#inspiringstories@Awfis: Bringing the essence of India closer to you - ShopHop

Inspiring Stories

29 July 2016

#inspiringstories@Awfis: Bringing the essence of India closer to you - ShopHop

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

#inspiringstories@Awfis is an initiative by Awfis Editorial Team to showcase the brilliant business ideas and the journey of our startup member community.

The smell of the fresh mango chutney, the crisp green beans, those bright bell peppers, and the aroma of the organic tea are just few of the things that make your mouth water. We live in a world where organic, fresh and homegrown foods sound like a fairytale.

It is amidst this, that ShopHop brings its USP. ShopHop is a curated marketplace of the finest natural, artisanal and homegrown brands from across India. They pride themselves in sourcing the most innovative brands from homes, kitchens, farms and markets across the country and in showcasing these brands to consumers. At the heart of their mission is the desire to build a new community centered on food and wellness. They are providing budding artisans and food entrepreneurs across the country with a holistic platform to showcase their talents and products and their customers with an entirely new discovery based experience.

ShopHop was founded by a small, yet an ambitious team comprising of Anirban Poddar, Dhruv Jhaveri, Amer Ahmad and Pramod Kokare. Anirban is the Founder & brainchild behind ShopHop. Dhruv handles partnerships and business development. Amer looks after operations and business strategy while Pramod is the in-house SEO expert.

ShopHop-Team-blog-image
Team ShopHop

It was in the fall semester of 2012 when Anirban Poddar took some time off from Columbia and was taken up by how large and fragmented the unorganized retail market in India was. Anirban says, “We tried to bring 15-20 of the most popular local stores in South Mumbai online and helped them digitize their operations while opening them up to the entire Indian market through our portal. That said – this was more of a pet project that I looked at on weekends and in my spare time without the constant attention and focus that it deserved.”

When he returned in July 2015, they decided to pivot the model with hyper local, proving to be a very thin margin business with heavy dependence on logistics infrastructure. As a frequent visitor of farmer’s markets and food exhibitions, Anirban noticed a huge untapped market for food entrepreneurs. Many of these individuals and hobbyists were making incredible food items but lacked the platform and branding/business know-how to build sustainable businesses from their talents. They realized that the industry needed help, and thus they began an online community that was as immersive as the farmers’ market experiences.

Building the food entrepreneurs’ network required a lot of research and sourcing at farmers’ markets and exhibitions. They connected and built a whole network of food entrepreneurs who further helped them with vendors.  Various food entrepreneurs also contacted them and got in touch directly with Shop Hop.

ShopHop mainly looks for brands that are either natural or artisanal. All their products are organic, sustain-ably produced, or made entirely of natural ingredients with no artificial additives or preservatives often found in mass-produced brands. Their products are handpicked by ShopHop’s sourcing team and offer funky twists on traditional recipes, span across an array of ethnic foods or are made with unique (even patented!) methods of production. Not only does it have to be of top quality, but it should also have an interesting story that people can believe in.

Being an entrepreneur at 23 comes with a host of challenges that require a lot of rapid learning. That said, two of the major challenges directly associated with ShopHop have been awareness and logistics.

Anirban says, “It takes time to educate customers about unique and innovative new food brands and why they make for a greater purchase decision.  They are in some ways changing behaviors here and that takes investment and time.” He adds, “The second but greater hassle has definitely been logistics and deliveries. This is a major operational challenge across the country and after several months of attempting to fulfill this on our own we decided to outsource logistics to a third party provider. However, we continue to handle pick-ups to ensure quality control and oversight and this comes with a number of its own challenges.”

With a vision to become the go-to platform for food entrepreneurs to build sustainable growth, PAN-India brands and for customers to discover the most exciting and innovative packaged food products, Anirban believes that there is a greater design and everything happens for a reason.  The goal to reach 300 brands in Mumbai by mid-2017 and a target of 120 crore GMV by December 2017 shows that ShopHop is the one to look out for!

We think that Anirban’s entrepreneurial journey is motivational and we are proud to have such inspiring stories building in our centres!

This is an inspiration to all of us to start our dream venture by taking a single step. Take your first step by hiring a co-working office space Churchgate, Mumbai or Connaught Place, New Delhi and write your success story here.

This story is based on the interview of Mr. Anirban Poddar, Founder – Shop Hop by Awfis Editorial Team.

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Ever wondered what kind of a leader are you?

Inspiring Stories

15 February 2019

Ever wondered what kind of a leader are you?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Most of us have our favourite leaders, either direct managers or more famous people, who we admire and look up to. As is wont to happen, we instinctively pick up traits (hopefully, all positive) from each of the leaders that we come across, and that often defines what kind of managers we become.

If you thought that most leaders get lumped under two categories – good or bad, with an average thrown in – you’ll be surprised to know that you are mistaken.

Yes, leaders can be good or bad, and mediocre, but the type of leadership they display is often determined by the role they have to play, the people that they lead and the demands of the situation. Yes, leadership styles often change and the same person may be found donning more than one type of leadership hat.

