Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 16th 2017 Contents FEBRUARY 16 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
Startup bug bites
Fan Club entrepreneur
Mikhail Singh the
recession is an oppor-
tunity to invest and
not a time to panic.
At just 30 years old
Singh, is ready to start his second
business called HelloPost (T&T) Ltd,
after tasting entrepreneurial success
with his first business, called The
HelloPost is a one-stop shop for
gift giving, adding that, it is an on-
line greeting card solution where
greeting cards can be customised
"It is a limited liability company
but I have an investor who has a
wealth of knowledge (in entrepre-
neurship and networking.)"
According to its website, gift cer-
tificates can be bought online from
restaurants and retailers with which
HelloPost is partnering.
Even though the company does
not have a licence to sell liquor, it
is offering it on its website.
Singh explained the rationale for
that, saying: "We are just going to
be collecting it from (the supplier)
then doing delivery to the customer,
collecting a percentage for delivery,"
The website can be used by friends
and relatives living abroad who wish
to send flowers and greeting cards
to family in T&T.
"They go online and do the or-
dering of the items ensuring that
instructions are given for delivery."
Explaining how the website works,
Singh said: "Delivery on demand is
being offered to his customer base.
This means a customer can purchase
a gift certificate for $1,000 for ex-
ample, then indicate the items be-
ing ordered and the day and time to
deliver. Once this is done, HelloPost
then makes the delivery."
Singh said this service can be
most useful for people who can't
attend a function but want to send
a last-minute present.
Asked whether "delivery on de-
mand" is offered anywhere else in
T&T, he said not to the extent that
he planned to offer it.
Singh said other than the suitcase
traders who go to New York or Mi-
ami and then return with the goods
that their customer wants, he is not
aware of anything close to "delivery
on demand," offered here.
"It is not challenging to start a
business now because we are not
looking for TT dollars. We are pro-
jecting TT dollars to be 40 per cent
of our overall revenue. I am offering
a service with fast moving consumer
goods. A personalised product can
create the same impact as a brand
new car to someone."
Singh's planned strategy at Hel-
loPost is to outsource all the services
his company needs in order to satisfy
demand from his customer base.
By outsourcing, he said, the re-
tailers and suppliers can expand
their operations as they would
have additional volume as a result
of HelloPost's business. When sup-
pliers and retailers expand, he said,
it may mean that the company may
hire more people.
Speaking to the Business Guardian
on Monday at the Fan Club store,
located at MovieTowne, Invaders
Bay, Port-of-Spain, Singh said his
strategic intent with the new venture
involves deepening his footprint into
the Caricom member states.
Like most businesses, competi-
tion for HelloPost is not only coming
from its domestic market, but from
businesses globally especially when
there are hundreds of websites where
greeting cards can be customised or
personalised on the Internet.
Singh is convinced, however, that
even though he sells sentiment and
an experience, he is offering a ser-
vice that is "first to market" to his
customer base in T&T.
Despite the ease of shopping on-
line, there is good evidence that not
everyone has access to credit card,
such as secondary school students.
This means that there is room to get
into the remittances business in US
dollars, he said.
"We have partnered with Trin-
idad Systems Ltd. So, very soon,
you'll have to buy a voucher to use
on our site (HelloPost website). A
teenager, who would want to send
mom something for Mother's Day
can go to any terminal top-up which
is (called) Easy Buy; buy a $100 gift
card, then go online and order his
card, flowers and other items. Then
we would deliver."
To reach his target market, Sin-
gh plans to use a direct marketing
strategy utilising digital marketing.
This means that the customer would
either have to be at home or in front
of their computer screen.
Singh said the company has hired
a consultant from Canada to han-
dle its digital marketing. Reaching
the customer would also be done
via TTPost through flyers and bro-
Asked whether social media is
an effective tool for entrepreneurs
to use if they need the exposure for
their business, Singh said:
"Five years ago it was the 'in thing'
but now, there are too many voices
screaming in the same place. I am
not big of a fan of social media un-
less your business/product can go
viral. That's great. If you have too
much competition in the market,
the exposure is diluted."
Referring to his business, Singh
said Facebook would be an advan-
tageous form of marketing for his
company since he is offering a ser-
vice that is first to market.
"What is certain is the company
would be looking for creative tal-
ent---whether it is artists, writers,
poets and people of the like---so they
can offer their work for sale on his
To reach his target market,
Singh plans to use a direct
marketing strategy utilising digital
PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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