Interview with Brad Lauster: Co-founder of BindoPOS

To continue our efforts in bringing the stories of startups and successful new business ideas around the world, we bring you the email conversation with one of co-founders of BindoPOS, which is trying to bring change in the way you shop using mobiles and more specifically the iPAD.

 

Brad Lauster
Q1. What gave birth to the idea of launching BindoPOS?

Ans: Brad Lauster here. I’m the cofounder of Bindo, where we’re really changing the way retailers run their business- for the better. On March 3rd, 1998, I had the most exciting yet disappointing day of my life.  It was the day I made my first online purchase. There I was: a curious doe-eyed high school boy playing around with a “Bondi Blue” iMac in the computer lab, wishing to understand more about the trending topic of the late 90’s known as “ecommerce.” Having always been fascinated by urbanism and community (while wishing to make a somewhat iconic first purchase), I decided to buy the book, “The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community” by Peter Katz & Vincent Scully along with a pair of headphones for my walkman. It was extremely exciting.

Ecommerce, I thought, was going to completely change the way I shopped. You see, I thought I was able to buy everything off the internet: books from Barnes & Nobles, my go-to pair of khakis from the Gap, and my favorite homemade cookies from Cafe Beethoven, the local bakery in my town. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, it was far from it. Online shopping only applied to big box retailers, making it impossible for me to purchase my favorite products from mom and pop shops from neighboring towns. At first, I brushed it off. It wasn’t my problem, I thought. But then, in 2007, my aunt’s local clothing store for children, KC Clothing, went out of business. The reason? Ecommerce and the power of large retailers. The thing that I thought was so fascinating was actually hurting my family.Fast forward 7 years later, equipped with a college degree and experience from the world’s most powerful career network, I decided to embark on a journey to create my own online network of local retailers- “Bindo.” Inspired from my eat-pray-love-esque trip to Asia, “Bindo” means “where?” in Cantonese. And the answer to that is here. In your neighborhood. At your current location. It turns out my first online purchase was iconic after all.

Q2. What is the market size of retailers who might use your platform?

Ans: We have several hundred merchants signed up globally from Hong Kong to New York. We mainly deal with small and medium size merchants.

Q3. Does it make sense to focus on one particular product of another company? What if they discontinue iPads altogether?

Ans: I don’t think this will happen, but we are cloud based Mobile PoS so we are going to be compatible with any mobile device.

Q4. What value addition you see your platform brings to the retailers?

Ans: The value added is our ease of use and inventory management. With Bindo, a merchant can handle 1000s of skus across multiple stores. Furthermore, we will be creating an online marketplace that will allow all merchants to have greater visibility. Bindo offers customer-relationship management tools that lets them see what each customer has purchased before.

Q5. Do you plan to take your product to global retailers?

Ans: Bindo is already in several locations around the globe.

Q6. Do you think you will have something for Android-based pads too in near future?

Ans: No, we feel that IPads have much better consistency and performance.

Q7. What ambition your startup has?

Ans: Bindo’s aims to be the first online to offline marketplace where everyone merchant that has signed up through Bindo to be able to offer their products online allowing customers to have items delivered from local stores and check what’s in stock.

Best business ideas to start in India

India is a land of myriad opportunities in every sector. Especially businesses are something that can thrive in India. There are a number of best business ideas to start in India. While every business is no doubt associated with some amount of risk, you must always look for those businesses that will interest you. When you do something that you like the most, you are very likely to succeed in it. Before attempting to start a business, decide whether you want to sell products or services. There are a number of categories under both these segments.

The second consideration you need to think of is the investment that you can afford. Once you decide on these aspects, you can find the business that will suit you the best. Before venturing into any business, it is worth consulting someone who has a prior experience in this arena. However, you need not accept all that they have got to share with you. You need to use your discretion to analyze them and learn from them some valuable inputs that will guide you with the best kind of concept for your business.

