Start-Ups.Co really enjoyed interviewing the brilliant entrepreneur; Mr. ‘Sandesh HS'; Founder of the Karnataka – India start-up “TRAINOHOLICS”.
Below, is the full interview that we have conducted :
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
As a Personality Enhancement Center, our core emphasis lies on heightening your confidence and launching you onto a platform that will enable you to “Achieve the Impossible”.
Our inspiration is our drive. Our methodology, though perceivably simple, is quite challenging too.
We deliver amazingly super rich programs and deliver flawless services in Soft skills/Life skills.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
Started in 2013, we are aiming to disrupt the Skill Development Arena. We have launched our services and have started gaining traction.
Although still in the initial stage of operations we have surpassed our own expectations and are aiming big now. We have started with Bangalore audience but have started gaining traction from different states and regions.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
We deliver flawless services thru both Online and Offline mediums. We have a wide array of exciting programs to choose from. Each program has a stipulated timeframe and comes in with a charge
We have 2 strategies. One is Offline and the other is online. We have different payments slabs for both depending on the program chosen.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
We were the best of pals right from our college days. We have always known each other’s strengths and weaknesses and used to work hand in glove.
Things started to change when we stepped into the corporate world. Although we worked in diverse firms our passion and energy levels matched.
Things started falling in place when we met once to discuss about the entrepreneurial spirit that we always had and wanted to leverage on the same.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Our delivery concepts
Passion and domain expertise
Value creation attitude
Free after program support
All our programs are formulated to deliver outstanding results. Our programs are a combination of Law of Attraction, Power Affirmations and Mind Power Utilization.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
Although it is too early to comment we are aiming at growing about 50 % Q-Q
We have started gaining momentum and our focus now is Online medium. We would want to create awareness about the various advantages oft online sessions. Right from cost till flexible timings and convenience, online training is an effective way to deliver our programs.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
There is a huge pool of firms offering soft skills but our delivery concepts and program formulation are unparalleled and unmatched.
These days, there are dozens of skill development firms that are mushrooming in nook and corner of our country. It is a biz model that if strategically implemented can work wonders.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
It was a journey filled with thorns,sacrifices, betrayals and let downs… It is all part of the game.
The journey thus far has been memorable and has its own disadvantages. Although it is all about learning and giving up things that you always loved for something that we will fall in love with.
For days and months I have locked myself in the office trying to figure out things that many a times did not work and caused damage.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Critical and Vital aspects of Soft skills/Life skills not just in professional lives but in personal lives as well.
In this era of globalization, soft skills require due diligence. It is of utmost importance that individuals try and implement various aspects of soft skills early in life.
Life skills are essential for anyone and everyone. Most of us are preloaded with these skills but need upgrading/improvising.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Passion and never give up attitude clubbed with aspirations to be a “Value Creating” firm will make us truly Unstoppable.
I have always dreamt of creating an asset out of which millions can benefit. Life is filled with opportunities and those who recognize it are the ones who stand tall as an inspiring icon.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We will always be focusing on “Lifestyle Enhancement” and “Increasing Employability Ratios”
In the short run we will be launching a first of its kind Mobile App with rich features and awesome user interface.
The App provides exciting features that will blow our minds and make it addictive. The app comes with outstanding features which makes learning lovable and crazy.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
The pain points were identified keeping in mind the number of fresh graduates stepping out of colleges each year. Hand on experience fused with existing pain points made us starting this exciting firm.
Being a part of human resources vertical, I have always pondered over the question of conversion from Walking to Offer ratio.
It all boiled down to delivery of skills which companies look for.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
It’s always day 1 in a startup no matter how fast it grows and we always have to unlearn inorder to learn new things.
Every day bringsin challenges and every second is unpredictable. The resources and cost are limited but problems seem to be mounting. This is where I learnt the art of balancing as sometimes emotions takes control of our decision making.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Creating awareness about the importance of Soft skills/Life skills is always a challenge.
There are millions of students who still think that getting a degree would suffice them to land a lucrative offer.
Not many are aware that companies now look at not just a degree but much more than just academic.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Our program focuses on 2 aspects – Lifestyle Enhancement and Employability Ratios.
Thru our programs we make individuals understand that there is to Life more than just money. Our programs take you thru an exhilarating journey that will be memorable and super fun.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Word of mouth, referrals, online and marketing activities.
We value the advantages of social media and are strong in many of the channels. Initially it was thru word of mouth and now people flock to our site and Facebook fan pages to know us better and connect with us.
Apart from the above mediums we had customers walking in directly to our centers from various adverts.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Schools/Colleges are e major targets. We would cater to corporates and individuals as well.
Just recently we enrolled a 2nd standard student to one of our programs thru online. This encouraged us to reach out to as many people as possible.
Right from a school student till a manager, we deliver our programs accordingly which is customized.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
As of now we are just focusing on Bangalore and soon expand our horizons.
Most of our customers are thru referrals but we are improvising our marketing channels and focusing on social media to hit on out conversions.
We first provide a Free demo class after which participants can choose to continue or not.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Our participants, mainly from schools/colleges are just in love with our programs. Recently we were recognized by one of the startup ranking sites as well.
Our reviews are something that we are really proud of.
Most of our love comes thru social media and they have never experienced such good training. They cherish every moment spent with our expert coaches and mentors.
20. How are you going to scale?
We would focus more on online and brand it effectively as online offers more of flexibility and convenience. We have chalked our growth strategy for the next 3 years and are accordingly working on the same.
Our prime focus will be towards Tier1/2/3 cities and slowly we are progressing towards those markets.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Our customers prefer a physical training rather than an online session. They always feel that only a physical session will be effective.
Many students are of the opinion that it is only a physical 1-1 training that can be effective and do not prefer online sessions.
However, we are leaving no stones unturned in creating an awareness that online is the next big thing.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Too early to comment. But will definitely soon.
We want to climb one step a time and right now our focus is only towards the domestic markets.
We are working on our Mobil App and that’s when we would go live internationally and create a niche for ourselves.
Although we still need to get a strong hold in the domestic markets, we definitely have chalked out our plans for an international launch soon.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
Thinking has no boundaries but implementation does have. However, that has never stopped us from thinking big and we believe that’s the seed sown today to reap benefits tomorrow.
The education/skill development vertical is a huge untapped market. Although there are innumerable players, the market is pretty much unorganized.
We aim to streamline and get it up and live smoothly.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are constantly looking for “smartys” to join the bandwagon. Our prime focus is Marketing, Sales and Branding. We have a dedicated page on our Site featuring Careers and candidates are welcome to apply.
Any firm success lies in its marketing strategies and we hire witty and ambitious people to take the pie of our firm.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are looking at an Angel funding and will gradually move on to the VC’s. We are strong in Social Media and have our mail IDs on our site thru which investors/customers/clients can connect with us.
As of now we are bootstrapped and are in talks with angels to partner with them.
We would look out for not just an investor but a solid asset who can back us up morally, emotionally and financially.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Never ever give up on your aspirations. If success was so easy to achieve then the word would lose its true value. Just hold on to your gut feeling and move on “To Do The Impossible”.
Life is a game. Winning and losing are part of the game. But, how well you play the game determines your value and success ratios.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
We are elated that startups are getting awesome support and encouragements from firms like yours. It is a matter of pride that entrepreneurs are never alone and we do have support from super lovely individuals like you.
It is always a matter of joy when astartup gest visibility and exposure from firms like yours. It is a job that many entreprenuers like me would appreciate and it definitely is a feel good factor.