Vishal Totla is the co-founder of Shipyaari (previously called AVN Business Solutions) - India's emerging leader in global logistics management. Formerly an aspiring chartered accountant, Vishal entered the logistics business in the year 2013. Ever since the team has been helping brands and merchants establish successful online businesses by offering eCommerce technology as well as core logistics support. Vishal says Shipyaari is a renowned name in the eCommerce sector today as the one-stop shop for logistics solutions.
From Tax and Auditing to Logistics
It all started way back in the year 2012 when Vishal and Nayan (Vishal's partner and co-founder of Shipyaari) were discussing how the latter's team was facing challenges to cope up with logistics partners for domestic and international deliveries. It was this discussion that triggered the idea of setting up a logistics company to help small businesses that struggle with logistics.
Back then, Nayan was working with a successful teleshopping company. And Vishal, who was practising audit and tax, used to study different kinds of businesses, which provided him insights into how to understand the nuances of various businesses.
The idea that was sparked off in 2012 turned into reality in 2013 following a series of think-tank sessions and Shipyaari was officially incorporated. The main objective of the company was to provide a transparent and simple logistics solution to eCommerce players and SMEs, letting them focus on their core business. Their automated shipping solutions soon became a hit among the small and medium-sized e-tailers.
The Roller-Coaster Journey
The logistics industry is full of challenges but gives immense opportunities for an entrepreneur. India is a hot market throwing up a lot of opportunities & challenges in the logistics space. And it was not an easy journey for Vishal and his partners all through as running a tech-enabled company without possessing the technical skills led to a lot of challenges. There were a lot of regulatory and infrastructure-related glitches cropping up every now and then.
As a start-up, Shipyaari had its fair share of challenges and hiccups. However, every time, the team bounced back with equal fervour and took each challenge head-on. The now-successful entrepreneur Vishal had once seen more failures than success and each failure taught him a valuable lesson.
Of the several failures, eRunnerz, their experimental dream project initiated in the year 2015, was a complete let-down. They had to close it as it was not generating sufficient revenue due to lack of proper planning. However, after it was closed down, similar models started by Amazon (Prime) and Flipkart (Advantage) turned out to be highly successful. Had they planned it properly, this model could have been a huge success for Shipyaari – a valuable business lesson learnt!
During these tough times, Vishal kept reassuring himself saying – "Time is great healer, in difficult times. This helps me to stick to my goals & keep pushing myself till I achieve them."
There is no fixed formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur, but there are 'Do's and Don'ts Opportunity' like these that strike only once. They have to make the most of it when it does without cutting down the importance of hard work and dedication at every step of the journey.
The most satisfying moment in Vishal's business was when they set a target while they started and achieved that target in half the time period that was fixed. He feels the reason for this success is the word-of-mouth references from their customers and their excellent customer support services. Vishal says – "Earning respect from clients is the key to any successful business."
He attributes the success of Shipyaari even to this day to all his partners, co-workers, and family. The immense support and motivation he received from them have gone a long way in making his dream come true.
Vishal along with his partners and team strives towards achieving the perfect combination of innovation and delivery speed to add value and continue building competitive logistics solutions. Their widespread network coverage that spreads beyond metros has driven quick growth of volumes in remote locations.
The Road Ahead
Vishal's focus in future is to accelerate the growth of Shipyaari by expanding the network capacity apart from optimum utilisation of resources all across the network. The whole team has been aggressive with its growth plans to ensure last-mile delivery. Within the next five years, Vishal plans to achieve their strategic goal of extending coverage to all states and at least 80% pin codes of India. Their sole aspiration is to establish a logistics network spanning the length and breadth of the country.
Vishal's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is – "My advice would be to make sure you are solving a mass problem. Your business roadmap should be ready, your processes should be well-defined and you should have proper finance in place. If the answer to all the above is yes, then you are more than ready to start your journey."