Contract services are something that is thriving in India. One good thing about most contractual businesses is that they require less investment. Contract services refer to the arrangement wherein you accept a given project and get it completed with the help of professionals in the arena. There are many kinds of contractual works that you can think of ranging from construction, interior decorations, furnishing, carpentry, electrical works, plumbing jobs and several others. You need to first decide the area that you are good in. You will need to have a huge database of service providers who can accept sub-contract from you and do a good job. Always you must have in your list people whom you can trust and depend on. When properly planned and systematically executed, contractual works can fetch you a good business.

Best business ideas to start from home

Starting home-based business is a great idea due to its advantages and flexibility. Home is a place where you live and either you own it or pay a rent to stay there. Doing a business from home avoids unnecessary over heads like office set up and also transport. In addition, having your business operations from home enables you have a greater control of the various processes. In fact, others in the family can support your business and in this regard you can minimize the expenses on salaries paid to employees.

Talking of best business ideas to start from home, you will come across a many of them. Most freelance jobs can be done from home. These days, just having a computer with the basic knowledge of internet operations and Microsoft office is one of the easiest ways to start home-based business. You can accept job typing and basic DTP tasks. Further if you can develop you skills across some DTP platforms, you can widen your services. In fact, some housewives run photocopying shops and cell phone recharge outlets. You will just need one room for these services and you can use this set up to sell a good number of goods and services.

While deciding on what can be the most suitable business idea for you to run from your home, you will also have to decide on the budget that you can afford. Manufacturing household consumables like washing liquids, pickle, snacks, candles, incense sticks and others will not require much investment. If you are keen in manufacturing them, then you may also have a small sales outlet operated from home to market them besides supplying them to clients outside. This will also give some advertisement to your products. Reflect on your hobbies, interests and preferences and you will come across a suitable business idea to start from home. If you like what you do, then you can be more successful.

What Indian startups can learn from ISRO’s Mangalyaan?

An overview of ISRO’s Mangalyaan project in context of Indian social media

ISRO MangalyaanHave you given a thought to this: what made ISRO’s Mangalyaan so much popular among the professionals who are sitting on the social media and celebrating its success with jokes, pranks, graphics and sharing every message that has a hashtag of #mars #mangalyaan or #MOM?

Well, the main reason that comes out of the whole picture and plethora of points that an Indian can be proud of is the cost of the spacecraft. Yes, I am talking about the money that ISRO spent in making this idea successful.

Sasta and Tikau (Economic and Stable)

This is what netizens are more concerned about and not that India is the first nation to send a satellite into Mars orbit on its first attempt, and the first Asian nation to do so. It does not matter much that it was India’s first interplanetary mission and ISRO has become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency.

What is more important for Indian and more specifically for people who have no direct concern about science (rocket, of course), is the money that ISRO spent in sending the spaceship into Mars’ orbit.

Some interesting points that came out from the nerdy brains of creative people are:

  • Sending the Mangalyaan to space and into Mars’ orbit costed lesser than the Hollywood movie Gravity consumed for its making.
  • It is the cheapest Mars probe ever sent to space
  • The cost of sending the Mangalyaan to the Mars per Kilometer is lesser than what it costs if you hire an auto rickshaw in India

Are you not amazed by these facts? Don’t you see one very serious lesson as a startup? Are you not able to notice that Indian people are conspicuously concerned about the cost?

What Indian startups should take care while launching a new business idea in India?

Indian startups or foreign players who want to launch a new business idea in India must take care of the cost factor. Though there is a market for luxury products and services also, but nothing sells better and more in India than a economic and stable product. Though you may be a late entrant in the market but you still can wow the populace and win their hearts.

Consider the success story (initial, at least) of Tata’s Nano car. It caught the frenzy of every Indian who ever dreamt of owning a car because it was so affordable. The sales were high and promising.

Similarly, the technical acumen and all the efforts that so many people, agencies, organizations put to make Mangalyaan a success are put aside by common Indian people, yet they are very curious to know the cost comparison of its success across various verticals. You may talk about the budget of a film or what an auto-rickshaw wala charges. They consider it all!

