Whether you are a book nerd or a newbie who wants to venture into the world of books, Reading Habitat is the place for you.
My start-up proposal is for all the book lovers out there. Reading Habitat is the bridge between digital libraries and physical ones. It would be an online platform through which users can order any books of their choosing, to have them delivered right at their doorstep for maximum convenience!
Being a voracious reader myself, I’ve found that the price of books is very high nowadays, which limits how many books I can buy and read. So, I decided to turn to libraries, however this was inconvenient as I don’t usually find time to go to libraries, which are far away. This is how the idea for Reading Habitat came to me.
I aim to develop a user-friendly website and accompanying app where users can search from thousands of books from different genres to select their favorite ones and have them delivered at their homes or offices. Reading Habitat will partner with the local libraries and book shops of Delhi NCR and deliver these books to our customers.
Target customers: 👫
With around 81% of the population in Delhi NCR being literate- and the total population being 4.61 crores, I think we can safely assume that Reading Habitat has a lot of potential customers interested in reading. The rest just depends on our quality of service and popularity.
I am planning to target two spheres of the population:
- Working professionals- the people who have to travel through metros and buses for hours while making their way to and from their offices. They need a distraction to break the monotony of staring at other people’s faces, their phones, and repeat… and what is better than a fantastic book!
- Young adults and teenagers- who love fantasy, magic, supernatural story-based books and can form a major part of our customer base. Not to mention, youngsters are always attracted to spaces where they can share their thoughts and are looking to connect with others via shared interests. Reading Habitat will provide that by building an online space where readers can connect with each other and share their favorite books.
“The success of any start-up has a lot to do with quantum and quality of advertising they do.”
I wish to adopt a multipronged strategy for publicizing Reading Habitat, which is still easy on the pocket:
- Convincing libraries and book stores to partner with and spread the word about us, as word-of-mouth publicity works best.
- Advertising through social media.
- Circulating pamphlets.
I believe that, while just starting out, the best way to generate awareness about my website and gain subscribers would be via social media and the internet. We can opt for paid advertisements on Instagram, Facebook and twitter. In addition to this, we can invest in context sensitive advertising pop-ups.
I also plan on distributing leaflets to local newspaper vendors, and at metro stations and buses to target working professionals. Furthermore, we can spread the leaflets among partner libraries and shops. I also plan on hanging posters at the libraries.
In the 2nd phase, when our website gains popularity and we are generating enough income, we can look at splurging more on advertising through print media like newspapers and magazines. We can also make and sell merchandise like brooches or hats. Taking a small margin from profits to distribute brooches free of cost among customers who’ve been with us for over six months can really ramp up our advertising strategy and is an idea worth exploring. Moreover, we can print customized bookmarks and deliver them with the books to further build our brand.
How it works:
Financial Aspects: 💸
The majority of our revenue would come through membership plans to be subscribed by our customers. The website would have different membership plans on the basis of the number of books the user wants to borrow in a month. The cost would also vary on how many months of subscription the user opts for.
In addition to this, we will charge a security fee of Rs 500 which would be refundable at the end of subscription as long as the customers don’t damage any of the books.
The customers would benefit with lower prices If they opt for a subscription for a longer period.
Company Budget Estimate: 💲🙊
- The major expenses our company will incur will be towards payment to libraries and book shops partnering with us. It is proposed to pay our business partners on the basis of the number of books they would supply in a month.
- Secondly, there would be expenses on delivery charges, as we would not be charging any delivery fee from our customers. For this, we can tie-up with a good logistics company like BlueDart. We can enter into a long-term contract with them to avail competitive rates. Another thing to consider is that since the start-up is based locally, delivery costs should be relatively less.
- We would also have to factor in publicity costs which would include cost of paid advertisements online, printing leaflets and posters, etc.
- And now the most important part: Human resources. Initially, we would require a team of 2 professionals dedicated to managing company’s website, app and database. We would also require a team of 2 executives to manage marketing and advertising. This would encompass managing our social media handles like Instagram and Facebook and also establishing connections with libraries and shops.
- Some other technical expenses would include 25 USD to publish our app on Google Play. I also estimate about 70–80 USD yearly for buying our domain name and hosting our website on the internet.
How my product stands out:
The Reading Habitat aims to make a community of book readers.
Users can make their profiles where they can share the books they read, their reviews, and their favorite passages. They can also connect with others who rent the same books as them. In this way, we aim to create a social platform of sorts where book lovers can aggregate.
With global average of paper consumption reaching 55kg of paper per person per year, it is high time we start asking each other ‘How are you reading?’ and not just ‘What are you reading?’ Borrowing books instead of buying them-where once read, they will stay on your shelf gathering dust, is not only easy on your pockets but also environment friendly. But if we are talking about environmental impact, you might be thinking, why not just go for e-books? However, with students attending online classes and adults doing work from home, we also need to consider and limit our screen time. An online portal from where you can borrow books is thus, the perfect balance.
Not to mention, there are tons of people who prefer the feel of an actual book in their hands, but can’t actually visit and rent books from libraries due to their busy schedules (and plain laziness). In modern age, where everything is done online and all goods can be delivered straight to your home for maximum convenience, Reading Habitat fits right in.
Required Expertise: 📚
Starting a business is no child’s play and requires a lot of specialized knowledge. While there are some things that one can only learn from experience, here are the few skills I believe will be absolutely necessary while starting out:
- Skills to manage database: Database would store customer data and books availability (quantity and location). Toad for Oracle is an excellent software which I plan to use for this purpose. Meanwhile, RFID (Radio-frequency identification) can be used to keep track of books.
- Marketing and interpersonal skills: to form partnerships with libraries and book shops and also to connect with customers.
- Knowledge of data analytics for making website and app more personalized and attractive for the customers as well as to make them more engaging.
Now you may be thinking that there are a lot of risks 😧, but starting a business is always a risky venture, but if you plan correctly and pull it off- the pay-off is worth it!
Milestone and timeline: ⏰
Before actual implementation and launching of product, there is a whole stage of planning and designing. The most crucial step, of course, is to talk to various local book shops and libraries and establish a network of supply. After all, without them we won’t be able to actually deliver books to consumers. Once we have built up our connections, we need to start work on the website as well as our database of books.
Simultaneously, we need to work on marketing strategies. This is without doubt a significant step and something I plan to dedicate plenty of resources to simply because without anyone knowing about it, launching the website would be no help. I estimate three months for all these steps to be implemented.
To minimize launch time and for risk management, we can start working on the app after the website has been launched and advertised appropriately.
So, that’s my idea. With the successful execution of all the above steps, I believe that Reading Habitat would definitely be a success among all the avid readers out there.