Women Entrepreneurs Jul, 20 2016

Opportunity for mompreneurs

In an interaction with Franchise India, Arpita Mittal, CEO, Helen O Grady International India, talks about her experience in launching a new educational concept in India, which was widely accepted in the developed world.

By Joyshree Saha
Opportunity for mompreneurs

Tell us about the barriers you have faced and how did you move forward?

The first challenge, of course, was to keep the home fires burning, so plunge into the business was done gradually without giving up my established work totally. A new business model means you have no precedence to fall back on. Every business plan you create is based on pure assumptions. There are no consultants.

  • Shortage of Finance: Raising capital investment to begin the venture and then generating on-going working capital are both big challenges. It takes grit and passion to communicate to investors that the idea will make money. Small, but firm steps and putting the earnings back into the business for expansion and growth yielded long term benefits for me.
  • Marketing Problems: The nature of the business mandated that one on one meeting with educators, Principals, schools owners and managements were needed to convince them for our products. So, no major promotional marketing campaigns were required. But the outreach itself was a herculean task. Perseverance and consistency paid rich dividends.
  • Lack of entrepreneurial training: A combination of a background in marketing, risk management, company laws, accounting, Public relations and HR is all needed at one stage or the other in managing and running your company. One is learning all of this on the job, mostly the hard way. For an entrepreneur, hiring these resources is not possible due to paucity of funds. Hence, may be a course which familiarises one with the basics of all of the above will work wonders.

Despite being a mother, how do you comply with the challenges faced in the entrepreneurial journey along with the zest to be a good mother?

This business gave me the valuable possibilities of being there for my children when they needed me.The challenges of an entrepreneural journey have been worth it when I see the sense of pride in my children’s demeanor for what I have achieved. The journey was a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. But, in the final analysis, I would not change one bit of anything and nor would my children wish it to be any different.

Please elaborate about your franchising model? What do you offer to a potential mother who wishes to follow your footsteps and become your franchisee?

Our franchise model is simple to execute. One can opt for an area to become an ‘area franchisee.’ This area can be a part of your city or the city itself. We provide the buisness know how; the administrative and accounting processes; the curriculum; the training; we hold hand and take them through marketing and orientation processes. The franchisee can establish business in stand alone centers and schools through out this area. There is a franchise fee also, which is a one-time fee and royalty which is to be paid on an on-going basis.

Please explain us traits of trade that you use to expand your business and how do you deploy franchising in it?

I was lucky to get some really great academicians and wonderful human beings who joined hands with me and became my franchisees to expand and take my business model to all parts of the country. I must have succeeded in communicating all that was good about the programme; all that we were hoping to achieve from the curriculum for our children in India and how it could be a good business model for each one of them. The systems have to be followed meticulously for a franchise model to be successful. All my franchisees understood that and we form an incredible team. The whole network today operates like a big family, learning and sharing from one another.

Please share a message for all of the aspiring mothers who wish to become an entrepreneur?

First believe in yourself, then believe in the idea and ensure you make your family believe in it and then get going. You have to have faith and persevere that there are no short cuts. A sapling to grow into a good sturdy tree will take time, so just don’t lose hope. Collaboration is the secret to all success-create team-share knowledge and then learn. It is infectious and brings good luck.

Related: Women Franchisors Stand Tall

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