‘Six Inches’ plans to attract SMEs & Tier II brands

Inch by inch, life’s a cinch

From a Graphic Designer to an entrepreneur Mumbai based Pravin Shah (37 years) has an interesting narrative replete with interesting anecdotes.

Read on as he shares his story with Baishali Mukherjee…

A born entrepreneur

Born to a Marwari family, entrepreneurship came to me naturally I guess. At the age of 13 while still in school, I ventured into making of paper bags with two friends. It was quite successful as I persuaded local groceries to give up plastic bags. Paper bags business survived for a year but the zeal to do something bigger only grew in me. I pursued BSc in college only to realize it was not my cup of tea. I also pursued interior design from Raheja college, but could barely survive there for two years.

Maybe destiny was calling for me to be in advertising. By now I had become more of a geek. My curiosity led me to explore the idea world. Be it launch of Yahoo or Netscape, I wanted to be out there seeing them first.  While everyone in the family was pursuing engineering and MBA, here I was trying things differently. However, I have been really lucky to have parents who let me do what I wanted to do. But they told me I have to take care of my own expenses.

It was a bit of a challenge. I survived. I landed up in a small ad agency as a graphic designer. It was destiny's first call, and I was lucky to be in an environment where I witnessed what went behind an ad. Eventually I decided to set up my own agency, Six Inches, a collaborative agency and lives by a mission to build world class brands for past 11 years.

The building blocks

When you start a company, you face multiple challenges since everything is new to you. Of course, you outgrow them eventually and learn to deal with it. In startups, the leader has to do everything. So I was meeting clients, working on creatives and invoices, sourcing vendors and following up on payments. The effort was extremely taxing, but it helped in building knowledge, expanding network and adding muscle to our agency.

We were aiming to grow with small bites from various brands. However, to make brands trust a new agency involved rigorous follow-ups and lot of free sampling work which took a toll on our time. We still survived. And once we secured a few brands, there was no looking back. We packed a lot of action into the company and it produced results swiftly.

Every challenge comes with an opportunity

There have been many challenges and there is no secret sauce to solve them. The only way to overcome them is to face and move forward. Every challenge comes with an opportunity to learn and become better than you are at that point.

I was prepared for the road blocks. It is no secret that you will face challenges is all your endeavours. What worked for me was embracing them as it comes and learning from every challenge while you learn to outgrow it.

The success story

Six Inches today has grown from a two-people company to a full service agency with a team of 32. Our hiring strategy is always linked to business acquisitions. But we also balance the pool with consultants. With an initial investment of Rs 60,000 when it started, we have grown steadily. The highest turnover reached was Rs 12 crore in 2012 with volume of services but we realized that it was not profitable. We changed our business model towards consulting and creative and now grossing Rs 5.5 crore from core and allied services. We have catered to more than 100 clients and have executed more than 1000 projects across service areas.

Future plans

Our future plan is to scale up our digital offerings to attract SME’s and Tier 2 brands.

Straight talk

I always say that be like postage stamp. Stick to one thing till you reach there. One can get scattered with the influence of new ideas and diversify without knowing the domain. Hence sticking to one thing and reaching it full scale is must. It also builds the profile of the entrepreneur on his execution skills.

Also it is important not to manage your time, but to manage your focus. Finally convert your ‘could do’ to ‘should do.’ The ‘could do’ is often a vast list that doesn’t really get you closer to your goals, your ‘should do’ contains the specific things that takes you close to your goals.

Would you be interested in investing in an advertising agency? Do share your views.



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