Interviewer - What is the story behind the birth of India’s first and largest online multilingual book rental library, 'Librarywala’?
Hiten Turakhia - June 2006, My friend and me were sitting at a cafe coffee day and discussing the Netflix business concept and if the same could be replicated in India, but there were several factors where the return of Dvd's and Cd's was concerned and also the maintenance and piracy was a concern as well, both of us are voracious readers and hence we immediately changed the product from movies to books and started drawing up the business plan. we started at around 3:00 pm and were requested to leave at around 11:00 pm, we took to it again the next few days and our plans were ready. We came up with a set of questions and did our survey outside crosswords and other famous bookshops and some libraries - this helped us in forming our key USP's like doorstep delivery and pick up services, no late fees etc.
We launched our services on August 1st, 2007 in Mumbai with a collection of 8000 titles spread among categories like Fiction, Business Management, Children, Self-Help, Non-Fiction, and others, we also started with some exclusive titles on Music, Sports, and Movies which no other library had. we offered our members the benefit of Convenience, Collection, Choice, and Cost, pocket-friendly plans with a great collection and doorstep delivery and we were one of the first companies to accept cash on delivery and this helped us win the trust of our members as initially, they did not believe that this was for real and asked us if we would really deliver or vanish with their money.
We subsequently launched services in Bangalore on January 19th, 2008 and Pune on November 20th, 2008, we started with corporate reading solutions in 2009 and over the years we now serve over 40k Retail and 80+ corporate clients across India.
Interviewer - In a short span of time Librarywala has bagged many awards including LIMCA BOOK OF RECORDS 2010. What do you think are the steps of your success ladder?
Hiten Turakhia - We owe it to our loyal members, every step of the way they have been with us - members who have registered with us in August 2007 are still with us, their feedback's have helped us change several things on our website, in our operations and also they are an active participant to adding good books to our inventory. Yes, we have been fortunate winning all the awards over the years and also making it to the Limca Book Of Records for being the first library of our kind, it all started when one of our members wrote a small article of 15 lines in a Newspaper magazine and that got the ball rolling and we were covered by every leading newspaper and television channels across the country, so like I said - we owe it to our members.
Perseverance is the key to success, there is no shortcut, Its like bamboo farming (it takes time), I believe that the most important aspects of growth are Vision, Focus and Courage. We meet and talk to so many students and professionals who keep on talking of becoming an entrepreneur someday and that they have so many plans etc.. and then there are so many reasons that they have for not starting, I believe "if you want to start a business, start a business" take the first step and then keep on walking and you will discover that the journey in itself is a destination of a kind.
Interviewer - After launching services in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore what are your plans of expanding it in other cities too?
Hiten Turakhia - We are currently catering to retail audiences of Mumbai, Pune & Bangalore but for corporate clients - we have services across India. We are working towards providing solutions to retail clients across Inda and Abroad and soon the same will be implemented. Along with the library services we have also diversified into publishing by the brand name of i-Read Publications and have some books in the pipeline, we are also providing customized training sessions to companies across India under the brand Evolve and are also into bulk book sales to corporate clients.
Interviewer - What steps do you take to provide unmatched services to your customers?
Hiten Turakhia - We listen to them, as simple as it sounds, it is the most important thing to do in any business. Listen to your customers and understand their requirements then provide them with solutions. In a service industry, there are bound to be teething issues and some glitches thereafter but it is important to iron out these issues effectively and learn from them. we are very transparent with our members and we keep them in the loop always thereby ensuring that there is no frustration that crops up due to lack of communication.
Interviewer - What experiences would you share with upcoming small business corporations in order to encourage them and establish themselves?
Hiten Turakhia - Stick to basics. It is very important to have a clear vision of what you want to do, where you want to be and is there a consumer problem that your product or service is solving - If so, nobody except you yourself can stop you from succeeding. There have to be some established revenues that will become the support system of your company and will allow you to take risks, on the other hand, limit your risks and always think and plan ahead, Invest in yourself - Read (join Librarywala), give your customers the best in class service experience and be open to change but also have tunnel focus on your goal and 2 most important of it all is to have a solution-oriented approach and the right people for the job. Find a good mentor who has been on the path that you have started as he/she will be in a better position to guide you show you what you will not be able to see standing where you are as of now.