Market research is one of the important aspects for checking the viability of any business model. With effective market research, K Lakshmi Chandrika has almost nullified the risk of her business and put her business in the growth curve within six months of launch, S.S. Enterprises, a non-woven bag manufacturing company, which started with a mere investment of Rs.3 lakh is almost touching Rs.2.5 lakh revenues per month.
Talking about her professional career, she says, “I started off my career with AMC Cookware in the marketing department as a sales consultant and was promoted to the branch manager position over time. I am always passionate about entrepreneurship want to start-up a company with the experience I gained. However; I did not know how to turn this passion in to reality.
“After seeing an advertisement, I attended a seminar conducted by ministry of MSME and got selected in an interview for training on manufacturing of Non-woven and jute bags during the end of last year. After two months of training on different segments of business like sourcing of raw material, banking, accounting, self development, I gained confidence for starting business on non-woven bags.
“However, confidence in venturing cannot guarantee the success of the business. So, to check the viability of the business idea before actually starting it, I went to 10 different retailers and convinced them to use non-woven bags instead of plastics. With these orders, I approached different non-woven and jute bag manufactures for a delivery. I understood viability of business in a month’s time and also had ready customers to start off the business. I started S.S. Enterprises in January 2011,”
Talking about the business idea, she says, “With increase awareness on eco-friendly products, retailers decreased the usage of plastic bags but replaced them with other bags made up of paper, non-woven material and jute. Paper bags are also in a way harming the environment as they are made by cutting trees. They can’t take weight like non-woven and jute bags. So that makes them the only alternatives for plastic bags in the long run.”
The business still faces challenges. “The manufacturing units have grown with the increase in demand in last four years. We want to differentiate by offering quality products at a reasonable price with timely delivery in this competitive market. It is easy to lose a customer, but once gone we can never get back him. We also started screen printing on our own as we found glitches when we outsourced these bags for printing. We are also facing difficulties in finding human resource for printing,” she says.
The business is going to invest another Rs.4-5 lakh over time to upgrade its technoigies. “We are aiming for a break even in another 18 months for the total investments with around 10 per cent margins. The company is manufacturing 15,000-20,000 bags per month with a turnover of `2.5 lakh per month. It wants to double its turnover within six months by manufacturing 50,000 bags.”
The business has eight employees and also provides work for 15 self-employed women. It also plans to expand into jute bag manufacturing once the business increases.