Anand Prakash is an engineering and economics (honours) graduate from BITS Pilani, after working in the corporate world in the year 1995 he decided to follow his passion – which proved to be gems and jewellery and setup his own store. “It was a huge leap for me, when I decided to venture out on my own. All the same, I had made up my mind and put my whole talent and dedication into this business and today I am happy I did that,” reminisces Prakash. Anand Prakash and his older brother together began the business.
Preparing for online business
Akshay Tritya is a big day for jewellers and a lot of business happens on this day. “Last year Akshay Tritiya was during lockdown and that meant a serious loss of business for us. We didn’t know what to do and just three days before Akshay Tritya, we decided to round-up and created a digital interface and setup the whole ecommerce gateway for online selling. It was a huge task because we had to race against time. Yet the whole team worked day and night and made it possible,” recalls Anand Prakash. They had built a team of ten persons who were trained to attend customer calls and book orders over the phone call, whatsapp and internet. These people had to be motivated to meet this new challenge. They were attending calls 24 x 7.
“I wasn’t a believer of online business – but the pandemic taught us to conduct large business over internet. We did Rs 40 lakh worth business in a short span purely online and that was a huge achievement. We had paid attention to all details to sell products online and how to attend to customer queries and maintained total transparency in our dealings,” he explains. They decided that no enquiry should go unheeded via any media – phone calls, whatsapp, or internet. The categorization of inventory and sharing high resolution pictures with clients is very important and keeping staff motivated to keep up with the safety protocols also is quite a challenge.
I wasn’t a believer of online business – but the pandemic taught us to conduct large business over internet. We did Rs 40 lakh worth business in a short span purely online and that was a huge achievement. We had paid attention to all details to sell products online and how to attend to customer queries and maintained total transparency in our dealings
“Motivation works best – incentivizing staff performance and also how they present themselves to the customer and via word of mouth – through pep talks. The lockdown gave us an opportunity to rethink our business strategies. We got our staff to get training over webinars. Sharing of knowledge and learning is highly important,” he informs.
Every year brings along its own challenges and 2020 had topped it. It brought along unimaginable challenges imposed by the pandemic, also the rampant uncertainty about health, wellbeing and monetary wellbeing. Many people lost their jobs, some fell sick, some succumbed to the viral infection and the whole year was reeling under immense gloom – plus it wasn’t regional – it was global – so retaining a positive frame of mind was all the more difficult. I and some of my colleagues suffered from Corona Virus infection – I had to be hospitalized and was out of action just three days before Diwali. It was when the markets were opening up and demand was rising steadily and I was in hospital. I felt really bad health-wise and was stressed because these were days wherein I wanted to put forward my best effort and I was rendered out of action because of the illness. But our team managed the whole show and we did well.”
Currently markets have opened up and yet Anand Prakash vouches for online business, “If you do not push your products online footfall in the store will not increase. You need to make the most of the online business because visibility over the internet is important in the day and age.”
If you do not push your products online footfall in the store will not increase. You need to make the most of the online business because visibility over the internet is important in the day and age
Agra is a small manufacturing centre for gems and jewellery – “our karigars were in touch with us and many of our Bengali karigars returned in time and most of us had stayed back as well. So our business wasn’t hampered the way business in Mumbai and other larger metro cities was hampered,” he explains.
Expansion is important
Pandemic or not, business expansion and growth should not stop. “We are planning to open a new showroom near Taj Mahal, Agra. It is tourist destination and we hope to build a three-storey showroom covering about 6000 sq ft space.”
Anand Prakash overcame several difficulties and challenges posed by the pandemic with elan and believes that with sheer effort and keen business acumen one can overcome any challenge.