Sunday, 21 April 2013

My Bookstore My Dream...

Reading and Writing, two words that I use to define myself. Tracing back time to almost my school days all I can recollect is; reading used to be something that I found comfort in and now that bliss is extended so much that it has become my passion culminating into a dream. I am a Engineering student and a dreamer, put these two together and you don't always get a good combination. Though it doesn't necessarily mean that being a student has thwarted my plans, although at times I did feel like backing away and not pursuing it till the end but each time I felt like taking a step back, I was reminded of a quote by Paulo Coelho that helped me tread ahead.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” 

And thus the idea of starting a Bookstore cum Cafe, an independent start-up bookstore for book lovers grew on me slowly and steadily and I started moving towards my goal of converting my dream into reality.

People who know me, know how much emphasis I give to jotting down everything that I need for my task to be completed right from the location, to employment, to softwares to be used and most importantly names. So after hours of mind-boggling I decided on "Grounds for Thought Bookstore." My primary goal was to serve the people who not only frequent bookstores but also those who couldn't due to lack of time and travelling thereby catering to every individual who genuinely loves reading. 

But business is not just about marketing, networking and money; it is also about the resources and how to allocate those resources in order to get optimal output. And that is where I started facing issues, what seemed good in my mind and on paper didn't really seem fitting in reality as I being a student hardly have enough resources. My dream of starting a bookstore came crashing down; that is when I came across Microsoft Office 365 ( 

Microsoft Office 365 is the cloud version of the decades offered by Microsoft Office suite. Besides the familiar programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint there are other services such as Lync SharePoint Online and Exchange Online and creating websites to market the business and keeping it up to date which are included. It provides virtually anywhere access to familiar Office tools, plus enterprise-grade email, conferencing, and more IT services. In all being a perfect tool in the business arena. 

Having learnt so much about it and realizing its benefits, my mind started forming different ideas about how to incorporate it into my business without losing focus on my dream project. 

The bookstore industry as a whole is going through a large shift. Earlier, the market was dominated by local city libraries and small book vendors selling novels. Thus, my own experience as a customer was not satisfactory as I did not always get everything under one roof. Therefore, my bookstore  would cater to the needs of middle class customers who cut back on purchasing; thereby a used bookstore will look more attractive to customers who still wish to purchase books or simply lend them by being a member of the bookstore. 

The bookstore would try to provide various genre of books. It would offers a wide range of books including both the educational and recreational, a variety of magazine and fine music selections and newspapers. This includes just about every imaginable category including fiction, non-fiction, business, science, history, children and other types of books. Also the newspaper selection would concentrate not just on daily newspapers but archive even the past newspapers of historical dates.

Since this will be a bookstore cum cafe it will also provide a relaxed reading room type atmosphere that would be encouraged through the placement of art, chairs, couches and coffee tables; where one can sip evening coffee and enjoy a good read for customers who do not wish to purchase the book or take it home with them. 

In addition, as I mentioned earlier about incorporating Microsoft Office 365 as it provides ample services that would help my business. Since this is a small scale venture, the small business plan would help in my start up. 

Using Sky Drive I would update the database of existing and newly added books as it can be accessed both online and offline after synchronization. Basically this would help in searching the item the customer is seeking but is hard to find. This I do would by using the Microsoft Office tools like MS Excel for keeping a record of the books and music collection in a .csv file that would be stored in the cloud i.e Sky Drive that can be easily imported in a database; also since I'm all but using Microsoft products the database that I would incorporate would be SQL Server to ease my work.

Also there would be an online virtual library so it’s easy for the customer to leaf through books and place the order though not necessarily being present at the bookstore personally. The basic idea of having an online library in addition to the bookstore is that, if a customer wishes to purchase the book; the book would be delievered to their residence. But, home delivery won't hold true if the customer wishes to take the book on loan, but they can definitely pre-book the book they wish so that it is issued in their name and can be collected by the customer in a weeks time.

The website of this online library would be built using the Microsoft Office 365 Website builder and the requests would be updated in the database that would be connected to Sky Drive, Excel, Lync for audio calls and SharePoint so that the changes and order recorded can be viewed by me, the Head Librarian and even the other employees so as to have a fair idea of which book is available and how is the bookstore functioning. 

And one of the best feature is that I need not be present in the bookstore the whole time to check the records management, I can sync and configure Microsoft Office 365 on my touch screen cell phone and access the data anywhere thus, simplifying my task of checking the business development at my ease. 

Though this being a small scale business at start-up with minimum employees, the primary marketing strategy in order to capture attention for the bookstore would be using prominent signs at the stores location, handing out fliers to people, discounts on membership cards based on first cum first serve basis and radio advertisements to capture customers. Still there would be a sales and marketing representative who would keep a track of all the books sold, borrowed, acquired and also lost incurring a fine to the individual; using Microsoft Office tools like MS Word, Excel but with new and improved efficiency.

Today technology has advanced and it has it's perks and is present in every part of our life, it helps us from menial tasks to skilled elevated ones. The bookstore is my dream and a small initiative that I want to take in order to encourage not just reading for leisure but also a step towards developing a rational thinking that combines both proper education and creativity thereby inculcating the idea of dreaming big and working towards achieving it.

And I sincerely hope that one day my dream is fulfilled and I can proudly say, Yes this is my Bookstore not just for people who can afford to buy books and read but for everyone who can afford or who cannot but who genuinely like to read. 

This post has been written for Microsoft Office 365 and Indiblogger


P.S: Understanding Microsoft Office 365 courtesy; Microsoft site and google for various tutorials in each language.


pandian chelliah said...

I am not sure abt the part where u talk abt microsoft 365, but i like the idea of a cafe + bookstore.
Even I have been thinking about starting a local library, however I am struck with the logistics :(
may be u can write about how u r planning to deal with that...
best wishes

SAP Online Tutor said...

Very Interesting Blog post :-)

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