About Plan B
How did you start this business? What made you get into this industry?
My Business partner, Sneha and I, we are actually Chartered Accountants and we have worked in investment banking for a really long time. Then, Sneha quit and decided to pursue entrepreneurship where she set up a niche retail and online store which ran for sometime and shut down 10 years ago. I on the other hand quit investment banking after I gave birth to my baby and during this entire process of taking care of my child, I could not find any good apparel for her, something which was interesting and exciting. I realised that the clothing and undergarments for kids was just normal and bland – with standard patterns like dots, polka dots and stripes. Nothing fun. So one day, me and Sneha were just discussing this and came to the conclusion that why don’t we try creating something and then that was the reason this started and Plan B was born.
What were the issues that you faced in the initial stages while starting out?
Well, luckily we did not have a cash flow issue as our business is totally self funded by both of us. Cashflow is basically something that a lot of businesses struggle with. We were lucky to escape that hassle. But yes, in terms of learning, a lot of challenges that we faced helped us in the long run. Because this whole space was totally new for both of us. We had to literally learn the process of understanding fabrics, what work and those that don’t. From personal experience, dealing with kids and being a mom myself, I know we are the most picky when it comes to kids so getting the quality absolutely top notch and making sure it is comfortable for the child, getting the right raw material to make sure that there are no itches and scratches or marks on the skin. Learning curves like these are what shapes us into better entrepreneurs at the end of the day.
How were your accounting systems before you came across Savage & Palmer?
Accounting for us was very difficult in the initial stages because, even though we are chartered accountants ourselves, neither of us had ever practiced as a Chartered Accountant as we were both in investment banking. So we had never done any practical tax applications and we were really unaware about the day to day requirements. So we had got somebody on board who was very mediocre. I would say that they were not as organised as Savage & Palmer and were just like one of those individual chartered accountants who would just do all work on a very informal and unstructured basis. But soon we realised within a year or so that this is not working for us and then we came across Savage & Palmer and then just decided to move immediately.
How did you find Savage & Palmer?
Actually, it was a referral which we had got. Savage & Palmer did accounts for a really close friend of Sneha’s, and the CEO recommended to us that we check out your team. I think that’s how we came to know about S&P. Plus Sneha is a cathedral alumni and I believe even your founders are cathedral alumni, so I think it was a combination of all of that.
Could you elaborate on the problems you were facing in accounts?
So it basically boiled down to lack of accountability. It was like a one man show as we being the founders were not that involved in accounts and were trying to grow the business and everything. The accounting was happening but honestly, it was a total mess. Now the situation is completely different. With S&P, there are three layers of checks and we have one person who handles our data entry then above there is manager that manages everything and above them there is a Technical Head. So I mean, now I know there is accountability and it’s not just data entry but also managing our compliances etc, so we don’t have to really bother with what’s happening as it feels like it’s all automated. Because S&P takes care of the finance aspect, we have been doubling our sales every year. It is a combination of everything, our business has grown and you guys manage to keep accounts under control.
What is one element of the S&P service that you enjoy the most?
Reliability I would say. As I mentioned, it helps as I don’t have to look at the monthly compliances etc and I know that the accounts are going to be closed and managed. To an extent, I don’t have to really bother much about the accounts now because it’s perfect. As a matter of fact, we have discussed an increase in scope of work from this year onwards where in S&P is taking up more of the finance related stuff which I was personally doing myself! So yes, super reliable!