We are tough, we are ambitious – we are women.
It was exciting to host the third edition of SheTalks and extremely honoured to have some of the most inspirational women as speakers for the event. The agenda was to Discuss, Learn and above all get Inspired. Event kickstarted with a panel discussion with Jincy Samuel – COO and centre head at Coinsecure, Pallavi Gupta – Co-founder and COO at Mast Kalandar, the session was moderated by Bhavna Toor- Founder Shenomics.
The discussion started with the panel sharing their thoughts on zeroing on a niche, according to Pallavi Gupta “One should not go after the latest buzz, my sincere advice is regardless of what is being talked about in media figure out what is the need that you wish to solve. Because the fashion will fade away” Pallavi found an absolute dearth of North Indian eateries when she arrived in Bangalore which is why she started Mast Kalandar along with her husband. There are a number of hats that a woman has to juggle in her life, Jincy Samuel says that it is important to overcome the fear of what-ifs and take the plunge and keep learning from your mistakes.
In any business, the art of marketing plays a major role in attracting the customers a number of ideas were discussed on what are some of the best ways to market your product to beat the competition. According to Jincy Samuel detailed research and homework is the best way to figure out what your competitors are doing and what your customers are looking for. Pallavi Gupta says “You need to create a buzz. In today’s market customer’s mind is cluttered with a number of products and it is very easy to miss out on your product till a certain hype is created. For us, a sampling of food was the best way to have them talk about our brand.”
Speaking of growth and building business Pallavi Gupta says”It is important to have a goal. The goal should not be to raise the next round of funding or to become a unicorn. The goal should be to build a firm business.” “One can very well be called successful without raising that big round of funding. The key is to be happy in what you are doing, for it is pointless to spend time and energy in doing something that does not give you joy” adds Jincy Samuel. Even though entrepreneurs do not keep next round of funding as the goal, raising a fund remains and important task. And evidence shows that only a small fraction of women run startups have been able to secure funding, Bhavana Toor pointed out. “We raised USD 1.5 Million recently and it had been a tough time, but once you secure that fun the pressure only increases. Which is why I suggest going for external funding only when you feel you can handle the humongous pressure , it is completely okay to go slow” added Jincy Samuel as Pallavi Gupta puts it “Raising fund is a catch 22 situation”. The panel also discussed the usual challenges faced by a women entrepreneur and ways one can overcome them.
After the very informative session, we broke for a quick networking session. Next in line to deliver a talk was Sairee Chahal the founder of Sheroes. We were glad to have Sairee all the way from New Delhi skype with us and tell us about how Sheroes came into being and the importance of finding the right co-founder.