There is an opportunity in every crisis.
Last August, a group of four friends proved the statement There is an opportunity in every crisis into reality.
Seeing the people wasting their valuable time staying in queues for long hours to get fuel for their vehicles, at the time of shortage created by India-imposed blockade last year, the group of youths planned to start a company to provide such general services like Line Sitting to the people.
Just out of their bachelors level and working in various corporate organizations, the group joined their hands together to co-found Mr. Help, an organization providing personal assistance and logistics related services in Kathmandu.
Co-founded by Prakash Basnet, Bikash Neupane, Kismat Pandey and Bhisan Raj KC; classmates from Bachelors level, the organization, since then, has constantly been working to grow and develop the logistics sector in Nepal.
Started with just the Line Sitting services and Blue Book Renewal services, the company has now expanded its servicesÂ to various other sectors like cake delivery, gifts and flower delivery, one day document delivery, Invitation Card delivery, escorting elder people to the hospital and relatives’ among other services on demand with a team of 11 members including 4 co-founders, 2 marketing officers, and 5 delivery personnel.
Staying in the queue for different services, as per Prakash, one of the co-founders says is a thing that eats most of our valuable time. We have been spending much of our time that we should have utilized in our work. Sitting in the queue to avail the services is what is making our country less productive, he says. At the time of petroleum shortage, we saw a crowd of people spending much of their productive time just staying in the queue for hours outside a petrol pump, leaving their office-works remaining undone. That struck an idea in our mind to start an organization providing line-sitting services.
The service, as the founders say, is a life changing concept. It makes people be at their workplace itself instead of wasting their time by staying in the queue. When we go to the Department of Transport to renew our Blue Books, we have to stay in the queue for boring longer hours while our important works in the office are left untouched. Other people can be there to stay in such queues instead, Prakash says, explaining the concept of starting the organization.
Started with personal funding of the group of friends with starting capital totaling just Rupees 5 lakhs, and themselves as the working staffs, the organization has now grown rapidly.
We had acquired a new telephone for the office and there had been no phone calls until it rang on the fourth day. And, when it rang, we got confused whether to pick up the phone or not. We were extremely excited to get the call. That moment is really memorable.
Sharing the experience of their first sale, Bikash “ the other co-founder, said that as the company and the service concepts were totally new in Nepali environment, the beginning days were pretty hard. To publicize about our services, we put flex-boards in two places, one in front of the Bhadrakali Petrol Pump and the other at Sajha Petrol Pump in Pulchowk. We had acquired a new telephone for the office and there had been no phone calls until it rang on the fourth day. And, when it rang, we got confused whether to pick up the phone or not. We were extremely excited to get the call. That moment was really a memorable one.
WOW! Our business has now begun! People have believed on the type of services we are going to provide. We will now be making money, Prakash reminisced the feeling at the moment of getting the call. Our other client was from Greenland, and I had been there to receive her blue book on my own and renewed it and returned to her the same day. That was a very memorable day, added Prakash.
The market demand, as the founders say, is very high for blue-book renewal service, one of the services they provide.
The other sector they mainly work on is delivery and logistics. They are catering the service to various e-commerce sites in Kathmandu and other general public as well. Online shopping using the e-commerce sites in Nepal is still not developed though we can see them mushrooming. We established the company taking in mind that in the span of 5 years, there would be an extremely high demand for logistics related services. And, in this duration, we seek to be the most influential logistics service providercompany in Nepal
As of today, the company receives an average of 60 service requests daily, including delivery of goods, line-sittings and blue-book renewal.
As of today, the company receives an average of 60 service requests daily, including delivery of goods, line-sittings, and blue-book renewal. Sometimes, the orders are extremely high, even numbering 120-130, making us rush whole day. Especially on wedding seasons, we receive a bulk of clients asking to deliver wedding invitation cards. In such times, all the co-founders and marketing officers can be seen going to fields to deliver the goods, say the founders.