The lesson that Indian startups or companies looking to launch a new business idea in India can take is this:

  • Build or offer something that is economical
  • Make it stable if you can

New business idea with historical monuments–government may benefit

I have written about this issue earlier too, but when I visited Safdarjung Tomb (Delhi) a couple of weeks earlier, I was again reminded of the same concept.

Why don’t we have good food outlets inside historical monuments?

This may sound a bit impractical but if taken seriously, the idea can generate a good amount of cash for the ASI, which again can be used for excavation, restoration, and upkeep of the historical monuments (I must mention that there are thousands of monuments in India that are still unprotected).

I love history and photography and the best way to fulfill both the passions is to visit historical monuments. You get to read about these places, history behind their construction, and also you get to shoot a lot of pictures. I presently put up in Gurgaon and therefore have Delhi monuments at my disposal.

Safdarjung Tomb, Delhi

I have been to Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Safdarjung Tomb, Lodhi Tomb and Gardens, Mehrauli Archeological Park, Tughlaqabad, and Kotla Firoz Shah, etc. All of these monuments comprise an area where you have enter through a gate. This means that just adjacent to this entrance gate, there is an option of opening a nice food outlet.

The government can raise good amount of funds by renting the space to various food companies. This will help the visitors to enjoy some food and drinks, which right now they find extremely difficult.

Companies can rest assured that they will get some good return over their investment because most of these monuments enjoy good and considerable number of visitors per day. I can even foresee that if there is an option of eating out, this footfall of visitors may even increase, as lots of people want to couple eating out with their travel.

Government can clearly cash on this small business idea around the historical monuments. What practically happens still remains to be seen.

Any small business idea

There are a number of people wanting to do business. Business is the cup of tea for a large number of individuals since it makes them their own boss. They need not be under the control of anybody or be answerable to someone. A business venture makes people think independently and give vent to prove their abilities. While doing business, they can work for extra time or choose not to work for some time. The decision is all theirs and none can question or challenge it. Also, all the effort they are likely to put in is going to pay them and none else. Therefore, a good number of people are naturally interested in business than going for jobs to work for an organization.

Talking of any small business idea, you need to first decide what you are interested in. The business you venture into must be something that you really like. Only then you can take active part in it and develop it to your dream. For instance, if you are a vegetarian, you will never find it comfortable to set up a meat selling shop. The same thing applies to the choice you make with regard to what you want to sell or offer your customers.

Businesses are of two kinds namely selling products and services. If your parents had been into business, then there is nothing better than taking up their business or setting up a new one in the lines they had established. In this way, the parents have maximum chance to pass on their experience and wisdom. You can benefit a great deal from learning from their falls and successes, good and bad decisions. If you are new to the business arena and would like to look for any business idea, then the best thing is to contact someone already doing a business in the lines you venture and take their inputs. For any new business venture, you need the how to do knowledge from those who have already done it.

Best business idea in India

India is a vast country with one of the largest populations. As an Indian, you are free to move around anywhere and do business wherever it suits you. India is one of the largest consumer markets and there is a vast scope of doing a large number of businesses in India in a highly profitable way. Reflect back on the history and you will know that India was one of the largest colonies for the European countries in the past since India presented a huge opportunity to sell their goods. With increasing population and growing needs for products and services, the scope of doing business has always grown to this day.

Talking of best business idea in India, you can come across many. The sources of best business ideas can be those who have been already doing business, the internet, some useful books on starting a business, your relatives and friends, and the wide world at large that is stretching before you. You can get to learn new business ideas from anywhere and you just need to play your bit to land on a good business idea.

The services industry is booming today and people especially living in cities are looking for a number of services to ease their lives amidst their busy schedule. Since they need to go for jobs and spend most of their times at their workplaces, they look for people and organizations that can get things done to support their daily chores. Therefore, the concept of door delivery is getting immensely popular and gives room for a thriving business. You may think in these lines to find what products and services you can deliver at their door step. Perhaps this line could pick up well and you can start such a business with little investment than selling products. You need to understand the needs, play your strategy and reach out your customers the right way and it is all done to start your business.

