womenentrepreneurs

Women Entrepreneurs: Urjita Kshatriya (Idecution)

Urjita Kshatriya has done her B.E Instrumentation and started her own venture, Idecution. She has experience of 6 years in this field. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

1. Describe yourself in a sentence.

A practical, independent and self-reliant person who lives life on her own terms.

2. What were the thoughts on your mind when leaving a stable job to start a business?

Starting my own company was on my mind right since school days but I didn’t have a plan for doing it.

When I left my job, I didn’t know whether I would start a business or not. The idea for the business came after 3-4 months of leaving my job.

3. Why did you opt for digital marketing, that too for MSMEs in particular?

I had started exploring digital marketing with the intention of learning more about it. Since I already had offline marketing experience, I wanted to learn more about online marketing. But while learning digital marketing, I realised that MSMEs don’t leverage this and this can be a good business opportunity. Bigger brands have deep pockets for marketing, but the excitement of getting some unknown businesses noticed and getting them customers is something that keeps me going and working with MSMEs.

4. How did you come up with your company’s name?

When we started in Jan 2016, the company name was Vivo Marketing Solutions. During the same time, Vivo mobile gained a lot of popularity and most of the people thought that we had used that name whereas that was not the case. So in 2017 when we decided to form LLP I wanted to go for a unique name. That’s how we coined the name Idecution = Ideas + Execution. This is also because ideas are easy but executing them is the tough part.

5. What challenges have you faced while starting and sustaining your business?

I view challenges as opportunities to improve both at individual and business levels. That’s probably why I don’t have any specific challenges to talk about.

6. What impact has the pandemic had on your business?

The pandemic helped us understand that the process and practices at Idecution have stood the test of time. For eg: Right from day 1, our data was on cloud and so it was easy to switch to working from home. Also, most of our day to day activities are documented in the form of processes. This ensured an easy induction process for the new joinees.

In 2019, I had envisioned that Idecution will work on a remote working model. But I had parked the idea thinking that if we do it then maybe our prospective customers will not take us seriously. Because of the pandemic, we were “forced” to switch to remote working and from July 2020 we moved to a complete remote working model.

Also, before the pandemic, although there were no geographic barriers for our clients, our team was completely based out of Mumbai since that’s where our office was. But post-pandemic the new recruits have been from various locations and not just Mumbai.

7. Did you face any difficulties as a woman while dealing with clients?

Well, I have always been a strong-headed woman and as such have never faced any gender-related difficulties while dealing with clients.

8. What are your short-term and long-term business goals?

Short-term, I am looking at increasing my business turnover by 10x by 2024.

Long-term, I want our clients to think of Idecution whenever they have any marketing-related activity.

9. What are some of the challenges you face regarding catalysing innovation?

Getting everyone on the same page so that they can see the bigger picture.

10. Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?

I don’t think so, because whichever way things have shaped up, it’s been a great experience and I don’t want to change it.

Women Entrepreneurs : Sonali Agarwal (Ketki India)

Sonali Agarwal has an MBA in Marketing and she recently started her venture, Ketki India. Being from Jaipur, she brings beautiful blue pottery products handmade by different artisans to you.

Instagram : ketkiindia

1) How would you describe yourself?

I am an average simple girl from Jaipur with many dreams in her eyes with an urge to make her parents feel proud about her and close ones too. 

2) When and how did you start creating Ketki India? 

Ketki India was established last year (2020) during the pandemic. I send Diwali gifts to my digital marketing client every year. Last year, I made a few candles for them and to my surprise it got a good response. I immediately got orders for the candles. Initially, I started taking few orders as I already work as a full-time social media manager. Simultaneously, I started researching upon various type of jars. While researching, I came across Jaipur blue pottery jar and this struck me with the idea of the candle wax, an eco-friendly solution – soy wax. For the next couple of months, I worked on finding more about candles and fragrances and zeroed in on Jaipur pottery, soy candles and 15 fragrances in March.

3) What inspired you to start this business?

The initial order before starting Ketki India and few samples that I sent to some of my friends, got an amazing response. I wanted to support the local artisans through Ketki India. The feedback motivated me and inspired me to venture further. I connected with artisans who made Jaipur pottery. My basic motto is to support people who create art. That is how Ketki India was born. I started mixing the traditional Jaipur art with the modernity of soy wax candles so it will help artisans work reach your doorsteps through Ketki India.

4) How did you come up with the name for your business?

My father gave this name for my brand. Ketki India is my childhood name and I have never used it officially or publicly before this. My grandfather kept this name for me when I was little. Ketki means fragrance. Ketki is a flower which was going with the idea of scented candles and Jaipur blue pottery is related to Indian art. That’s how I kept the name ‘Ketki India’

5) What are the challenges you faced during the pandemic? 

Pandemic has been tough on businesses. As a small business owner, I faced many obstacles too but I took them as a challenge. This pandemic was a blessing in disguise. The lockdown during the pandemic gave me time to create Ketki India. There were some issues initially because I had already invested in new stock and there were no sales. Even deliveries weren’t happening as couriers were shut. The artisans had to be paid for the stock, the balance between production of stock and payment of the artisans was a real challenge. But with patience and determination I was able to deal with these.