The list is quite exhaustive, so let’s plunge into it right away, shall we?

#1 Democratic Leadership

Here the leader actively involves subordinates in the decision making process. Of course, the final responsibility lies with the leader, but there is greater delegation of authority and autonomy. The most interesting aspect of such a leadership style is that communication flows both ways. This is the ideal form of leadership and it is identified as fair, creative, courageous, intelligent, competent, and honest.

The only flipside to this type of leadership is that its processes are slower and it might not be the most effective in organisations where quick decisions are needed.

#2 Transformational Leadership

As the title suggests, this leadership style entails bringing about change – be it in the organization, teams, individuals, and in oneself as well. A transformational leader looks for ways to motivate others to exceed their expectations and their abilities too. They set more challenging goals and often even obtain greater performance by creating an environment that is intellectually stimulating. Since transformational leaders empower their followers, this type of leadership sees deep commitment and more satisfied employees.

#3 Transactional Leadership

In this form of leadership, roles and expectations are clearly defined. The leader outlines a process in which followers get immediate, tangible rewards for implementing the leader’s instructions. This type of leadership might sound rather rudimentary, or transactional, and in a manner of speaking it does have a clear chain of command. However, in any form of leadership it is important to state expectations clearly, give directions, share feedback and allocate rewards.

While many believe this to be an effective method to achieve targets and complete short-term goals, it often doesn’t allow employees to reach their full creative potential.

#4 Team Leadership

This leadership requires presenting a powerful image of the team’s future, what it will achieve and what it stands for. The idea is to inspire and impart a strong sense of purpose. Team leadership means working with the hearts and the minds of the team members. This is a slightly risky leadership and it may not always succeed as it mainly depends upon how effective the top leadership is.

#5 Coaching Leadership

Coaching leadership requires teaching and guiding followers. This type of leadership is useful in settings where there is a need for quick results or to see an improvement in performance. In this leadership style, followers are guided on improving their skills. Coaching leadership motivates its followers; it inspires and encourages them. To perform effectively, a coaching leadership requires continuous monitoring of group dynamics, offering process recommendations and bringing timely interventions to keep the group on track.

#6 Strategic Leadership Style

This style of leadership needs the input of a leader who is the head of the organization but isn’t limited to the top of the organization alone. It caters to a much larger audience, across all levels, who are aiming to create a high performance team or organization. The role of a strategic leader is to close the gap between new possibilities and practicality by coming up with a new set of ideas and habits.  If the organisation is to see a change, it requires strategic thinking through effective leadership.

#7 Laissez-faire Leadership

Here departments and employees are given the authority to work as they wish to, with minimal or zero interference. This leads to reduced accountability and has been shown to be the least satisfying and least effective management style of all.

#8 Cross-Cultural Leadership

This leadership is mostly found in organisations where the business works in a global market and has various cultures within its society. Such organisations are often international ones who require leaders with the skills to tweak their leadership approach to suit different cultures.

Conclusion

These are the many ways that an individual can lead an organization or a group of people. Not all the styles are perfect for all the situations mentioned. It is up to you, eventually, to see which one fits your personality, your organisation and mainly the situation that requires you to take up the leadership mantle in the first place.

 

Image Source: Google Image Search (lancersglobal)

2018: The year that was, and what a year that was!

Inspiring Stories

31 December 2018

2018: The year that was, and what a year that was!

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

We’re deep in the holiday season, with New Year celebrations in full swing. The mood is upbeat, work is a little relaxed and businesses are gearing up for the coming year.

As we approach the end of 2018, let’s stop and look back at all that we achieved.

It has been an incredible journey at Awfis. We set ourselves challenging goals and we are delighted to have achieved most and even surpassed a few of our expectations.

Last year saw us expand our services to 55 centers across 9 cities, with the latest addition being the Awfis center at Chandigarh.

Awfis Center At Chandigarh

Our Product innovations like National Pass & Virtual Office continued to resonate with our audience. The Rewards program with its many alliances allowed the community to enjoy perks and benefits through the year.

Operating in a niche, constantly evolving, and still relatively new sector requires us to reinvent ourselves all the time. This is amply illustrated through the many initiatives that we took and the several milestones we achieved.

 

The year started on a fit note. Under the aegis of Awfis Moments we organized a Fitness Edition in association with Fitternity across our centers. From a bike ride in Kolkata, to Tabata in Bangalore and Bolly-fitness in Delhi, it was an exhilarating experience. The culmination in the form of a Morning Fitness Party happened at Powai in Mumbai. From quick workout sessions of Yogalates, Zumba, and Bollywood dance to healthy munchies from Epigamia, Get Baked and Mo Super Foods; the party had it all.

A few months post fitness, we got the community grooving to the Bollywood Edition of Awfis Moments. This spectacular evening, with its pulsating music, people dressed for the theme, delicious food and a busy dance floor, was a blockbuster event, held simultaneously across cities.

