When Jagdeep Tiwari migrated from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai in search of a better life and better prospects in 2008, little did he know that he would end up running a paan shop?
His family practiced farming for a living, and although paan is the traditional palette cleanser that is customarily followed in Indian society, nobody in his family was fond of chewing paan.
“The family refrained from it, as a rule,” says the 29-year-old.
So, for the first two years in Mumbai, Tiwari ran a small milk shop but since milk is a highly perishable commodity, and cannot be stored, it became a loss-making business.
Worried about his future, Tiwari had made up his mind to go back to Pratapgarh but that changed when a friend asked him to run his paan kiosk for a couple of weeks as he had to go out of town.
“It was a godsend. My friend taught me the art of making paan, and there’s been no looking back since. Soon after my friend returned, I rented a small shop to sell the betel leaf that is seen as a tradition to mark a new beginning,” Tiwari says as he finishes with a smile.
A smile seasoned by years of sweat and toil.
Every now and then, the busy paanwadi immerses himself and tries new recipes, and works on perfecting the craft of making this exotic paan. And it is his derring-do to dream which has propelled Tiwari from a village bumpkin to a suave entrepreneur.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, he started selling masks and this helps him recover Rs 8,000 to pay off as rent for his paan stall in Dadar.
But, to date, Tiwari wants to stay true to his feeling of simply satiating the desire of paan for all paan lovers.
Speaking about being a paanwala, he says that he is someone who is more than just a shop owner to his customers.
“Everyone has one designated paanwala in this area, this city… who is more of an agony aunt to some. Since paan shops also sell cigarettes and tobacco, men visit these shops more frequently and I have developed a friendship with most of my customers. How I treat my customers and what encourages them to visit my shop again is what plays a huge part in bringing cheer to my life. And this is what helps me stay in business mostly.
Adding, he says that nothing compares to the sense of gratification in running his own business.
“I often work for more than 16 hours a day, which is normal and I won’t have it any other way. I open the shop at 5 am and close at 10.30 pm.
“My motto is ‘sell your strengths and hire out your weaknesses.”
This has been quite useful because he knows what to take on and what to outsource, a very fine balance.
As a business owner, he says, there are always decisions to make and work to do.
“But not all buyers in my stall can buy things paying money immediately. The laborers who work for daily wages need this comfort of getting things instantly and making payments later. Small business owners are aware that they need to sell things in a credit account. So, the “bahi-khata” or ledger book was an intrinsic part of my business. However, the manual process of record-keeping not just required effort, but also had a high margin of error.”
Settling the credit every month with customers was a painful exercise, as Tewari would go through scraps of paper and registers, to sum up the outstanding. Often there was a mismatch, leading to a spoilt customer experience.
So when Tiwari learned about Khatabook two years ago, he knew that it was the perfect accounting solution for him.
“Since I have no accounting background, I wanted a tool which was very simple to use. In Khatabook, I saw two main features: Money In and Money Out.
“The app helps me keep track of credit transactions – both payments and receivables,” says Tiwari.
“It enables merchants like me to record transactions digitally and send timely reminders to my frequent customers every time a credit purchase happens, thereby solving problems of a mismatch between customers and my accounts.”
Khatabook also helps Tiwari in expanding his business by assisting him to keep track of his borrowers and get his credit back on time, without having to leave the shop.
He loves the Khatabook idea of helping small store owners manage their bookkeeping function through technology and thus improve customer experience.
”The new user interface is too good, very easy to use, and gives us instant reports,” he says.
“Business owners like me who don’t have accounting patience, can now actually concentrate on the business and maintain customer relationships rather than finance and accounting.
A few things that Tiwari finds very useful about the Khatabook app are:
- Simplified System and its fast
There is no need to know accounting as this app will do all the math and calculations. What you need to do is to enter the details of the transactions. You can send reminders to the customer and once the payment is made you can delete the old transactions as well.
Therefore the system is very simple and the only requirement is to have an Android phone version 5.0 and up, to handle your business transactions at your fingertip.
- Ease of Access To Data
Once the customer detail is added from the contact book on your phone, you can access any data easily and at any time. Add the payment link and share it via Whatsapp to remind the customer. Data backup is possible and can be restored at any time. Include credit and debit details as and when the payment gets cleared from the customer. All the important financial statements are available within a few clicks and maybe a couple of minutes.
- Data Security
Digital khata is safe, secure, and simple. Any number of transactions can be saved and reviewed maintaining confidentiality.
It is absolutely a free digital cash book that you can carry in your pocket at all times to all places. The inbuilt program will tally your account and transaction with your customers. Every customer receives a free Whatsapp update regarding their transaction.
“It’s so easy that all my digital solutions that make key business tasks simpler, digitized, and secure are taken care of. And I think that forms the crux of increasing demand for Khatabook’s solutions going forward. Ask my friends,” he winks, “…they will tell you more about the app.” His friends agree.
“Yes, Khatabook is helping small shop owners like me expand our business by assisting me to keep a track of my borrowers and get my credit back on time, without having to leave the shop.
Khatabook gives me the opportunity to free up valuable time to focus on other issues. Payment reminders can be set for each of the customers individually and hence there is no need to remember any old transactions. The app is highly reliable and it is scalable too with upcoming new features regularly added to it. Personal accounts can be created for friends and family as well as for individuals,” signs off his friend who taught Tiwari the art of making paan a decade ago.