Updated: Jun 29, 2020
You must have heard many startup stories, I have too. But, when someone, who studied at the same institute at you, shares his entrepreneurial journey, the pleasure of hearing is beyond compare. In one such discussion with Bharat Bhatt, a current student of Hindu College, Delhi University, I learnt some great lessons on how a non-engineer can start his/her business with a dedicated spirit and mind.
In conversation with Bharat:
What is HouseItt?
HouseItt is a real estate platform which helps people who are unaware of accommodations around their workplace or college, to find the most suitable and feasible home, away from their home. It helps bridge the gap between brokers/owners and the customers.
When did you think of pursuing this idea?
The idea emancipated itself from a real life incident when my friend, Rajat Malik, who is a Delhite was looking for an accommodation (flat) in North campus closest to his college. At that time, I was interning with Yourshell, a student housing company and therefore I had a good network of brokers with good inventories, so I decided to help my friend, who had been hunting a flat for almost half a month now with my filtered broker contacts and we then finalized his flat within a span of just 2 days. That was the moment when we were struck with the idea of helping students similar to Rajat, find an accommodation by providing them with filtered properties meeting their requirements and at the same time deliver the service with the respectable treatment which most of the brokers lack in the current market scenario.
What were the steps you took after the idea was in place?
The journey from conceptualizing the idea to making it a ground reality, we started by circulating a WhatsApp message in every single college to tap in those looking for an accommodation and at the same time started contacting brokers with several properties to begin with the filtration process. We then built a website with the revenue earned from our first sale, where we listed properties available with brokers, marketed our product and built our social presence. Gradually we started getting potential business from both the supply as well as the demand side. We also automated the process of listing and our peak period was during the admissions period, when we helped umpteen students find the right housing for themselves.
Who all are a part of your team? How did you find them?
Our team HouseItt has several passionate and dedicated bunch of members who are also my close-knit friends, juniors and batch-mates. My co-founder Rajat Malik, is not only my partner but is also my batch-mate and a very dependable and believable friend of mine. We also rolled out an internship form that helped us find some extremely talented and trustworthy people that formed our team.
Co-founders of HouseItt
How are you facing or planning to face the competition in the market?
Competitions are an inevitable part of any market, to face the competition and grow from it, is what the success of any business idea or startup calls for. We majorly disseminate the competition by being the promising and accountable startup founders. We don't have any direct competition as such in the market since the already existing market aggregators like Nestaway, Magic Bricks usually target the literate brokers to enlist their properties online. While, on the other hand, we are strategizing by keeping all the brokers and customers in loop via the concept of area managers who are providing training services to the brokers on one side of the table on how to enlist their properties online and on the other side of the table facilitating the handy and professional dealing environment for the customers.
What skills do you bring to the table and what are required to be an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is not a cakewalk, it requires constant learning and developing new & requisite skills each day. Beginning from good managerial skills to gaining technical skills (website in this case), from customer relationship management and broker interactions to managing human resources of the organization, an entrepreneur needs to nurture all the aspects of management and innovation simultaneously. Entrepreneurship requires a person to look for a problem around, find its solution and then monetizing it. An entrepreneur maneuvers on a mission with a clear cut vision to solve the problem and achieve the goals.
Weren't you scared to start at an early age - people often say you need experience first or monetary support - there are so many constraints. How did you manage?
From the very first day of my college, I had this driven spirit for entrepreneurship. So, in order to bridge the experience gap, I accordingly did various internships in varied fields. Through internships, I wasn't only able to acquire skills, but also developed a strong professional network which helped me transcend all the constraints. Consequently, we had an influx in the form of angel investments. Plus, initially for a few weeks, I decided to work as a broker myself so as to not only understand the intricacies of the market but also to secure some bootstrap funding. I would say that if your network is right and your approach is fine, then all the dots get connected beautifully. Always be passionate!!
How hard do you think is entrepreneurship, especially for a non-engineer?
According to me, entrepreneurship is all about innovating the traditional methods. Today being the age of technology and science, there have been rapid advancements. So, I believe that, initially, it becomes difficult for someone from non-engineering background to cope up with all the technology and software required to run your venture, but faith can even move the mountains, if you are determined and keep striving on learning new things out of your comfort zone, eventually, you will find someone right to handle the technical department. Specialization effects then start coming into play and you will be able to run your idea efficiently.
What are you future plans?
Taking about the future plans, we are currently focusing on expanding our reach and targeting new market segments like South Campus, Off-Campus ones. Plus, we aim to digitize the real estate broker market mechanism.
Any tips for someone who wants to pursue entrepreneurship?
I would suggest all the aspiring and budding entrepreneurs to believe in themselves and their ideas. Just have a clear vision towards your goals, get your elements of sales, marketing and revenue sorted. Build your product or service according to the demands of the market. Entrepreneurship is a very long journey full of learning and exciting avenues. No doubt there will be difficult times but keep your faith intact, maintain your calm, you will be able to sail through the ocean righteously.
P.S. - In case, if anyone wishes to join us, please send across the resume at firstname.lastname@example.org
Honestly, I feel really fortunate to be in touch with budding entrepreneurs like Bharat because they set a really good example in front of other non-engineers, who wish to make a mark on the world. Would like to thank him for taking out the time to share his journey with us.
For more stories like these, refer to this part of the blog.