Best business idea to start

Just ask for a business idea to someone and probably you mist land on tons of advice. Business is everywhere around us and even laymen will be able to talk on business since they get to know about businesses from their daily experience looking around themselves. However, when it comes to doing business, you need to exercise a proper thought and find the right one that will suit your interests, tastes, situations and budget. If you are wondering what will be the best business idea to start, you have a lot of them especially in India since this is a land of immense opportunities and a large populace with huge needs under diverse categories. And every business stems from the idea of fulfilling the needs of people the most satisfying way.

A best business idea to start in India may be setting up an eatery. Wayside eateries are getting highly popular in India and as you walk out in the evenings in busy cities, you will find a large number of them doing a profitable business with scores of people thronging around them all the time. These eateries sell fast food, snacks and others that people consume with a lot of interest. After a busy day of work at the office, it is natural for most people to appease their hunger as well as the taste buds.

Setting up a wayside eatery does not involve a huge investment. You can procure the minimum cooking utensils and a suitable kind of oven. You may hire someone who can make delicious dishes as per your plans. To start with, you might not require many people. You may find the right place and set up your shop. These kinds of shops can be set up either on the platform or on a moving trolley. If this is your cup of tea, then you can develop more on this idea and do a great business.

Best business ideas in India

India is a land of hectic business activity everywhere. Businesses stem from needs. The more the number of people, the more possibilities you have to do business. India boasts of one of the largest populations on this earth and this is the most encouraging welcome note to anyone looking forward to the best business ideas in India. Just walk out on a working day and you will find businesses engaged in selling products and services all around you. The reason why the markets are lined up with shops and offices is that there is a huge scope to do business in India. There are a large number of options for people looking forward to do business.

Businesses are of two kinds namely marketing products and offering services. In either case, you will have to explore the possibilities of making a handsome profit. If the consumer need is comparatively less in the arena that you enter or if there are already a large number of businesses functioning in the said arena, then probably you may have to rethink setting up your business in the line you are venturing into. Since there are a large number of other options as well it is worth exploring them too.

Do a comfortable amount of market research in the line of business that you wish to establish. Interact with consumers and get to know how much they are satisfied with the existing businesses. Find out if there is something more that can make them feel more comfortable and satisfied. These inputs will be immensely beneficial to you to decide what kind of improvements you will have to make when you set up a new business venture. Always think practically and do not fancy a false picture that will project an unrealistic picture of business prospects. Always weigh the pros and cons and then take the right decision to move carefully and you have a good business at hand.

Best business ideas for India

There are a large number of best business ideas for India. A good business idea for India should take into account satisfying the typical and unique needs of Indians. Globalization have opened the gates for foreign products into India and the market is flooded with the goods imported from everywhere around the globe. Also, there are a large number of consumer goods that are manufactured in our homeland. A business can ensue from selling either imported or home made goods or also a mix of these two. Talking of selling, there are a large number possibilities stretching in front of you. Businesses can be set up in a custom way suiting your liking, situation and budget.

If selling can be your interest, then decide what you want to sell and how much you can invest. Depending on these two inputs, you can decide on the course of action that you would like to take. Though you will benefit a lot from others advice, a blind copying of someone’s ideas and transporting the ideas from other existing businesses is not something that can make you successful. You always need to learn from the experience and inputs of others while applying your discretion to judge what will work best for you.

Every business must stem from a good amount of market research. When you venture into a business activity, you explore the trends and the volume of sale in the given segment and decide whether there are good amount of possibilities for a new player like you. Remember that you need to compete with those who have been already into business there and in this regard you will have to develop some effective strategies that will put you in the winning edge. At the same time, throwing false promises to your customers and stretching much beyond your comfort zone to pull in customers can ruin you in the long run and you should play these techniques cautiously.

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