Young People in Business: Mikhail Singh brings smiles to T&T
Mikhail Singh’s foray into the business of gift giving began when he was searching for a gift for his girlfriend that was special and had trouble finding it.
He came upon the idea after realising that an online gift ordering and delivery service was, to his knowledge, not offered here in Trinidad and Tobago, and decided that he would open one.
His dream came true with the launch of HelloPost TT in January this year.
Instead of struggling to crowded malls and hectic shopping centres, Trinis can simply go online, select and pay for their items and have these gifts delivered directly to their loved ones.
Singh, who has a background in Management Information Systems, said in the short time since Hello Post was launched, the feedback has been phenomenal.
“The feedback has been fantastic, we launched the Facebook page and website earlier this year and have had a great response.”
“We’ve had lots of happy customers so far, we’ve also had a lot of overseas customers who use Hello Post to send birthday or anniversary greetings to their loved ones through us, since they can’t do it themselves.”
“It’s a personalised and customisable service, where we add their names and greetings to their cards, so there’s that personal feel to it.”
Although the business is new, Singh has in fact been in the business arena for the past 10 years.
“Although Hello Post is new, I’ve been in business for the past decade of my life. I started The Fan Club (a store offering football fan memorabilia and clothing) in 2009 so I know the ins and outs of starting a business, and I think this has really helped me with regards to launching HelloPost.”
Moving forward, Singh says the company is definitely hoping to employ local creative talent to make their greeting cards and ideas even more personalised and true to local culture.
“We’re looking to engage local creative talent in a more meaningful way, through visual artists, creative writers that kind of thing."
Additionally, Singh said he's looking to expand the business throughout the Caribbean in the future.
"Furthermore, we’re hoping to branch out into the region later on, if we could use Trinidad and Tobago as a launching point for the Caribbean. There are 39 million people in the Caribbean, so we’re looking for a larger market to expand into.”
As an entrepreneur, Singh says the process has been smoother than his first business venture, but nevertheless, he continues to learn and grow with his business.
“I’m a bit more level-headed this time around, much less stressed out than when I launched my first business straight out of university.”
“Now I can say that I’ve learnt to let others deal with the areas they specialise in, so the creatives, I let them deal with that, and I deal with the entrepreneur side of it.”
Singh also earnestly believes that Trinidad and Tobago is in dire need of more entrepreneurship at the moment to bring more ideas and ingenuity to the business sector.
“Entrepreneurship is what the world needs, we’re in a changing world and you never know whether your idea may be successful, so try. Do your research, but try.”
However, he mourned the lack of support from the banking sector, saying that most often, entrepreneurs without significant capital or collateral are usually unable to secure start-up loans.
“Don’t look to the banks, look for alternative means of backing, such as the government or other backers. Unless you already have assets, banks are not going to help.”
He said this is one of the reasons why new businesses suffer in the start-up stages.
Singh added that a wide and diverse network is critical.
“In this country you have to know people. Go to engagements, go to the (business) chamber meetings, join the chamber, in fact, and read every day on what’s going on.”
“No man is an island, so get out there. That’s what will really help you to get an advantage, in addition to the help of friends and family.”
“Don’t be afraid to ask a question, we’re all here to learn,” Mikhail said.
The company celebrates its official launch on Monday, March 20, 2017, however the business is already live and operates from Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and is available online at www.hellopost.co.tt.
The company can also be reached on Faceboook at www.facebook.com/HelloPostTT.
Congrats Mikhail, and keep delivering those smiles!