Recently I met my friend Akash in Navi Mumbai. Akash works in an FMCG company in Mumbai. He is from Gujarat, his family is settled in Ahmedabad. It’s been 3 years of working in Mumbai after his college. His day starts at 4:30 am in the morning and ends and he reaches home by 9 pm in the evening. Whole day his task is to meet shop owners and agents in his distribution network.  His area of work keeps changing in Mumbai fortnightly. He always sound dissatisfied with his job. The reason he quotes is timing and efforts he has to put for the company. As I accompany him on his route he seems to be very well known to shop owners. That moment it doesn’t seem he is dissatisfied at all. We sat for drink post office hours at a bar on the way to his residence.

While talking, Akash expressed his desire to start a business. He had a view that if he can venture into some food related business it will work. He will be independent. As he is from a commerce background he doesn’t possess any technical skill except using his smartphone. He finds food business easy because he likes to have food. He doesn’t cook his food but he knows how to cook. But somehow he feels he understands food and he can run a food business. With two pegs of drink his desire to start a business was very strong. He started discussing ideas. “May be trading in farsan can work, he can bring it from Ahmedabad where his family is settled”, said Akash. He also want to work along with present job till he could setup business. Like this several ideas kept coming from him. We moved to dine after sometime.

To know whether he is serious or not I asked him how much investment would he require to start a business. He started calculating rent 40,000 to 50,000 + salary of cook/chef around Rs. 15,000 to 20,000 + input (raw materials) that may go around Rs. 30,000 in Mumbai. There was no surety of rent, it might go up in good area in Mumbai. So roughly he required Rs. 90,000 to 1 lac a month to do business. His salary is Rs. 30,000. This turned discussion a bit serious. His desire to do business was challenged by capital required. After a while he came up with another idea. Why not Ahmedabad where his family lives. That will obviously bring down his costs incurred compare to Mumbai. Without wasting a moment he started calculating on tissue paper. Rent could be around Rs. 30,000 + salary can be calculated same Rs. 10,000 to 15,000 + input again Rs. 30,000. This time he requires around Rs. 75,000 in Ahmedabad to start food business. It certainly has cost benefit over Mumbai. “The cost reduction is still possible in Ahmedabad”, said Akash.

“Cost is manageable but what about business”, I asked. What about marketing? A business requires it. How much cost would he assign to marketing a food business in Mumbai or Ahmedabad? What are the returns? Investing is one thing and getting return is other thing. With these questions he was little upset because I was again raising his expenses but no answers of return had come so far. He asked me directly what he should do to venture into food business with low risk and investment. I told him what if he could operate his food business from home or from any place. He can cook at home and sell online. I suggested him to register on online portals wherever possible. This would get him in the eye of potential buyers. Moreover he can register on a portal called Tiffin Today – www.tiffintoday.com

On Tiffin Today he could register as a seller and manage his business. He would have to compete with others but it is the least interfering portal for food business. It is cost effective since it doesn’t charge anything. It doesn’t even take online payments. So whatever you sell to your customer remains your earning. Tiffin Today portal is a platform to support aspiring food business, for people who drop the idea of venturing into business just because of less money.

Akash looked convinced. He told me that we can surely try this way of business and would become a seller on tiffintoday.com. It is the safest way which he can try.