For every Entrepreneur, Business is not just about Money. It is more about the freedom of expression; it is more about purpose, and it is the most about their existence. For me, Tanmay Mehta (Founder Director at Touchwood Automations), I have always been involved in some stint of entrepreneurship since the age twelve. Experimenting in various domains and industries since school days, I was evolved by this more than my theoretical knowledge. But the reason why Touchwood, takes a special place in my life is because this journey got the best out of me and continues to do so every single day.
Chapter One â€“ Craving for First Customers (Year 2013)
As a new business, the first job that we all do is tell the world that you are here! I did the same, and got myself registered on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Justdial and lot of other platforms. I come from a half century old traditional Jeweller family and have completed my Graduation in Production Engineering. The desire of selling premium products was the only thing I inherited from my father when I started this business after 3 months of research and network with people involved in this domain. The very first job, that came across was for the owner of a famous Dairy business, who had shipped his old system to his weekend home in Pune and wanted to do the installation job. After completing this job in collaboration with an expert from industry, I realised that ethical profits can be made if served rightly. Post this job, new work came pouring and with every job I kept learning about this industry and technology. We managed to get another big client DC Designs, whom we served for Vanity Van Automation. During this period, I was joined by my first team member, Vikram Pawar who was interviewed on a Chai Tapri as I had no workplace.
Chapter Two â€“ A Joint Effort by Many for One (Year 2014)
After one month of me and Vikram, operating from a Chemical Godown, we finally created an address for our company. The work was increasing and we both were shuffling between marketing, sales and operations. As the hiring continued, the need for new work to cover the expenses started increasing more and more. The trap of income vs expense then started pinching and this was the time where marketing was aggressive. My parents, uncles, cousins everyone chipped in their network to help me grow â€˜Touchwoodâ€™ and they till date continue to do so. This contribution and the increase in workforce made the place look smaller and the need for a bigger space was consuming space in my mind. The team was increased to 4 and we managed to grow from 7 digit to 8 digit company in the very second year.
Chapter Three â€“ E-Commerce: A Boon or Bane (Year 2015)
Online platforms started dominating the electronic space and we left no stone unturned to make our share from the same. We were and still continue to be a registered seller on Snapdeal, Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm. The electronic sales contribution is 40% of total sales on any E-Commerce portal. And we really saw that happening after doing an equal amount of business online and offline. Selling products to customers from Kanyakumari to Jammu, Rajkot to Shillong, had given us a broader view and our operations across Maharashtra started taking pace on Offline channel too. The service portfolio added Commercial and Institutional space solutions along with Residential spaces. E-commerce started feeling like boon, until the rules of game changed and only the ones with deep pockets to stock material started winning. Touchwood, from its day of inception, have been a solution centric company and we have never pre-purchased any stocks as we really believe in Bespoke systems and solutions.
Chapter Four â€“ The Stage of Survival (Year 2016)
This was the year I just completed my quarter century. It was also the year of my marriage. And it was also the year when Touchwoodâ€™s one arm of online business was completely cut and the expenses started mounting due to increase in team force. â€˜The Game is not Over Yetâ€™ were the words that kept me going strong in these tough times. I still vividly remember the last 2 days in Amsterdam with Rasika (a business trip that was combined with leisure), where I had to play Russian Roulette to survive. The long hours of peaceful sleep in such times, gave me an indication of â€˜This too Shall Passâ€™. But little did I know that I have to act and not depend on the bad times to pass. As they say, Survival is the stage where most businesses are washed away and the business ownersâ€™ confidence and belief start going down.
Chapter Five â€“ Learning MBA to get PACE in Business (Year 2017)
No formal education but only the practical knowledge and various stints of entrepreneurship had got me till here and that is when the need of learning science of doing a business which can grow without me started growing. The tough times of Firefighting each function was not going to give us (Touchwood & myself) a good future. And time had come to go back to classroom. But this again was not easy, as we made a big move to a new workplace, which was 5 times bigger than the earlier and team size was increasing too. This investment in learning came immediately after the bigger investment of workplace and was not easy to digest. The only reason that I pushed myself into it, was the realisation that yes, this Education is more Necessary to prepare for a longer and brighter journey.
Chapter Six â€“ Making a Success Recipe with 3 Key Ingredients (Year 2018)
The year, when I donned the chefâ€™s hat to create a success recipe of Touchwood! Working on the 3 Key Ingredients viz, TEAM, SYSTEM & STRATEGY, got the business from Survival stage to Stability stage. I started spending more time in office to grow the team and systems, and the team started spending more time with customers to grow the business. This strategy gave great results in the overall growth and progress of Touchwood. I took a retirement in this year from Firefighting role to achieve my other dreams. I had always envisioned of being a teacher, when I saw my humble mom doing a great service with this noble profession. Hence, I started working on the subject of â€˜Technology in Modern Spacesâ€™. This subject was designed to give back to the society which has always showered me and my company with love, trust and respect. I speak on this subject in many Architecture and Design institutes and have now started doing the same for lot many design houses too.
Chapter Seven â€“ Wholesome Life: Living the Dream (Year 2019)
The definition of â€˜Wholesome Lifeâ€™ for me is when I am able to pursue and enjoy the activities that I always desired in my life. Entrepreneurship has always defined my life and I continue to contribute to this worthy profession by guiding the next generation with the learnings that I gather. I am part of Entrepreneurship Cell in my Alumni (DY Patil Institute) and have also been mentoring and guiding many Startups and Business Owners to growth. I have always believed in helping the young generation and that is the reason that my entire team have been a bunch of freshers with an average age of 25 years. Due to Touchwoodâ€™s commercial vertical, I got closely associated to Hospitality Industry and that association led to a parallel rise of creating an Editorial Channel to honour, share and celebrate the Services and Contributions of Pioneers in this industry. Now, all this was possible only due to the consistent growth of Touchwood Automations with the WIN-WIN-WIN philosophy.
The glorifying seven chapters of Touchwood Automations has played an immense contribution in my Personal Life! And I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have helped me and my business, either directly or indirectly. I specially want to thank my Team, my Partner, my Family, my Mentors, my Friends, my Business Colleagues and my Industry Colleagues who have helped and guided me in each step.
I am confident that me and my team will be ready with open arms to embrace the new world post lockdown and we shall continue to do our service of keeping you entertained and engaged with our solutions.