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When We Met Akash Gehani

The below piece about When We Met Podcast is written by Shubhangi Singh and you can connect with her on Instagram for any questions or to share your opinion about the piece. You can also listen to When We Met podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Hubhopper, Gaana, Anchor or any other podcast app or even watch it on Platform For Artists's YouTube channel.

Before we even get into this episode details, you can know about the last online flea market we curated in August 2020. In 2015, KMPG predicted that small businesses in India will contribute approximately 22% of the GDP while amongst them, 27% of all the small business owners use the internet extensively to become an e-commerce business. The GDP might not be the same today as they projected but it is evident that small businesses are growing rapidly in India with the help of digitisation.

The importance of the internet and digitisation has seen massive growth in the year 2020 when businesses around the world no longer have the choice to be online but rather a necessity to turn their business digital. Needless to say, bringing your business online can boost your visibility manifold, especially if you have a creative/art business.

In today’s episode of When We Met Podcast, Pawan Rochwani talked to Akash Gehani, Co-Founder of Instamojo, India’s largest on-demand payments and e-commerce platform that empowers over 1,200,000 micro-entrepreneurs, start-ups, MSMEs, to start and grow their business online across mobile and web. Pawan asked him about the early internet days and how the internet has evolved since 2012. “When we started Instamojo back in 2012, people didn’t have JIO and Facebook as much as we have now today. Today it’s a big part of everyone’s life and that changes everything”

What being an entrepreneur means? While discussing about the internet they also talked about what according to Akash, being an entrepreneur means and he descriptively shared his insights. “Being an entrepreneur is a mindset. Some folks are born with it and some of us build and design it. There was one thing I was always looking for - what makes one happy the most. I wanted to see how and what I create is benefitting people out there.” He added – “Second is, how to enjoy doing that thing. If I am spending good 9-10 hours into something as regular as my work, I should be happy in whatever I am doing.”

He also shared that when you develop a passion for creating something – a business or entrepreneurship, you won’t be ever satisfied with your 9to5 job. You want to create an impact in people's life. You want to make big decisions about how one company can shape up in the future to benefit people and other companies sound the world.

When one transitions from a working professional to an entrepreneur, it never is a cakewalk but it sure is not entirely tiring. Akash shared that it is not only the work-life balance which we need to keep in mind but actually our mindset. He says – “The biggest transition for me was realising that your mind can never rest. I think I am not really busy all the time but the other part of my mind is always thinking of my work. At the back of your head you are always concerned what your business should look like.” How pandemic affected small businesses?

Crisil Ltd in a recent report said that the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector’s revenue growth will plunge into deep red this fiscal because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the beginning of the pandemic we had no clue when things will go back to normal and the offline festivals, events and flea market will take place and unfortunately, we still don’t have an answer. Platform For Artists came up with the idea to start an online flea market and its 4th edition is now in partnership with Instamojo featuring 50 artisans and small business owners around the country.

Multiple other businesses listed on Instamojo were affected when the pandemic rolled over. Small business in general was affected majorly as everything they futuristically planned went in vain. “Small businesses reacted in a way that how can we survive this so that we don’t fall back when all of this is over. Since last year there has been a trend of businesses coming online but by making a website and selling online isn’t sufficient instead to make the most out of the digital world. Business owners saw that it is no longer a choice to adopt the internet rather its time to go online and make a presence” said Akash. We couldn’t agree more. Sometimes it is not necessary to thrive out of the situation but to survive and come out of it learning something new than before. What are some common mistakes small business owners make? E-commerce business is surely not novel but the technicalities of it keeps on evolving as the web evolves. The Internet is the most lucrative place and it all depends on how you use the most of it. There is a scope of making mistakes in almost everything and transitioning your business into an online business can push you into a confusion. With the internet now becoming more diverse with its ever-changing algorithms, people tend to make mistakes. Akash gave us an interesting insight over what people might do wrong while turning their business online.

“When you start your online business, you tend to spend a lot of time on perfecting the product. But the customer doesn't care how beautiful your product is because all the customer wants is how your product solves their problem.” Any business who is going from offline to online mode the sooner they figure out the way to add value to their consumers, the better. That’s how primarily every business works. But by virtue of being online you have direct access to know your customer first-handedly about their preferences, their internet foot-print and where they are coming from. This is the chance to form a connection with your consumers globally. Companies around the world are initiating steps to encourage and help local/small businesses to revive back into the economy. On 30th September Google announced that it has partnered with third-party online platforms such as Instamojo, Zoho, Swiggy and Dunzo to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) build their digital presence as more and more consumers turn to online purchases amid the pandemic.

But the question here is what are YOU going to do to help small or local businesses? Will #VocalForLocal will be left only over hashtags or will it actually make an impact in action over local businesses. It all depends on the consumers. Us as the consumer.

To listen to the full conversation with Akash Gehani, Co-founder of Instamojo, tune into When We Met Podcast by Platform For Artists. You can also listen to When We Met podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Hubhopper, Gaana, Anchor or any other podcast app or even watch it on Platform For Artists's YouTube channel.