6) What do you love most about running your own business?

I have the freedom to add the product and fragrances without any restrictions. People appreciate my work and like my products and I have been getting positive feedback.

7)  What platform/tools do you use for marketing your business?

I use social media only; I haven’t got any paid partnership with anyone yet. 

8) What role does social media play in your business? What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of using social media for your business?

Social media is the only hero of my business as it is the only tool I use for marketing. The support from friends and customers through word of mouth definitely helps me gain more customers and expand my business. The advantage is that I can promote and get instant feedback from my customers. It gives you a marketing platform. The disadvantage is you have to keep your account active to keep the business going. Staying connected for customer orders and queries, creating posts and reels, doing photoshoots, etc is time consuming. I need to be available online and reply promptly to any order requests. This creates social media anxiety.

9) Which scents do you find are the most popular among your clients? 

Fragrances like musk amber, mahogany, firdaus, lavender, vanilla and night blooming Jasmine are the most popular among my clients.

10) Tell us about a day at work. How does it start? What do you do?

Working from home and being a small business owner, everything depends on the number of orders. If there is a bulk order, I will be running for raw materials and working on completing the orders in time. Balancing work and personal life is a task. I am the only one working so I have got to perform all the roles to run this business. Many will relate to this as I am at a very initial stage of my business. There is no fixed schedule or timetable. I start my day from keeping an eye on the social media orders, then manufacturing, packaging and keeping the stock ready for dispatch. All this requires balancing, managing and handling everything. Every day is a different experience. 

11) What are the three most important values you follow at work?

As a person I believe in honesty, I don’t fake things, I am punctual and disciplined. I like to complete my work before the deadlines. Lastly, I believe in giving value for money to our customers.

12) How do you handle bad reviews, if any?

Honestly, I have got bad reviews related to damaged products only. I deal in fragile products and sometimes this happens due to mishandling of the parcels. When the customers inform me about receiving any damaged products, I try to replace it with new products as soon as possible.

13) What advice would you give women small business owners?

Follow your heart and do what your heart feels is right. If you want to start your business, start it with passion and then make it a source of income. When you are passionate about your work people can see it. If you are enthusiastic about your work, it does attract more people towards you. Put your heart into your business and everything will fall into place. 

Women Entrepreneurs : Dietician : Priya Maisa

Priya Maisa is a nutritionist. She has graduated in Food Science and Nutrition and has done her Post Graduation in Dietetics. She has 12 years of experience and started her own company named ‘ Complete Nutrition’.

1) What or who inspired you to become a nutritionist?

This field was fairly new when I started. My teachers have been my inspiration. Since they knew more than me and taught the subjects well, I learnt a lot from them and used that knowledge positively.

2) What skills are needed as a nutritionist while dealing with their clients?

With knowledge about good nutrition, counselling skills are the most essential to motivate a client. One has to have a good understanding of nutrition and update the clients with the latest research in this field along with the kind of nutrition that is suitable for them. Once they start, they need to be kept motivated. I make sure I am connected with my clients and keep them on track by being in constant touch. Counselling the client only once in the beginning is going to be ineffective. It is important to take regular updates from them. I have clients from all age groups and they can approach me at any time with a query or a problem regarding their nutrition.

3) How do you stay updated with the latest research and information in your field?

You get updated when you are actively working in the field. I get updated information from many mediums like when I collaborate with many hospitals. Also, the health apps that I use. Due to constant changes in the environment and our lifestyle, like the current pandemic, I have to keep myself constantly updated through social media, articles and books. I always manage time to get more updated information as it helps me when I am counselling.

4) What is the least favourite part of your job?

I like each moment of it. There are clients who are unable to follow and still I like to manage them to motivate them. I take it up as a challenge to manage their schedule and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle.

5) What do you do during a typical workday?

I get my clients updates on WhatsApp daily about their weight, food schedule, queries, etc. While having coffee I sit and clear their doubts. Post this, I take some time out for myself. I work out for half an hour and then attend calls from the hospital. Then, I check up on the few updates from the apps while on my way to the hospital. After reaching the hospital, I counsel and manage my patients. I schedule appointments for my clinic.  I have clients all over the world and have kept a 24 hrs online service on my site. After the counselling session, I go through my emails and prepare diet plans for the clients.

6) What are your strong beliefs as a nutritionist?

I would say positivity and belief in good health, a healthy regime and diet. If you believe in positivity then it will work on you. When my client comes in with positivity, it is easier to motivate them to focus on and follow proper nutrition plans. If they are getting in touch with me it means they already come in with a positive mindset. Before starting my counselling session, if the client is motivated enough then it is easier for me to guide them. It is always a two-sided effort and the client has to update me every couple of days with their progress. Being healthy should be a lifetime trend and our mantra should be ‘I have to do it’.

7) What are the three most important work values you follow?

