Ease of doing business for MSMEs: The biggest learning for Gupta was to focus on content, regardless of type, size and platform.
Ease of doing business for MSMEs: Honey Gupta, based in Noida, had started a business-to-business (B2B) lead generation business in 2011 when e-commerce or internet-based marketplaces were poised to achieve tremendous growth with increasing penetration of ‘Internet. Gupta’s lead generation business, MyCityCue.com, began by listing merchants, manufacturers, and suppliers of different products and services for free. The company ran online promotions for them (for free?) to generate leads and sell those leads to the right buyers, including IndiaMART.
“Everything was going very well. We had close to 150 to 200 monthly paying customers. However, things changed almost overnight towards the end of 2011,” Gupta told Financial Express Online.
In February 2011, Google made changes to its algorithms that decide how websites rank in search results in the United States. The intent was to improve search quality by lowering the rankings of websites that were attracting traffic from Google search and attracting ad revenue. However, it also impacted the rankings of many sites.
“Some sites have to go up and others down. Google depends on high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we have a responsibility to foster a healthy web ecosystem,” the company’s blog posted on February 24, 2011. year, the changes were launched in other countries with a similar impact on many websites that were also lacking in quality content.
“B2B SEO companies like ours used to put two to three lines of product and company information along with contact details. When Google changed its algorithms and started to value content , companies like ours started losing.Within 15-20 days we realized that something was wrong with cataloging companies like ours who were not content friendly at that time and which depended solely on the listings portion. All rankings and SEO optimization disappeared within about two to three weeks. Our ad revenue dropped drastically,” Gupta added.
As an entrepreneur, Gupta was at a crossroads. The choice was between redesigning the entire website including design, all catalogs and rebuilding the portal or shutting it down. The renovation required a lot of money. “It was a profitable business with at least Rs 15-20 lakh per month in revenue. But the capital needed to rebuild everything was much more than that and no investor would have put money into it,” Gupta said.
FinancialExpress.com presents its flagship event The ScaleUp Summit exclusively for MSME owners to learn from each other and grow their business. Join us by registering here.
It was early 2012. Gupta finally had to give up his business which had an average turnover of around Rs 2 crore. Revenue details were not shared by Gupta. On the other hand, the loss of staff was not significant since it was only a team of five members. Nevertheless, after selling all the tracks to IndiaMART and other companies and shutting down MyCityCue, Gupta took a job for about three years. In 2015, he returned to entrepreneurship with Truphe.
With its network of B2B suppliers, Gupta explored the machine tool segment. He chose gardening tools to venture into and over the next seven years expanded into other categories in the segment such as seeds, pots, plant supports, watering cans, ingredients ground, etc. Gupta currently retails through its company website and Amazon and Flipkart e-commerce marketplaces.
The biggest learning for Gupta was to focus on content regardless of type, size, and platform. “That should be important from day one. I walked away from my living room and today the business has grown to impressive size,” Gupta said without disclosing earnings. The company aims to expand into other categories such as lawnmowers and chainsaws. Truphe had raised undisclosed funding from Thrasio-style startup UpScalio last month to scale the business to Rs 50 crore in revenue over the next two years.