[What happens after Startup fails] Yunus Dange talks about his Indian Wedding Planner Startup
Earlier, we covered the stories of some endearing entrepreneurs such as Abhijeet Khandagale and Kamal Kalra where they share how their earlier startups shut the shop. They came out more wise and are ready to take on bigger things in life now.
My perception of failure has shifted a bit after I interacted with Yunus Dange for his earlier startup, Glorious Percept. It ran for 2.5 years before he shut it down. It was making money, but Yunus had no passion left to run the startup and chose what his heart said – quit. And now he is busy bringing Adventure sports lovers in India together through fitrangi.
Read on to know more about Yunus and his inspiring startup failure story!
What was your startup idea? What market research did you do before plunging in?
“Indian Wedding Planners” is what our startup refers to.Basically we were into Wedding Planning & Consulting Services. The difference we have is we are following the western pattern in wedding planning business where we are offering pure wedding planning, Consulting services, when the actual scenario with competition is that they have their in-house production houses & selected team of artists & they try to sell their own products along with other services. On the other hand we acted as professional consultants who work as a client to other service providers… we validated the concept through some surveys & also by talking to industry professionals. We were working in the same realm for 6-7 months from where the actual idea came, so we started a company called “Glorious Percept”. I was an employee at one of the wedding decoration company in Mumbai (Mostly handles Designing & post production work) when one of my friend (who ultimately become Co-founder of Glorious percept) came up with the idea to start something on our own with slightly different approach. He also belonged to the family who is into wedding decoration business from long time so we decided to launch’ Glorious Percept’ within one month after resigning from my earlier job. Meanwhile, one more female member joined us. Three of us are from the same institute from where we did our Post graduation in event management , so with familiar partners we founded the company “Glorious Percept”.
How long did the startup run, and what were the early signs of trouble?
Three of us are different in our area of work &we thought that was a great, as we have started well with our first project in the month of Dec 2010 & with against all odds & problems we still ran the company till June, 2013 (2 and half years) . The first year of business was really good as we managed 2-3 very good weddings & our services got appreciated but the real problem arose when we realize that it was difficult to get clients with this model as the Indian Audience is still not ready for this approach (Paying for just consultancy is not easily acceptable in Indian wedding market)…May be we are 2-3 years early to implement this model, Today I think there is more acceptability to this approach specially in higher middle class families. As we don’t possess any in-house production we found it difficult to face the competition as it was very difficult to convince clients about the nature of our services. In this critical situation, finally dealing with it for almost 1 and half years, the internal imbalance started to rise as one of our partner decided to distance him from the work as he had to go to Jaipur (he belonged to Jaipur) to handle his family business and due to some internal problems in his family and he can’t avoid it. Knowing the present situation of glorious percept and the indirect opportunity he had to continue his family business back in Jaipur, we failed to convince him to stay back which was totally acceptable.
This was a first and biggest sign of trouble we came across as he was the thinking brain behind Glorious Percept , so once he chickened out it was difficult for us to continue. So I decided to handle Marketing & Client servicing department which proved to be the biggest mistake since I wasn’t cut out for that kind of a job. I was a creative head & mostly involved in planning & execution, hence no experience and confidence in my new role. It ultimately proved costly for the business. Things got worse every passing day.
Were you full time or part-time working on your startup?
All of us were full time, frankly speaking I think there is nothing part time entrepreneurship, yes you can start part time but unless you work full time you won’t see any progress. Risk is the biggest requirement for startup, if you can’t take that risk then you are not a startup material , yes there are exceptions but not everyone will fall in that category.
When do you realize that this is the moment to quit, and what went on through your mind at that time?
It’s been 1 year I was running the company with one remaining partner and some freelancers & things were looking to settle down a little bit while getting occasional projects. meanwhile we had started online free consulting which gave us visibility in social media and finally we got one of our biggest client & working on that project for 4-5 months we had executed the biggest project of Glorious Percept & after the event we received the payment and this time the profit shares were very high as compared to our earlier events but I had no excitement left about it. The joy was missing and finally I realized that the main reason for slow progress and all the fears and problems is not outer condition but it is something inside me, lack of passion and determination. Even if I was a Co-founder of this company I lacked the vision for Glorious Percept as I was not into it fully. Startup should be passion-driven and if you lack that then nothing can help you. There was no such motivation & passion inside me for Glorious Percept may be because I was looking at it as good money making business and continuing it further might have given me money but that satisfaction was missing which would guide me in long run so finally I had to quit Glorious Percept. Everyone opposed my decision to quit because I had fought a long way to settle it down but I think sometimes you have to think beyond making money, your startup should solve genuine problems and most importantly you should have that passion and confident in your startup which make you different from others.
How bad was it, after the startup failed?
Frankly speaking it was bad as far as career and financial conditions are concern but emotionally it feels great quitting something which you are not enjoying & not having that passion to continue but yes It takes time to come out of that failure zone which was very difficult.
In introspection, what could you have done to save your startup? Would more money / connections / mentorship / expertise have helped?
I think starting very early has its own negatives and in my case its mentorship & good team is what I think would had saved my startup. Also I think when it comes to startup you should not depend on others (not even on Co-founders, you should be confident to continue it irrespective of them), you should have full faith on your startup idea, only then you can continue it in the long run. In my case, I think it was the team I was dependent on and I never thought about negative aspects of it before facing the crisis.
What suggestions would you like to give people venturing into entrepreneurship, based on your experience?
Startup is not for everyone; today it is much glamorized so most of the people coming towards it thinking that it is easy way to become millionaire but it is completely opposite. Forget about being a millionaire you may lose everything you have including your goodwill & sometimes confidence. So people who are really serious about entrepreneurship should not only think about the positives and be optimistic, they should also think about the negative effect, & be ready to face the crisis with the motivation to overcome it. Overall they should judge the scenario well and decide how much they can afford to lose in this journey. Entrepreneurship is more of an internal thing, yes your startup success is dependent on many external factors but it is your passion, hard work & belief that can make a difference. One should be ready for failures & have that fighting spirit to overcome it.
What are you doing now? And how has this startup failure impacted you as a person? Would you start up again? What would be your basic checklist before you startup?
After going through some self learning and family & friend suggestions which were guiding me to take a safe path to settle down and join some MNC’s, I again decided to jump into a startup.(can’t help …Startup is like addiction , once it catches you , you will never be comfortable in anything else) Of course, this time I am using all my learning’s from earlier startup failure.Presently I am working on a concept related to a online portal for “Adventure Sports In India” called Fitrangi (you can have a look at the experimental version here at www.fitrangi.com) I am trying to create a online community to connect Adventure Sports Sector in India, being a adventurer myself I finally understand the immense passion I share for this sector and decided to work on solving the problems of this sector.
I think failures are nothing but learning’s. My earlier failure makes me more mature and practical as far as business approach is concerned, it also taught me biggest lesson of life that never depend on others.People will come and go , some will have a positive impact on your startup, some may have a negative impact but one thing is sure that the “startup must go on” , you have to find ways to move ahead facing all the difficulties.
As far as checklist is concern there is no checklist as such the only thing you should need to startup your venture is full confidence in your idea and never die/give-up attitude towards it that’s it.
Startup is difficult but it is exciting at the same time if you are doing it with the right mindset and with proper vision.
We thank Yunus for being so open and sharing things that will benefit every single person reading this. Wishing him very good luck for fitrangi!