 The fun didn’t end there, but continued through the year with all the festivals that followed. We organized Holi, Diwali and Christmas parties at all our centers pan-India. The themes were different for each, but the underlying idea was the same – to have a great time and to get the community to engage.

Besides festivals, the year was replete with joyous birthday celebrations, delicious food fests, Karaoke evenings and Awfis parties. The launch of #HumFitTohAwfisFit saw the community adopt a healthier lifestyle and garnered enthusiastic participation in Awfis Premier League, Awfis Run and trekking expeditions.

Goodbye 2018

The year-that-was was undoubtedly exceptional. However, there is still plenty to achieve and we see the coming year already lined up with several opportunities for success.

As 2018 comes to an end, it is time for us to thank all our partners, customers and team who have supported us and been part of this momentous journey.

From all of us at Awfis, best wishes for a fantastic new year.

 

Staying on top your competitor’s strategy just got easier with these must-have tools

Inspiring Stories

27 December 2018

Staying on top your competitor’s strategy just got easier with these must-have tools

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

It isn’t enough to just be good at your calling and expect customers to troop in. You need to have your finger on the pulse of the market, but more importantly, you also should know what your competitors are up to.

Short of peeping into their office or sending in a spy, what can you do to know your biggest competitor’s business strategy?

Say hello to technology. Thanks to numerous business tools, it is easy to keep a tab on what competition is doing from the comfort of your air-conditioned office. Or even when on the go.

Let’s get cracking, shall we?

#1 Google Alerts

One of the best ways to monitor the web for interesting new content, google alerts is not just easy to use but it’s free too as well. The features are simple and well-suited to beginners.

Here’s how to get started and leverage this tool to the fullest:

Click here and based on your specific query, such as your firm name or any topic you wish to track, create your alert.

Next, you can customize your alert based on whether you wish to track all your online mentions or simply news, videos, etc. Select how often you want to receive these alerts and choose to track all results or only the best ones. To refine your search further and to eliminate unrelated additional notifications, remember to add quotations around your search query. This way Google will send you a notification only when the words are strung together in order.

#2 Alexa

Besides playing music and being a family’s digital companion, Alexa has plenty of tricks up its sleeve for businesses as well.

Several organizations already rely on Alexa’s ability to rank websites and display traffic related data. However, not many are aware that it can perform competitor analysis too.

Most competitor research tools require you to know who your competition is – brand name, domains, and keywords. But what if you aren’t aware who you are competing against? That’s where Alexa can help you.

With Alexa, you can track other websites in real time and also compare your website to industry benchmarks. Additionally, Alexa can help you discover sites that you can partner with or even write a guest post for.

#3 Social Mention

A vast majority of small businesses understand the importance of using social media to gain customers. With Social Mention, you can track competitors on all social media platforms and see what people are saying about them.

All you have to do is type in keywords or brands, and the tool will do the rest. You can use the tool better by understanding why a competitor received a lot of negative comments and avoiding making the same mistakes. Likewise, for positive comments, where you can improve upon their strategies.

#4 SEMrush

One of the challenges of competitive analysis is converting data into actionable insights. SEMrush makes it so easy. This all-in-one tool takes care of various digital marketing aspects, like PPC, SEO, content, and much more.

Enter the website URL that you wish to study and SEMrush will conjure up a graphic report with relevant data including traffic, rank, ads, and keywords. You can also use the tool for a comparative analysis of various sites, including your own.

Do check out alternative tools Woorank or Ahrefs for detailed competitive analysis, including link targets and backlinks.

#5 Pro Rank Tracker

As the name says, Pro Rank Tracker is one of the smarter tools out there to research keywords.

All you need to do is input your competitors’ websites and the tool will throw back a bunch of keywords and their rankings. You even have the option of deciding which search engine you wish to track these keywords on.

The kicker with Pro Rank Tracker is that you can localize your search and thus optimize your local SEO strategy. If you’re a small business that is still operating locally, this is a fantastic tool to have in your competitive analysis arsenal.

#6 SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is quite the handy tool to have when you’re conducting competitor research. It’s been designed to help you keep a sharp eye on your competitors’ online strategies and analytics.

This resourceful tool will help you dig deep into various sites, apps, and platforms. Simply type in the website or mobile app, and click ‘search’. With SimilarWeb you can compare statistics from multiple competitors, identify emerging industry trends, and even understand customer behavior. The tool extracts data, processes and organizes it, and then prepares a report with all that you need.

#7 SpyFu

The last one on our list turns the whole competitor analysis into a spy game. This tool will unearth all the information that you could need on their online strategy.

SpyFu can tell you which keywords your competitors have bought on Google Adwords recently. You can check their organic search rankings and even view the variations of their ads. Other information, like how many clicks they got, or how much they pay for each key phrase, is critical when planning your PPC campaigns.

Conclusion

Your competition is one of the biggest factors to influence your business. To stay a step ahead of them, you need to keep an eye on what they are up to. Pick the tool that you think works best for you, and build and improve your marketing strategy accordingly.