Monday, September 8, 2014

Nikita Acharya - Founder of FunBuzz India

Q1. How did your career journey start? Or Who/What inspired you to start this business/ entrepreneurship?

The idea for FunBuzz struck me in 2011 when I decided I wanted to do something productive with my time and in a subject area which interested me. I have always enjoyed being with children. It gives me an amazing sense of satisfaction and wonder at the same time - looking at their curiosity and their infinite appetite for learning. But I have also seen how schools in the current day teach children in a very rote and boring manner. By doing so, they unknowingly stifle the natural creativity and potential of quick learning in the child. That is when I realized that if learning can be made more fun and interactive, it could be much more beneficial to the child. It would build a much more solid foundation for the child’s reading, writing and learning abilities as the child grows.

I was aware of the Phonetic method of teaching while interacting with my nephews who were 3-5 years old at that time. I was attracted at this simple yet powerful method of teaching children how to read and write. Hence I decided to become more proficient in the Jolly Phonics system of teaching and got certified in the same. I started out with teaching just two kids, and within a span of three years, I now have over two hundred children who have gone through this course, with amazing degrees of success.

My father has always been a true inspiration to me from the day I graduated. I guess I was infected with his endless energy and willingness to grow. I saw him build his enterprise from scratch multiple times and that is when I realized I could do much more by starting out on my own than do a job where my impact would be limited. Combining my good rapport with children with something I enjoy doing, teaching, has ensured that I am still as charged and excited before each and every class as I was during the first class. My second inspiration is my husband whose inputs were important in building a structure to the courses and methods of teaching. His inputs, though critical sometimes, helped me a lot from the time I started out with two kids and gave me patience to grow FunBuzz to what it is now.

Q2. Kindly share some information about your Business, products and services here.

FunBuzz India is an educational enterprise which enables children between the ages of 4-8 years old in reading, writing, grammar and general knowledge. There are separate courses for each skill. Our courses are designed as a step by step journey, each building on top of the previous courses to ensure that the child builds a strong foundation. The courses which FunBuzz offers covers the entire spectrum, right from learning how to hold a pencil correctly to forming grammatically correct sentences on their own.

For example, the Junior Phonics course is the introductory course for children who are just learning to read and is the perfect starting point for children aged 3-5 years. The Senior Phonics course builds on the JP course and introduces advanced concepts to the child. We also have a Grammar module which teaches children about the states and symbols of India, about different planets as well as about oceans and continents.
Most of these courses are spread over a duration of ten months. These courses are designed in such a way that the child does not get overwhelmed at learning new things. It also gives enough practice to ingrain the concepts in their minds.

We have recently introduced flash cards to improve the child’s general knowledge on various aspects. These flash cards range from topics about the Wonders of the World, to flags of countries, as well as famous personalities. We believe this is a very ripe age to inculcate a basic sense of general knowledge in the child. Nowadays, we see parents handing their children mobile phone screens to keep them occupied. But according to us, flash cards are much more educational and productive in the long run.

Q3. What kind of challenges did you face while starting/doing business?

Getting the parents to understand the value of a long term course was one challenge I faced in the early years. In this day and age of crash courses and summer batches, people expected their children to learn to read and write within a period of two months. But since these skills form the foundation of a child’s learning, it takes time to ingrain the basics in their mind. Hence, it was important to spread the course over the period of an academic year.

Also there was a need to distinguish this holistic course from a simple tuition class. The Jolly Phonics method of teaching we use involve a more interactive way of learning than is taught typically in schools and tuitions.

Q4. Do share with our readers about your discovery period when you were facing difficulties in your business?

For me there were no clear discovery and experiment periods.

Q5. Share with our readers about your experiment period after the discovery period?

Even today, I keep discovering new things about how we can improve the services we provide. Hence I believe that discovery and experimentation are an inseparable part of entrepreneurship, be it a fledgling start-up or a well-established business.

Q6. What are your future plans? Or now what is your vision for next five years?

It will be a continuous journey of discovery, improvement and experimentation. I wish to expand my services from the Chandivali/Powai area to other parts of Mumbai. One of my long term plans would be to offer franchise opportunities for like-minded entrepreneurs who wish to make a difference in the pre-school education space.

Q7. How would you advice/suggest new entrepreneurs who want to start & sustain in business?

It is very important to truly believe in your product or service. Unless you believe that what you offer improves someone else’s life, it is difficult for others to believe in you. Listen to your gut feeling, many a time it can prove right instead of logic. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Planning can help only to a certain extent. After a while, it is action which will convert your plans to reality. And most of all, your passion should be greater than the fortune you wish to make from your venture. That will make the difference between a business and an enterprise.

Q8. LinkedIn profile URL link

Q9. Facebook profile URL link

Q10 Twitter profile URL link

Q11. Personal blog URL link 

Q12. Company website & Company blog URL link