How did you start this business? What made you get into this industry?
When I was in college, I happened to visit an artisan fair. Something that I noticed almost instantly was that the artisans were struggling to make a living for themselves. I felt that they had the right potential and skills but they did not have the right ecosystem around them. Later, I realised that this was a community level problem that they were facing and I decided to help them out. And that is how this entire venture was started. We did not look at this as a business at first, but as a way of helping the artisans. The only way to truly help them was by helping them sell the beautiful shoes that they made. And while we started doing this, we realised that there was a lot of room for improvement and that business was the only way to get these artisans to the level of activity that would help them grow. Things were always done in a very archaic, traditional manner – just like how it had been done for generations. But the market had changed and the way people were consuming products had changed and that is how we started.
What were the early days like? What were the challenges that you faced?
We started right after college, so we had no experience on how to run a business, how to formulate a company or anything about accounting taxes or anything. We had no idea about this as when we first started, we wanted to know if there is any merit or potential in this business. Now that I look back, you know, I can talk about a lot of things but at that time it was only about ‘how we can survive another day or how do we validate this etc. Our main focus was to see whether the thing that we are doing is actually selling in the market. We kept doing a lot of exhibitions and events to understand what the consumer thinks about our product.
How were your accounting systems before you came across Savage & Palmer?
Firstly, accounts were a huge mess because nobody in our team had a finance background. 4 months into the business, someone came and told us that we were selling products without a bill and that we did not even have a legal name. People used to just order and we would go and deliver it to them. We honestly knew nothing about this so a friend’s dad who was a CA just recommended that we register as a partnership firm. He then started handling the books of accounts for us. But looking back, I would say that he did not really hand hold us the way that it should have been done because a year after working with him, we had no idea whether the TDS was being cut, whether we had a VAT number and the books overall were in a complete mess.
What were some of the challenges that you were facing before Savage & Palmer?
One of the biggest problems that we were facing was that we were spending way too much time on accounting and taxes. It came to a point when I myself was doing accounts and it was all over the place. Plus, we were frequently getting misguided by our CA on various fronts. All of these things were happening and we were not getting enough time to focus on the business and that is when we said we need a Professional Agency to take care of this function all over and that is where the Savage & Palmer team came into the picture. I remember that one of my co-founders saw an advertisement on Facebook and then we immediately contacted the team and took it forward.
What is one element of the SavPalm Service that you enjoy the most?
I think the answer to that would be ‘Reliability’. Whenever any work is assigned to the S&P team, I do not have to double check or follow up with them. They take care of everything in this domain, which allows us to concentrate on other parts of the business. Today, for many entrepreneurs, price is the most important thing. And even for us, it was a deciding factor when we were going forward with our accounting partners. But you have to travel the journey to understand the true value and benefits of the service. Especially for people who are getting into business at a young age with limited experience, there needs to be someone like S&P to guide them through every step.