Q: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans:InOnIt is a one-stop information portal where users are kept abreast with all the new, fresh and different happenings in the lifestyle space in Mumbai. Be it shopping, restaurants and bars, salons and spas, weekend getaways and other services, InOnIt is a curated marketplace for both information and products.It also introduces college students and working professionals in the age group of 18-35 to various offbeat and mainstream options for shopping, entertainment and leisure. Shopping on InOnIt is just a click away. The website also features lots of affordable lifestyle products by some unique and emerging brands and designers. These products can be bought by clicking the “Buy Now” button, which will take members to the www.shop.inonit.in where they can make the purchase. The product will be delivered right to your doorstep. Payments can be made via cash on delivery or credit card.
Q: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: Co-founders Meghna Mittal and Namrata Kothari met at the Wharton School. They both graduated in 2006 with a degree in Economics and continued to work in New York for a few years. Meghna worked for Bear Sterns and Namrata worked at Goldman Sachs. When the duo returned to Mumbai in 2010, they began researching options for potential business opportunities in India and sectors and spaces where they might be able to add value.
Q: What ignited the spark in you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: We came to realize that the Indian online space was being flooded by websites offering deep discounts and daily deals, e-directories and e-magazines. But we found very little online that would help us get around our own city, Mumbai and keep us updated with everything in the lifestyle space. We were used to having such resources in New York. Thus, was born the idea to have a comprehensive directory as well as an event update system making it easy for members to just log on to find out general information about all lifestyle merchants in their city. Along the way, as we discovered new and upcoming brands across India, we decided to give our members the ability to purchase from them online itself, which brings us to part 2 – Shop.InOnIt.in, which was launched in December 2011.
Q: How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: We have a young and very motivated team. They have been crucial to the journey thus far and will be very important going forward. We constantly have discussions regarding new ideas and potential ways to grow and get the word out about us. Ours is a people-oriented business and so the quality of employees is very important, be it writers for InOnIt.in or customer service and support for Shop.InOnIt.in .
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
1. Get some work experience at a start-up. You’ll learn that being an entrepreneur is not easy and you’ll learn about challenges you will face when you start a business.
2. Stay updated on the space you are interested in. Be it clean energy, ecommerce, education or anything else, subscribe to the relevant news channels and try and meet people in the industry when you can.
3. Think of people you may want to work with. Be it friends or people you meet in the course of your research, keep in mind those whose skill sets would complement yours and would add value over what you already know.
Q: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: No don’t think so. I feel the few years of work experience that both Meghna and I gained helped us develop a strong work ethic and professionalism.
Q: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: Firstly, Perseverance as you need to be in for the long haul. Secondly, one has to be adaptive to new ideas and lastly, the ability to multi-task.
Q: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: There cannot be an exact answer for this. Some businesses take years to become successful, and some are overnight successes. We would stick with an idea as long as we see it heading in a positive direction.
Q: How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: There are no exact work hours for an entrepreneur, but we work for 9 hours at the desk and then plug into the laptop whenever needed.
Q: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: It has not affected our family lives. It does take a toll on your social life a bit, but it is all about prioritizing.
Q: What motivates you?
Ans: Success and the possibility of building something unique.
Q: How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: Discuss stuff openly, think aloud, have group meetings in our office, ask employees to make notes when they think of something useful.
Q: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: Not grabbing an opportunity. Just keep working at it.
Q: Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: Our organization’s capital came from an angel investor who was interested in our idea. We had many meetings and discussions with him to go over the idea and the potential behind it.
Q: How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: In this competitive industry, marketing really helps, but the product should be great.
Q: How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: We were both based in Mumbai so it was a natural choice for us.
Q: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: No, not really. Each story is different, but the one common thread is perseverance.
Q: What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favorite book?)
Ans: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand really inspires me.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: Being able to make decisions that you have conviction in.