The Shagun Startups Story

The practice narrated below was shared by Niddhi Arora (Founder of The Children Post) and we will be adapting it for our new entrepreneurs from the IIM-C community.

When a business was started by someone in the Punjabi trading community, everyone in their friends and family circle were invited. It was a celebration.

Everyone came and bought something from that new business. That was mandatory.

In addition, they also gave “Shagun” – a gift that is given for good luck, on social occasions. The start of a business is a perfect social occasion for a business community.

Every guest was sent back with “mithai” – congratulatory sweetmeats to share the happiness with the guests.

In India, Shagun is given at weddings, at the start of a family, on entering a new house, etc. But a shagun and a small order at the start of the business did three things:

1. The money collected from the shagun helped ensure that operational expenses are taken care of for a short while.

2. The initial orders, no matter how small, ensured a good first day of the business. The Punjabis believe that a good bohni (first order of the day is called a bohni), a good first day of the business, and a good final order of the day is auspicious. A business that does not do well on its opening day is, well, unheard of in close-knit Punjabi communities.

3. This initial order also gives everyone a chance to sample your product. Then, when they recommend you to someone, they can say truthfully, “I have tried them and they are good.”

You might think that this is very well for B2C businesses, but as we move into services (CA, IT, etc) or B2B platforms, this practice cannot be replicated.

Well, the Punjabis have been doing software, film production companies and B2B (the entire construction and transport industry of the North from Jammu to Delhi) for a long time.

So, here is how this goes:

We give the shagun and we make a business transaction – this can be:

A. A service rendered or resource shared
B. A discount if we can be a vendor to the business. We might also throw something in for free.
C. An order
D. An introduction to a potential client
E. Govt and regulatory facilitation

I don’t know about you but sounds like a darn good practice.

So, if you are an IIMCian and are just starting your business then drop a line at team(at) and we will have a Team evaluate your business and arrange a “Shagun Startup Day” for you and your peers … Perhaps, once every month/quarter


We at IIM-CAN recognize that even though getting Angel Funding is a major milestone for entrepreneurs, the journey is still fraught with the danger of premature startup demise. So, to ensure the survival and growth of the small "baby" into a vigorous young one we have created this whole IIM-CAN Ecosystem.

@2023 IIM-CAN