The Process - Chapter 4 - The Calm Before The Storm
When this began, there were three of us - let’s call us Mr. A, B and C.
Mr. A had returned to the UK which was where he was attending University, Mr. B at the time was based in Singapore after graduation, looking for jobs and Mr. C was also attending University based in Bangalore which was where we were planning to launch.
Although the three of us were present at that Chinese restaurant discussing ideas, only Mr. A and Mr. B were truly excited about this particular idea. Mr. C at the time was quite caught up with university and was also pretty focused on doing his own thing. Now Mr. A and Mr. B were a little too focused on building the brand the way they wanted to that it soon seemed like a distant concept to Mr. C.
He eventually let us know that he wanted to do his own thing and that he could not possibly be as involved or excited about this as we were. At first, we did feel a tinge of negativity considering it was a crucial phase of the idea - Mr. C was supposed to be the partner on the ground in Bangalore while Mr. A and B were thousands of miles away.
But we soon realised that it was quite mature of him to be honest with us and let us know how he felt at a relatively early stage of the business. He also let us know that he was willing to help us with logistics and delivery when things do get up and running. We soon came to really appreciate his gesture. We also learned to not take for granted a business partner that shares the same amount of enthusiasm and excitement for the idea.
So now it was just the two of us and there was a sea of things to do. For starters, we needed a designer. So the hunt began.
The first thing we did that worked out for us was to just reach out to friends and family (in person, social media, etc.). We approached them as we would investors - pitching the idea and explaining how we could benefit them since we clearly needed them more than they needed us.
We realised the importance of finding somebody who valued learning and experience just as much as us. We were just starting out, we were not loaded with cash or at capacity to start paying salaries.
What we could barter on was an experience with a couple of other eager learners who would help each other to get better at what they do. Of course, we also offered a monetary incentive but on the basis of our performance.
We got our first designer, Abel. A genuine, dedicated design student who also wanted to build his portfolio and was kind enough to help out for free (we compensated him of course) but he was the exact kind of person we were looking for.
He helped us polish up our first iteration of the logo, set up the foundation for our design-to-production format and also a couple of kickass designs which eventually landed us our first order with a personal contact.
We were ecstatic when we saw the money in our account. Now it was time to produce and deliver.
You know how they say you’re bound to make mistakes the first time round?
Little did we know we were headed into a storm - a storm that would decide whether we were cut out for this.