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Akshay and Aatef have been friends since they were 4, and religiously play a game of football every day after work. After a few internships during & post-college Akshay and Aatef figured out they wanted to peruse a career in Digital Marketing. Krish, who heads the IT division at Togglehead, built 7 successful IOS apps while working with NimapInfotech, including ‘Brainack’, a paid game that has received honors in Switzerland. Akshay & Aatef are thorough digital marketers with similar backgrounds and Krish is a software engineer with experience in app development, programming and software creation. These three young entrepreneurial minds created Togglehead, a digital marketing agency servicing more than 60 clients in Social Media Marketing & IT Consultancy in a very short time of their existence.
In an exclusive conversation with LifeBeyondNumbers, Aatef Bham shares their entrepreneurial journey with Togglehead, their story of learning and challenges and lots more…
Inception of Togglehead
It started off when Krish came upto us and said, “Yo guys, let’s build this cool computer mouse that will have a USB integrated within.” We were super charged up thinking that our idea is a top secret million dollar one. However, after doing one Google search, we found that there were guys in China making computer mice with USBs, music players & cameras all integrated. That was our first disappointment. But we slowly built on the idea of doing something in IT and after 6 months of late night discussions, we were dead sure of our business plan.
We wanted to create a digital marketing agency with emphasis on service. Giving that extra bit of customizability and having a team designated solely on their brands. We also wanted to have a very relaxed atmosphere at work focusing on the fact that quality trumps quantity every time in Togglehead’s books. Google has always been our source of inspiration, but when we saw the slides in their office, we registered the company the next day. Togglehead is a young digital marketing agency launched at the end of 2012. We have grown to a team of over 15 talented Togglers carrying out operations from Mumbai & Delhi having serviced over 70 brands. Our services include social media marketing, branding, online advertising, campaign management, website design & development, mobile app building, software creation and brand identity. Our current team of 15 comprises of Social Togglers – social media executives, Design Togglers – designers, Head Togglers the founders and Business Development Togglers.
We are currently internally funded. However, our IT team is always building products and software which may be open for outside funding. Togglehead has a list of clients from diverse backgrounds. A range from the health & beauty industry, hospitality industry, books & literature industry, fashion industry and B2B clients as well. The online bestseller Aisle Be Damned, Ambience Group of Malls in Delhi-NCR, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Varuna D Jani, Smokin’ Joe’s Pizza, Indian Football School, Sheth-Transcon Developers, Gossip Shoes, Themis Consult, Fisheteria, Vir Das, etc. are just some of the brands that have worked with us. Social media campaigns carried out by our team for Gossip Shoes (fashion), Ambience Mall (lifestyle), Aisle Be Damned (books & literature) and Varuna D Jani (jewelry) have been featured in the top campaigns of 2013 in their respective industries.
Challenges, Learning and Future
Luckily for us, when we face a challenge, there’s always one who will look at it as an opportunity. And sometimes, all you need is some motivation to overcome them. With regards to clients in the service industry, it’s very hard to sign them on without having any existing clients. We had nothing to show – no past service conducted, except for our previous employer’s work. We met with 5 brands in a row who turned us away because we had nothing to show them. We learnt that the bitter-truth is to target your friends and family first, build the portfolio and then approach the other clients with tact. Working with family and friends is tedious and might get messy but, if done with conviction, can take less than 6 months before you start signing on brands solely based on your work. Today, those 5 brands who turned us away are all satisfied Togglehead clients.
I think every entrepreneur faces the challenge of Accounting-taxation in this country. We began charging service tax a bit later than we were supposed to and ultimately had to cut the payable amount from our profit.
Design is also a key. We realized that we needed an in-house designer when it took us 6 months to make the entire 5-year business plan and 7 months to design just our logo. Design is underrated and we have learnt well. Our first team member was a designer and now, over 30% of our team are designers.
Also, having 3 co-founders really helped us in the initial phase – it also helps us to look at the bigger picture without compromising on the day-to-day activities. We feel that many start-ups fail in India only because the founders think they can manage it alone, just like legend John Lennon famously sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends”
In a couple of years, our target is to be a setting an industry benchmark for every digital marketing agency in the country. We have set high but achievable goals for Togglehead. By the end of 2015, our objective is to rope in an annual turnover of INR 4.5 Cr and grow our team to 60, doubling the figures every year. We are also exploring the possibilities of opening an office in Gurgaon or Goa. Our IT division will be working on building 3 self-owned projects during 2014-15. The details for the same have not been finalized but they do include building a data management system, a mobile phone app and a sentiment analysis tool.
If you have an idea that is solving a problem, don’t hesitate to start something – even if you don’t have existing knowledge in that field. You can always learn along the way!