In these fast-paced times, getting nourishment on-the-move is important. Packaged coconut water seemed like a brilliant offering.
But, the start-up journey when riddle with struggles you aren’t prepared for, can lead to a failed or absent product launch. So what went wrong and why don’t we finally see ‘God’s Water’ in the market?
Here are some excerpts from our QnA with Rohit Rathi; co-founder, ‘God’s Water’.
How (and why) did the idea of ‘God’s Water’ come about?
Once when in Thailand, I noticed people drinking fresh chilled coconut water at the beach. It was kept in an ice box. It was very refreshing and so I wanted to deliver the same experience in India. But it’s not easy to carry & store coconuts. So we thought of packaging coconut water.
When setting-up, what were some of the initial challenges you faced?
We were not food technologists neither did we have any experience in the FMCG sector for sales & distribution. But we are strong in procuring raw material.
Our biggest challenge was to find key people, experts who can deliver & fill the gap where you are not strong. Getting all this expertise was the biggest challenge right from the technical know-how till market launch.
What public policies and initiatives would have helped your startup?
Today, app and web-based services are part of our life. Few years ago, they weren’t. Brands like Big Basket, Flipkart, etc have become household names. This means that in some way, our economy and people have provided the right platform for growth and progress.
It is far easier to launch a new business today as opposed to few years ago. But, getting your first steps right is important.
Was your product ahead of time?
Yes, our business plan was based on the ‘Home delivery’ model & referred vehicle. 3 years ago, mobile apps, and home delivery services across sectors had just started & were not that popular. Today’s businesses are moving to be more app based, this in turn has paved the way for strong logistics and delivery systems too. This would have helped our product too.
Do you think that India’s current start-up boom is here to stay; can you share your thoughts on this?
Yes, I do believe it is here to stay. Young people are taking things ahead. Demonetization helped brands like PayTm become a way of life! Indians are accepting new things and new technology faster. People want things easily and want things done conveniently, this will help keep the road for new business and opportunities open.
Do you plan to have any other ventures in the future?
We are growing. We may think of how to start ‘God’s Water’ again. Apart from that, we are looking for new opportunities; maybe in a different domain.
What would you have done differently, what would you have corrected if you could go back in time to launch?
I would have first brought in more industry experts and Finance professionals on 1 table to create a strong business plan. I would have focused more on the market survey. It would have been important to understand how feasible the product would have been at that time. Rather than creating a new eco-system I would rely on an existing eco-system. I would have changed my MRP and kept a higher MRP and made a more feasible plan. It would have helped to go-to-market in a more planned manner.
What would you tell upcoming start-ups / entrepreneurs to bear in mind during the initial stage of their launch / set-up?
You need to have the right business plan, we cannot be perfect or 100% right but having the right approach helps a lot. There is nothing wrong in correcting a business plan mid way. See what your brand needs in the beginning and focus on investing on what’s most important. This is the key. Make sure your business plan should be self sustaining after sometime, maybe 1 or 2 years..
Most start-ups close down because of financials. If your plan is good you will get funds for scaling up. Don’t burn money. And lastly, don’t spend it just because you have to achieve targets or you have a financier.