Virtual commercial spaces online are taking over real locations as business boosters

Fewer young people choose to work for a company these days. Starting your own company is the fad. With many professional courses being introduced, more people are turning entrepreneurs and it has become easier to start a firm. And many starters seem to skip the idea of a tangible space or location for their business and instead set up virtual spaces.

Four years back, when Sumant Kelanka was fresh out of college, he had no idea his designs would reach customers abroad. Today, he sells apparel under an exclusive label to people across the globe. His commercial page on Facebook made this possible. Called the ‘Design Mandee’, Sumant’s business runs out of that Facebook page. There is no real shop or showroom, yet Design Mandee gets at least five orders a day. “Initially, I thought of setting up a boutique in an upscale area in Mumbai but I didn’t have that kind of money,” says Sumant. “Community pages were getting popular by then and with the help of some friends, I just casually started a page on Fb and Twitter which is today earning me my livelihood.”

Simpler and faster

“To start a business, a viable space in a prominent area in a big city is ideal, but with the rents being so high, it becomes an ordeal for starters,” says Ridhi Khanna, who closed her shop at Bandra in Mumbai and resorted to an online page. The 23-year-old entrepreneur runs a creative furnishing firm called ‘Yellow Drama’ through a group on Twitter. “Of course the location of your business is vital to become successful but virtual spaces are much more advantageous. One major point in owning a page online is that you can cater to the whole world while still with a real space, only a city or region can be covered,” says Ridhi. “It is also much cheaper to spend on the internet charges than paying high rents for a few hundred square feet.”

While there are firms that run out of websites, community pages on social networking sites have made things simpler and faster for budding entrepreneurs. “Even in a website, there is no guarantee that people would visit and place orders until they know the site address, but in SN sites, a single tweet or share can make it visible to a large spectrum of potential buyers,” says Piyush Abhay Singh, who owns Something Fishy, an online group for aquarium lovers. Started as a fun group, it has now grown into a commercial venture for people to buy aquariums and exotic fishes. “We are now playing the liaison between customers and online shopping sites, for which we earn handsome commissions. Our page guides, suggests and facilitates buying fishes that are rare and expensive,” says Piyush.

Business boosters

While first-time entrepreneurs are solely depending on online group pages for business, even well-established firms are opting for a page on social networking sites to increase brand visibility. Vivek Kumar, promotion manager at Voguekart, a Delhi-based fashion shopping portal, says, “Though our website is the primary source of sales, we need a page on these sites to make people know of our site. We link the page to our website and this helps a lot in boosting business.” Taruh Collections is a well-known boutique in Mumbai that chose to open a page on Fb and Twitter. Ragini Sisodia, a new-age fashion designer, says, “Even for the customers, it becomes easier to browse through the photos that are uploaded on the page and post an order right away.” She also says that her online page fetches more revenue than the real shop. “Also, on networking sites, one can display ads and sales posters just like the way you do on the shop windows.”

Going a step further, Ashutosh, a graphic designer, has started a group page called ‘Jugaad’ that exclusively designs commercial pages of companies. “Just as websites are designed, we want online pages also to be customized,” says Ashutosh. “Groups on SN sites are no way inferior to websites and many are willing to give a shop-like look to their pages.”

So, if you are looking for a commercial space on a busy road, think again. You could just sign up a company page on Fb or Twitter and still reap higher profits!

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