We started this year with a singular goal in mind, to enable as many as retailers & micro entrepreneurs as possible especially in the villages. We have been conducting field research for the last 2 months and trying to enhance the lives of these unorganised micro-businesses.
In the last 2 months, we were able to capture interesting stories of quite a few people who were able to enhance their lives through our services. One such story is of Gajanan Yadav, who is from a city near Lucknow. Gajanan has a shop in Bijnor, which has a population of over 7000. His small shop has catered to his locality for almost 15 years now, a shop that sells an assortment of FMCG and stationery products and which has fulfilled the needs of many of his regular customers throughout the years.
During our field visit we stumbled upon his quaint shop, adjacent to a very busy street, it was a Thursday afternoon surprisingly a bright day and in the chilly December winter, the comfort that the heat brought us was stimulating to the least. We sat down with Gajanan, he was expecting us as one of our telesales executives had already called him with a pitch of our company. He was interested to know about the services we offer to the merchants and also how the services that we will help him overhaul his current business. It was apparent that Gajanan wanted to scale up his business and enhance his ability to earn more income.
Gajanan does not know how to make a lot of profit and he mainly does the accounting himself the methods of accounting may be very archaic but has till date done the job for him. We asked him about his family and he lit up with a smile which had an undertone of responsibility and concern, “I have a daughter and a son and both of them are in their 9th standard, my wife is a homemaker and I am the sole earner in my family. I have to make sure that I earn enough every month to sustain”. “Mahina toh nikal jaata hai lekin agar 2 paisi bhi bacha paon toh gharke liye accha hoga” (I am able to sustain throughout the month but I earn the bare minimum which does not help me save any money).
He gets about 20-25 walk-ins every day in his shop, his shop is also a central hub where people fulfill their household needs from, He was only able to study till the 12th standard, after that he got involved in odd jobs to earn money to support his family, education suffered a lot and being piled up with responsibilities at an early age did not help. After 6 years of dragging his feet trying to earn money, he finally thought of opening a shop in his locality. A shop promised stability but did not promise growth, Gajanan is now 37 his monthly earnings have not gone up since last 5years. The inflation around him ballooned but his income was like a stagnant lake of water, shrunk but never rose.
Gajanan earned Rs 15,000 every month, profit margins were mainly high on the FMCG goods, but as the local FMCG products took precedence over the well-known ones the earnings deterred, a retailer in a tier 1 city earns higher in comparison to a tier 3-4 retailer. It was apparent that Gajanan realised the problems of the market he was operating in, the only way through to better his situation was to start new services. Wevisited Gajanan in the first week of December and introduced him to a number ofservices that we had on our platform.
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He started using services such as AePS, mPOS, recharges, Bill payments & money transfer, in the first week itself, he saw a 10% rise in footfall and commissions. The spare time that he spent reading a newspaper was now spent serving the new customers providing them with digital services. Little did he knew beforehand that a 5000 Rs smartphone can help him re-organise his business extensively and efficiently. Today, his earnings had increased from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000; he caters not only to his regular customers but also the new customers that are looking for services as such.
Meeting with Gajanan was a part of a larger effort for Pay1, by researching and improving the existing services we aim to empower more such micro businesses. The story of Gajanan’s business transformation is only one of many who through our services have stabilised their income and enhanced their livelihood.