Two middle class youth give up regular jobs to pursue a dream and come up trumps
The drudgery of their nine-to-five jobs brought two youth at a corporate company in Kolkata together to start a creative enterprise, which has achieved a turnover of Rs 4 crore in five years.
Avik Guha and Saurav Agarwal, hailing from middle-class homes, launched Promotedge, a digital, branding and creative agency, in 2015 from a 300 sq ft room, investing Rs 30,000 each.
“We decided to start a branding company though we had no knowledge about it. The goal was just to realise the dream of an entrepreneur and make a modest livelihood out of it,” says the duo. “We were employed in the same company in Kolkata in different departments and were unhappy with our jobs. So we wanted to try out our luck in business.”
Guha, 35, holds an MBA in marketing, and Agarwal, 28, is a chartered accountant by training.
“We started from a room in my house where we arranged a table and a few chairs. We started contacting prospective clients but it was a daunting task,” says Agarwal, recalling the dressing down they got from an entrepreneur whom they had gone to meet at Patna.
“We still fondly remember discussing our business plan at the vestibule of a train. We thought it would click but the prospect soon found out that both of us were novices and came down hard on us. We learnt that we should do our homework before venturing into the trade,” he adds.
After a bit of hard work, they eventually managed to get their first client in nearly two months of launching and received their first work order of Rs 60,000. In August 2015, they made their first hiring and employed a creative designer.
Slowly, business began to grow. Their turnover reached Rs 22 lakh the same fiscal year. By October 2016 they had 15 employees and over 20 clients.
Initially they were into branding that included logo designing, brochures and advertising. Later, the company expanded its services and become a one-stop destination for creative designing, website designing, digital marketing, corporate films, animated videos, audio-visuals and a host of other web services.
“When we started the company, the initial response was negative as people told us that it was almost impossible to provide several services under one platform. But we had a firm belief that it would work,” says Guha.
At present, Promotedge has around 40 employees. They have launched two other businesses – a travel agency and an in-house inventory management service. Some of their major clients include Tata Steel, Ganesh Grains, Alure Decor, and Ananda Bazar Patrika group.
Looking back, Guha says: “We both were working in the same office but interacted very little. One fine day, we discussed about our individual plans to do something of our own. We found ourselves on the same page and decided to work together. We had no idea as to what to do and abruptly decided to try our luck in branding of products.”
Earlier, Guha had to quit his job as a brand analyst in Mumbai and return to Kolkata due to the illness of his mother in 2012. “I was drawing a salary of around Rs 1 lakh and was well-settled,” he recalls.
Later, he joined a corporate company in Kolkata in 2014 as a brand manager, where he had met Agarwal.
The duo became so overwhelmed at the prospect of starting something of their own that they got their company registered within ten days of taking the decision. Thus Promotedge was launched on 26 March, 2015, and both of them had quit their jobs by then.
Today, they operate out of a 3,000 sq ft office at Salt Lake, the IT hub of Kolkata, and plan to expand to Bengaluru soon.
So, what is the secret of their success? “We have always maintained honesty and transparency in our business.”
This Article is Part of the 'Amazing Entrepreneurs' Series