Naresh Shetti .

The Pandemic that came to Crush Me....

Pivoting was the only option I had. It was a staggered and daunting start- but there's still hope!

In the year 2018 after closing my previous startup with a stamp ’FAILED BUSINESS’, I bumped into an opportunity where my core expertise would be valued.

Food delivery companies were looking for photography management service providers. I hopped onto this opportunity and thus Lighterature was born. The business picked up pretty fast as our clients were dehydrated for such service providers.

Within a year we had 2 leading food tech companies as our clients and had a very good network of artists across the country. Things looked promising, and we had great plans of being the leading photography solutions aggregator of the country.

We were then about to sign up another client who would provide us work at an unbelievable rate. The contract was about to be signed when…. enter COVID19.

The virus that corrupted a lot of dreams of not just mine but of the whole business world. The startup ecosystem suffered and still continue to suffer. Lighterature with all those 8 figure turnover was not able to sustain this wave.

We had to lay off with a heavy heart, giving alternate assignments for a few to get them through the financial crisis, However COVID was here to stay and challenged every action or plan we had.

What to do next? Was the questions running in my mind more than 24 hours a day. It helps to have multiple skillsets in such times. We had to move fast, and see if we can convert the VIRUS to VICTORY.

Multiple attempts were made and we lost a lot of cash as well. The govt ‘WAS’ our only hope but all didn’t look well.

Seeing the rise in online consumer behaviour, we took a bold step to move into design services- with the hope that folks using this opportunity to grow their Business online quickly would need talented designers at good rates and in a short duration of time

A network called Pushstart was like an open opportunity which we could explore. With a certain push from the PS team and other employees who were a part of us, we took the risk and started moving ahead- streamlining our Ops and building our business.

Salaries had to be paid, costs to be matched and we had to be ready for a very un-realistic bargaining (not negotiating) challenge. However, as we went ahead some clients signed up. Things looks positive but then it was a sine wave again.

However we realized that the clients we were targeting were also facing the same issues like us.. They were diversifying, they were also experimenting.

However since we also belong to the same category of entrepreneurs, we offered them support. Support in terms of pricing, services, solutions, consultation etc… Some things have turn up well and looks bright but the game is still on.

Checkmate is not our option but defending is what we need to learn and find victory.

We, therefore, see an opportunity in everything. We are here to be a part of your business on a long term basis.

Lighterature Visual Content Production will be your trusted partner in times of crisis.

Hit me up anytime to discuss around Creative Strategy, Branding, Design, Photography or if you just need to talk about anything Startup.

Originally Posted Here
17 Comments

Piyush Soni

That's Great! Though I have one question here! What factors did you consider in your decision to pivot from photography to design services?

Naresh Shetti

1. We looked at our expertise, not just the designer bit but the management as well.

2. I had experience in running an advertising agency which was my first business

3. I had the contacts to try and convince people to try us out

4. Photography and design can be called cousin brothers/sisters as they belong to the visual content family

5. Pandemic is going to put a stop on business but not for long. Eventually companies will want to do marketing and advrtising, at that moment photography and video production may not be possible. But the requirement still holds. What do you think could be the need of the market?
We think design wud have a prominent place, thats how we diversified

Ansha Dixit

PSers are lit!! How did Pushstart and PSers help you? Do share your journey.:)

Naresh Shetti

Well i got some really good connects from this community. The way people come on board and express themselves and their entrepreneurial challenges freely gave us a lot of confidence that our services are relevant.

Shriyash Patil

Ansha Dixit I got clients for my freelance copywriting with just one post! I actually got so much work that I decided to post again only after I build a team for delegating the work I was going to get..😬😅

Neeraj Joshi

How did you validate the decision to shift to design services?

Naresh Shetti

Design is always a need of the market. We wanted to get into design by the end of 2020 anyway without CORONIZATION.
However we had to take the step much early.

Also with more than 15 years of experience in advertising and photography it wasnt difficult to make this decision. that was my advantage.

Reena Bajaj

Very good post!! One thing I want to ask as I also want to start something in design services, what is the current situation/scope of design services? Would be great if you give your insights!!

Naresh Shetti

Design services is the need of the hour. I see a lot of low value or low budget requirements in the market but that is always the case. Its natural for a design startup to get frustrated because of costing issues. However I suggest you should work on providing a good ROI for you and the client.

One thing I always advocate.. donot drop prices just to win a contract, that will hurt in a the long run and also you will be contributing to destruction of the market. HOwever please extend your help to the required companies.

Mayank Gupta

Good post.
How did you identify your prospect clients and convert them? Usually service businesses are referral driven- and since you pivoted to design in a short span- how did you do so?

Naresh Shetti

We had a set of client from our photography services. It was a lil difficult however we had the advantage of calling the right person.

This community Push Start has helped a lot. They work as a nice breaker to get us introduced

also you are right, referrals work a lot in the service industry. Tries are still on to get a good contract with a big player.

Apurva Raj

You had plans to productise photography services, do you plan to head the same road now that you have pivoted to design? Do you see scope?

Naresh Shetti

Oh yes, there was a big plan of making photography as a service. The market of photography is completely messed up. There is a need to have a messiah who can guide the business owners in the right direction. Lighterature would have been one. Photography as I see will not return to BAU at least till the mid 2021. But once it is back there will be a scope and we will return to the original plan

Bhavik Jain

At what point of time did you realise you needed to make a change? Initially the crisis was unpredictable on when it would end, what made u realise this?

Naresh Shetti

In march when the chaos started we were unsure of what will happen. Neither did our client know nor did anyone have a clue.

I was in a dilemma to either wind up or fight back, my team gave me the boost for it. They agreed to take the risk with me and promised me that they will stay with me. I had my responsibilities as well so I invested from my own pocket and started training them to manage design. THere were a lot of hiccups but ultimately we started to move.

I researched a lot and came to a decision that we can do this. 2 months down the line we have now signed up Amazon retail, Swiggy and a few other clients who are showing some promising supply of work.

Cant say it worked but a gut feeling is that it will.:)

At this stage I wish I had an investor who could back us up, However being boot strapped has its own advantages.

The fear is still on, but thats what is keeping us alert and on our toes.

Rohit Nair

How did you find the clients for design?

Naresh Shetti

as mentioned, some were already connected due to the photography business, some came along with refrerals and push starter has had substantial contribution

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