you have to do many things like these).
We also forwarded a message on each WhatsApp group that there is a start-up of college itself that will sell you books, drafters, and calculators at a very cheap price. so within the next 3 days, we became out of stock and within 2 days we had sales of around 80k Rs. If you watch closely, we were already in profit from starting and this was only based on 1st-year material. so if we sold 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-year books then we would've made more profits.
Why it was a win-win situation for everyone?
Think wrt a 1st-year student: He doesn't need to buy new books. He is getting old books at 40% of MRP and we are also ready to buy them again at 35% of MRP. so he is going to spend only 5% on each book (which is even lesser than 1month library dues).
Think wrt a senior: We are giving them 30% of MRP on old books, which no other retailer will do. They also don't need to travel to the market for selling. We are buying everything by going to their rooms or within the college campus.
Think wrt Company: In that 5-10% margin, we were having profit and managing operations cost (we were spending 5-10 Rs on each book for binding or stick the books which were torn).
We also tried out a library model. We changed the whole platform in form of a library in which we started giving books as rent. 1-2 companies also sponsored us for ads on our website. I still remember that in our 2nd year itself, we did sales of more than 1 Lakh Rs.
We continued this for 2 more years. When we came to 3rd year and understood the whole market, what goes in the mind of students, which books are really important and which are not, so we thought of expanding it to other colleges also. We selected 5 colleges and set up a good network in all of them.
We also onboarded a couple of interns and hired graphic designers. all of our posts were ready along with social media channels (Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram). But just when we had our first meeting, within the next 2-3 days, the Covid came. Unfortunately, when we came home we had to stop all of our services and we never got the chance to start this business again 😔
so this was my start-up story and I learned a lot from this. I understood how to manage people, operations cost, how to manage work in less money, how publicity & management is done. I learned a lot about startups and business. I do hope that whoever is watching this video, if you are in your college years then you can start the same in your college & implement this business model. It will give you ' A Taste of Entrepreneurship' i.e what does the start-up ecosystem feels like.
That's all for this blog guys. See you in the next one!