My first value is being punctual. The second is being very active and physically healthy, if I can maintain myself while having a busy schedule so can you. Looking at me they get motivated and I make things possible with counselling. Practising what you preach is important. The third is being available for my clients so they can always call or text me and I revert.

8) How would you approach a difficult client?

I always like to face difficulties and not run away from it, and take difficult clients as a challenge. Once I book a client’s appointment I listen to them carefully and answer their queries. Show them there is a way out by following a proper diet. Initially, there were limited options to add to our diets, but now there are many options. We can order raw materials online to follow our diet. Keeping an updated and regular follow up to resolve the client’s difficulties is a must. I suggest alternatives if a certain diet is not working for them or they are not complying.

9) Has the pandemic changed the way people look towards their health?

Yes, it has a lot and in a good way. People have realized that only working hard and earning money is not enough, taking care of their health is important. In terms of food and health, people are more health-conscious and want to get benefited from the food they consume. Even those who were not into fitness have started working out. There is a change in all age groups from elderly to children. There was a huge increase in new clients, I was completely occupied during the pandemic. Most of them wanted to lose weight, get fit and reach their ideal body weight. Even after the lockdown was over, people have continued to manage and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

10) What type of training would you recommend for someone to advance in your field?

Being updated due to new trends, being active in your field and taking regular follow up with your clients as they will help in recommending you to others, connectivity is important. Give time to the clients if they need more time to adapt to the new diet, be a good listener so when they have a concern you can resolve it. Counselling sessions should be fruitful and it should not be one-sided in which either of you is only listening or talking. I take time to explain to the client about their diet plan which is important.

11) What are you most proud of regarding the company?

My company has been active and functioning since day one. I keep adding new clients every month. I can proudly say that I am handling my company smoothly and effectively.

12) What are the tools/ platforms you use to promote your business?

Initially, I promoted through virtual ads, pamphlets, brochures. Word of mouth by my clients has helped a lot too. Currently, I promote through digital marketing. My husband helps me in digital marketing. He helped me build my website and blog. Digital marketing has helped me see tremendous growth in my business.

13) What do you want to achieve next?

In the future, I was to have a bigger set-up with more staff. I want to hire dieticians and doctors, provide internships for freshers, etc. Online counselling to reach a wider audience and also keep my website and blog updated and active. I want to be one of the topmost dieticians with my own setup.

14) What advice would you like to give to women entrepreneurs?

Each person has a unique skill. So, I would like to motivate them by saying that take things positively and give their 100%. Be more active. Take your time and keep yourself updated with recent knowledge. Entrepreneurs need to be socially active and put more effort into connecting with people. Always being on your toes is a need for your company. Welcome new ideas and opinions. Follow entrepreneurs who have been successful to keep yourself motivated. There will be obstacles but take them as a challenge.

15) Where can one reach you?

Instagram – priyamaisa1910

Website – https://complete-nutrition-by-priya-maisa.business.site/

Women Entrepreneurs: Pharmacist : Deena D’souza

Pharmacy Owner: Holy Cross Medical Store (Santacruz E)
Qualification: B Pharm, Post-Graduation in Clinical Research, MBA
Work Experience: 15 years
Insta handle: @lianjenelledsouza

1) Describe yourself in three words.
Helpful, health-conscious and update with the latest information and researches.

2) Why did you choose a career in pharmacy?
I was always interested in healthcare and pharmacy.

3) What made you choose to start a company in this industry?
I have worked with TATA Cancer Hospital, Cipla and many other health-related organizations. When I was working with them, I didn’t get a chance to work closely with people, wherein with my own pharmacy I got the opportunity to work and understand people and serve them.

4) How did you come up with the name for your company?
We are located in Santacruz and I named my pharmacy Holy Cross because Santacruz means Holy Cross in Hebrew.

5) What are the three most important values you follow at work?
Integrity, teamwork and also helping my vendors grow.

6) Which habits helped you become successful?
My sincerity and commitment to work and constantly updating myself and working living with an attitude of ‘do it now’.

7) Which qualities do you look for in new employees?
I appoint people who are committed to working, have excellent people skills and are sincere.

8) How do you handle the failures?
I learn from my failures. I prefer to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.

9) Do you believe in destiny or do you think you can control your fate?
There are challenges and I feel we can overcome those challenges. There will be situations that can go wrong but we must learn to not dwell on them and overcome those challenges with hard work, smart work and fate.

10) How did you manage your business during the pandemic?
Pandemic was an extremely challenging time for all of us. Hospitals, healthcare workers, pharmacies, etc. We had a really hard time during the pandemic, medicines were not getting delivered and people were desperate to get the medicines on time. Lives were at stake. Since the medicines were not delivered quickly, we had to go to each and every distributor. While making the rounds to visit every distributor, I had to manage my pharmacy too. Thankfully, I had a very supportive and understanding staff so I was able to manage everything well.

11) What’s your favourite quote for describing entrepreneurship?
Jobs are created by business owners and entrepreneurs. We need to create more jobs to stimulate the growth and development of our country.