Sourabh Khandelwal ( Founder )
Meet an inspirational entrepreneur, marketing expert, and startup evangelist Sourabh Khandelwal. He is highly experienced in marketing and branding, managing the company’s strategy, resources, and networking. Trag Sales4You Pvt. Ltd. marked the beginning of his entrepreneurship career in 2019, which is now known as GrowthBuddy, a consulting firm that helps Startup incubators and Businesses.
Over the course of his career, he has held various titles and worked with startups and Startup Incubators. In 2019 He worked with an Edutech-based startup in Sambalpur, and he transformed the educational system in rural areas into a modern one. Throughout India, he has investigated various commercial niches and customer trends. He previously participated in the Jagriti Yatra. After that, in 2021, he worked closely in rural Sundargarh and Sambalpur districts to find a solution for the socially disadvantaged. He is a recognized business mentor in over 18 organizations, and over 80 startups have benefited from his mentoring services. As a CXO, he has served in more than five organizations in various sectors.
Please describe your initial initiative for us
Due to my experience working in the hotel management industry, I find out a problem with small hotels; I observed that people’s jobs remained the same and needed to be promoted. The waiter, for example, will continue to serve customers for some time, and over the year, a waiter will be a waiter. In most cases, owners do not work directly with their Hotels and restaurants; instead, they rent their properties to other brands. As a result, after completing my internship with Oberois Udaipur and successfully piloting a property in Jharsuguda upon returning to Odisha. After that, I became aware of the potential of this work. The story began here.
Tell us about your internship with Oberois
You will have to explore everything from cleaning to peeling potatoes as a trainee. Although people think hotel management is a glamorous industry, there is a great deal more to it than that. During that time, I realized it was not something I was willing to continue to do. During the three-year BSc program, we have learned how to handle a wide range of situations, from cleaning your room to cooking and being independent. During the course, we learned the basic things each individual must do.
What was it like receiving the young entrepreneur award in Delhi?
In 2019, when I began, Trag sales4you was selected as one of the top 15 startups to participate in an acceleration program conducted by a US company. As a result of doing those, I felt a real boost. As of 2020, I had 160 employees working with me and operated 13 restaurants in Bhubaneswar alone.
Is there anything memorable from the Jagtri Yatra that you would like to share with us?
The Jagriti Yatra was a ten-day journey on a train during which we met ten successful individuals running not for profits organizations. The Yatra allowed me to meet more than 200 people, allowing me to learn many different things. I gained a great deal of knowledge about communication from this experience.
Our memorable experience of this Yatra was visiting a village named Deoria in UP and taking a town tour. It was a wow moment for me when I received different ideas from each of my co-workers while preparing a business plan. People from different cultures suggested so many other ideas that I was astonished. Within a few hours, we developed a business plan that solved one of their problems, and the locals found it very helpful and appreciated our efforts.
From the very beginning, Covid-19 was a significant setback for all businesses worldwide. How did you maintain your willpower during that time, and what challenges did you encounter?
In 2019, I was about to raise 5 million dollars from a US-based investor. At that time, we were experiencing rapid growth. Then Covid-19 arrived, and some of our restaurants were running at a loss due to the shutdown of the entire country. For me, my priority was my team, who were working with me and who were highly dependent upon me for their salaries. As a result, I sacrificed and sold my office amenities to pay their wages. This was a challenging time for me. When I returned to my hometown, I worked with an Edutech startup and generated an order of crores from Odisha to set up Smart classes.
In today’s world, everyone desires to become an entrepreneur, but what is the most ideal aspect of being an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is someone who thinks beyond the present moment. People who live in the future and not just think about making money for the moment. The most important aspect is when they consider the people. For example, I will hire 10 or 100 employees who work for me and depend upon me. Therefore, being an entrepreneur involves taking responsibility toward society, the task force, and the general public. To achieve that particular goal, one must be serious and committed.
It would be helpful if you could say something about Scomm India
Scomm is a non-profit organization and a community. Nihar, founder of Skyy Rider electric, and a few friends who are entrepreneurs came to a step ahead to create a network to assist new businesses in their development and provide them with market access. In addition, SCOMM facilitates your ability to connect with the individuals your startup needs.
Could you please tell us a little bit about your new startup, Dahibara Express?
As my latest endeavor, Dahibara Express will be the first firm in Odisha to receive pre-seed funding. When I worked at the US Embassy-based Incubator Nexus, driven by ACIR, I had an excellent job. Still, I always missed my entrepreneurship spirit, and after working for nearly a year, I left my job and returned to Odisha. The Dahibara Express has been on my mind for the past years since I leave my job. During my Dubai visit, I met an investor who showed great interest in investing in the Idea of Dahibara Express. In March, Dahibara Express will be available in some places of Bhubaneswar and soon across India.
What does business success mean to you and your organization?
Everyone will recognize success for my company and me, like when someone says: “I am standing outside the Dahibara Express; please pick me up.” Success cannot be completely defined. In other words, if you purchase an Audi, you will crave a Mercedes. Therefore, I would like to receive milestone recognition. Moreover, I would like the Dahibara Express to run throughout India, including beyond Indian borders.
What advice do you give those with innovative ideas and new businesses?
My experience tells me to remain focused, Don’t just waste time thinking about executions. Instead, execute learn to get failed or create wonder. The vital part Is execution. Build an idea, then a team, and stop roaming here and there with a presentation to get funded. No one bet on your idea. They bet on your team and you.
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