Mr. Anurag Sharma is an alumnus of Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow. He completed his MBA in Retail Management in the year 2019 and was placed with BYJU.
Anurag was always a man of ideas and was always involved in one or the other idea or was busy giving shape to his ideas. He may be rightly called a serial entrepreneur as he started his first venture in his graduation time where he started serving a variety of sandwiches and beverages to customers in NCR region. The uniqueness of the venture was that it was open for an order for 24 hours.
Once he joined India’s top MBA college named Jaipuria Institute of Management, he made maximum use of opportunities provided by the Institute and Incubation Cell and participated and presented his multiple ideas on various prominent platforms which included IIM’s and IIT’s. He had such a deep passion for entrepreneurship that in all events in which he participated he was amongst the top 3 participants. He was also the winner of MIDCOM business challenge award where the prize money was 5 lakh INR.
After completing his PGDM course in Retail Management, he started his corporate journey but could not resist his temptation for new ventures and lockdown presented the perfect opportunity. While due to lockdown and work from home he was confined to the boundaries of his home, he opened the boundaries of his thoughts and imagination and mixed them with business logic/sense to come up with the idea of City Fresh Basket in his home town Agra. It is now almost a 7-month-old nascent baby but has started showing promising growth and a great future.
Following are some excerpts of our discussion with Mr. Anurag:
What makes City Fresh Basket unique?
If we look at the current fruits & vegetables online providers in the market, Big Basket, Grofers, Milk basket and all of them are selling but the difference with City Fresh Basket is in ‘the service’ which they are providing. Chemical-free, fresh, Organic are the Unique Selling Proposition of our model.
Share some market insights of Agra and what convinced you to start this venture?
An interesting point of today’s businesses is that ‘Customers have too many options, but not the Sellers’. The market has shown impressive growth over the past years, consumer behavior has changed largely because of changing lifestyles and wants of the customers. Urbanization has played a vital role in the online buying behavior of the young generation. Premium quality products along with perfect expertise are what are desirable. We analyzed the various segments available in the market and designed our offering. Agra being a hot tourist destination has good number of hotels as well hence we decided to provide our offering both to B2B and B2C segment.
We were able to consolidate the demand and were able to deliver all orders before 8 am the next day. We strengthened our procurement strategy and procured the best quality of fruits and vegetables both commonly used as well as exotic ones.
What are some challenges which you faced while setting up this venture?
This market is characterized by huge price fluctuations, so the timing of the purchase is important. The margins in this market are 6-8% and considering high instances of wastage, it’s challenging to procure at the right time, preserve in the right manner and price them judiciously.
We decided to connect directly with farmers in certain cases. We even trained them in agriculture extension services and organic farming and the results have been encouraging as we have been able to increase their incomes as well. To manage the operations smoothly, decisions were made at right time. I feel meticulous planning and immaculate execution was the key.
Some unique aspects of our business are:
• Zero waste model
• Offering premium quality of products both to B2B & B2C
• Trust & Traceability
• Short supply chain-which is very important in today’s competitive business world.
• Better for the green planet, customer perception towards them.
What has been the growth till now and what are the future plans?
Till now it has been a journey full of challenges, learnings, and yes some rising revenues as well. We have close to 5000 active users as on date and achieved a turnover of around 30 lakhs in 6 months.
We are planning to expand to at least 2 new locations by end of the year. Apart from that we are committed to ensuring an increase in the income of farmers as well. In a nutshell, we are not only working for profits, we are committed to the cause of people (consumers, farmers, etc) and also for the planet (by promoting organic farming).
Your piece of advice for the young budding entrepreneurs?
‘Idea’ is nothing without a team. It’s not like that it will get stolen, so feel free to discuss it with people around you and experts. If there is no need, create a need. But at the same time, be realistic. Firstly, find the right people and then manage them well. Planning and execution are life and blood for success. Last and the most important one ‘Make mistakes, keep failing but don’t give up till you succeed’.