Explaining about the passion and zeal for the work, Bikash shared about another memorable day. I had spent a whole night in hospital as one of my relatives was seriously ill. But, the next morning, despite theÂ sleeplessness, I wanted to go office. I had an inner zeal for my work. The passion in me to work and the feeling of ownership of the company and my work didn’t make me feelÂ like I was deprived of sleep. This is what makes us grow and innovate our works ultimately benefiting the company.
Talking about retaining the staffs and maintain the similar charm in the team as in the beginning, Bikash says that as all of the co-founders had already worked in other different organizations prior to establishing Mr. Help, they know what the employees want from the organizations they work for, other than money. We appreciate them for doing the work well and celebrate the success of the organization regularly including birthday celebrations of team members. To continue with the organization, they have to feel satisfied with the work they do. Added to this, the willingness to meeting deadlines and fulfilling commitments for the day take all our tiredness away.
As all of the co-founders have already worked in other different organizations prior to establishing Mr. Help, they know what employees want from the organizations they work for, other than money.
Talking about being able to allocate time to the family and friends as the founders of a recently established startup, they shared it is sometimes hard to give time for them. As we are mostly occupied in our works, we have not been able to allocate that much of time outside of the organization. We leave home early in the in the morning and reach home late in the evening. Of course, it is different than the days prior to starting the company. But, as the company and client-base in growing, we feel good for starting an organization like this.
We have been able to maintain the quality of service and delivery-time consistent by increasing the number of staffs in the organization after we feel the necessity.
Talking about the scalability issue, they shared that as the clientele is getting larger, they have been able to maintain the quality of service and delivery-time consistent by adding the number of staffs in the organization after they feel the necessity.
Sharing about revenue generating aspects of the organization and payments to the staffs, the co-founders say that they hire the kind of people who really want to work in the particular sector of logistics and delivery, with similar thoughts as that of the co-founders. Added to this, the market demand and revenue generation from the blue-book renewal service is very good. It has given us with good returns to pay for the interns and staffs and run the company smoothly. Fortunately, unlike other startups, we did not have to wait for a long time to generate revenue. It is coming. So, we have not got such a hard time to sustain the business, says Prakash.
Talking about the work pressure and hard times as an entrepreneur, Bikash shares that to be an entrepreneur, one has to learn to work with pressures. For this, we set targets on daily and weekly basis and stride to achieve that. If we are able to do that, we don’t feel work pressure at all, he adds.But, it is really tiresome if we cannot meet the daily target. Added to this, if a client denies to avail services after we spend a good time approaching them and explaining about our services, it feels real bad, says Prakash.
The good part of our team is, all of the team-mates are equally supportive to each other. We encourage each other to work better, on daily basis, innovating the way we work. All of our plans are clear and transparent.
Earlier, we were working in good corporate organizations and earning a good amount of money. But, after starting the company on our own, we have not been able to take money from here yet. Instead, we’re still putting money into the organization. Our family members sometimes feel skeptic on what we work on, and where we go since we’re mostly outside of our home from the early morning to late in the evenings. Many a time, they are unsure about our work. The good part of our team is, all of the team-mates are equally supportive of each other. We encourage each other to work better, on daily basis, innovating the way we work. All of our plans are clear and transparent. That is the reason we have planned to be the major market leader in the span of 5 years, in which time, the sector would be rapidly growing up. Still, if we fail, we already have an exit strategy, they say collectively.
The business plan and vision of an organization needs to be clear among all the co-founders. To make a business viable, all the policies in the organization need to be clear among co-founders, including that one on investment, return and profit sharing policies.
On replying to a question about what their lesson is for those who want to establish startups on their own, they share that one needs to spend a good time researching the market about the demand for the products they are going to launch. Starting in a team is mostly better than starting all alone since you get good people to support in your hard times and the times you feel low. Also, in the days you cannot come to work because of any reason. The business plan and vision of the organization needs to be clear among all the co-founders. To make a business viable, all the policies in the organization need to be clear among co-founders, including that one on investment, return and profit sharing.
So, why don’t you just log into http://mrhelp.com.np/ and experience their service?
Presentation: Basanta Kumar Dhakal