In an interaction with Franchise India, Aakanksha Bhargava, CEO, P.M. Relocations Pvt. Ltd speaks about her entrepreneurial journey.
Please share about your entrepreneurial journey.
I was always fascinated with the relocation industry, which turned into a career option for me. From beginning I saw my father help people to move their household goods. Hence, after completing my schooling, 'The Hindu' College embraced me into their family and gave me the opportunity to complete my B.Com (H). Soon, I saw myself graduating and joining SP Jain School of Management, Singapore and Dubai to complete my management studies, ready to face the challenging world of service industry.
I am the second generation entrepreneur and wanted to explore and learn the art of moving, hence I began my professional journey as a Manager in International Sales at PMR. Initially, I was setting up and driving International sales, thereafter I further expanded to handle corporate sales, marketing, operations and other verticals of the company. This gave me the exposure to different departments and helped me learn about my business. This indeed helped me to strengthen my core processes and operations and define the strategy, vision and mission for the company. Soon, I had set up eight offices in Tier-1 cities.
What are the challenges you faced and how did you overcome those issues?
Dealing with employees, partners and clients had been difficult initially. But with strong motivation, hard work and conviction it was easy to ride against the tides and survive, while setting up offices in new cities. Also, I strongly believed that surviving in this industry is just about the strength of your mind and having faith in the intent of your heart. Also, the most difficult thing is to manage people, especially when one is in a service industry.
I believe in five commandments:
Please share the USP of your business?
Our differentiation is that we are not just a mover, but a complete solution provider for anybody who wants to relocate to any part of the world, handling all requirements. We do not subcontract or outsource our work. Our service portfolio includes complete household goods relocation and setting in services like home search, city - orientation, cultural training, school search and tailor made modules to assist our clients while they settle in a new home. Apart from this, we also look after corporate shifting and delicate fine-art work moving. We aim to provide a one-stop solution to our customers.
We stand out as a part of a large strategic initiative where we are always focused on customer service and operations. Our uniqueness lies in our ability to customise our services for individuals. We are certified by ISO & FIDI on International level and follow HSSE policy for all our moves. We have very strong network in all major cities where major movement takes place and do not outsource, enhancing us to even look after moves from remote areas.
Please tell us about your business model? What do you offer to a potential female who wishes to follow your footsteps?
We have a service industry revenue model which caters to potential female who wish to enter a male dominated industry like ours. I can say that, “Time can change a lot of things, situations, circumstances… but it can never take away your will, courage and determination to chase your dreams. It can make or break you, but cannot stop you!!!" Being at a crucial top-management level, I strongly believe in supporting our employees in overall career growth and development. Not only do we focus on targeted work performances, but we also encourage them to effectively follow a disciplined work-life balance.
As being a leading female franchisor, what are the challenges that you face working with male franchisees?
It has been a tough journey, since in India it is considered a man’s job to deal with suppliers, labour, packers and even premium clients. Together with experience, exposure, customer support and positive feedback, we made the company grow from 40 employees to 500 plus employee in a span of nine years.
Getting work done by male subordinates was difficult initially as people didn't take me seriously. But, when I constantly interacted with them, they knew I meant serious business. I learnt a lot about the industry and the market. Hence, with high level of commitment, patience and conviction I was able to spear head the company to success.