Today, when I was standing and waiting for Laxmi (my employee) to come and meet me at the transport office with the boxes full of i2cook products that were supposed to be sent to other cities. I had a flashback moment! I looked back into all those years of “i2cook” and was wondering the challenges that I had to face. I looked back into last year or the year before and realized how I had gained experience over time. From a single woman show to working with a team, communicating in different languages and working towards one goal “i2cook”. Places and people evolved around me and I learnt over the course of time. I learnt to be patient. Owning a business and learning on the job can be quiet a task and restarting all over again can be exhaustive!
Its been a year since I moved back to Bangalore and set up the entire “i2cook” operations (with help from my partners). Frankly it was a task that I wasn’t prepared for. I mean, I had a house and an office in Mumbai and was in the phase of feeling comfortable. The transition of setting up a small factory, hiring employees, no stock to producing more stock and packing 800+ bottles all by myself and getting down to organizing all the paper work was difficult. Yes, I feel good and I do feel like a super woman! 🙂
Women entrepreneurs are growing and I feel proud to be part of this tribe. Some experiences that I want to share with my fellow entrepreneurs:
- Start small. When starting out, don’t exhaust all your savings in the starting phase of your life. Gain experience. In my case, I had no background experience in food and I took very small steps especially while funding the business.
- Learn to deal with your accounts. Hire a good accountant and always do your research on the subject.
- Don’t be scared of the Government officials. Be bold and go up to them and ask questions. Learn to tackle them and ALWAYS massage their ego. It works like charm! 😉
- Always choose your battles to fight. Don’t waste time on an ego trip.
- You are a woman and you cannot be emotional in business. Be fair, practical and never dig into the past. Misunderstanding or mess ups happen in any business but learn to deal with them in an non-emotional manner.
- Cry when you are stressed. Remember that crying is an outlet and doesn’t make you any weak.
- You may be a super woman. But even superwomen do need a team to help and support them all the time.
- Get your hands really dirty. Owning a business not only makes you gain experience in your subject but also makes you learn the other boring stuff like paper work, accounts etc. You can hire somebody to do all these jobs but at the end of the day it is your baby and you do not want it to go zany because of somebody’s ignorance. This way you will be in a better position to guide your subordinates.
- Make follow-ups your mantra. No matter how much experience you gain , India is a land of follow-ups.
Some Inspirational quotes: “I’m tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” – Madonna “Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as a survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking. Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading: buying and selling.” – Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop “A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” – Melinda Gates “Whatever you do, be different – that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.” – Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop