Journey of Entrepreneurship is a Thrilling Adventure
Aakanksha Bhargava was born in Kolkata, but her family moved to Delhi in 1992. “Growing up in Delhi has been a rewarding experience. This is where I embraced independent thinking, made friends, got acquainted with the mighty, met my mentors, married my childhood friend, Sumit Bawa, and learned to live, love, weave my dreams and work towards them. The city is the reason for the passion I have in everything I do,” she says, summing up her love affair with Delhi in two words: vibrant and momentous. Even as a child she was always fascinated with the relocation industry, something she had seen her father do since childhood, and then she decided to make a career out of it. She joined her father’s company, PM Relocations, not as the boss’ daughter, but as a regular employee. Two months into the job, Aakanksha decided to take up the challenge of expanding the business in Bengaluru.She spoke to EN on her journey as an entreprenure.
How did you get idea for the business?
I grew up in the world of movers as this company is the brain child of my father. Its his love, hard work, commitment and passion that led me to join, strengthen and expand the company to what it is today.
I knew it always that I belonged here and had to make a difference and change the way people associate or acknowledge our Industry . To enhance the journey , we have now launched our B2C platform for one and all who wish to relocate – www.packmoverelocate.com . We wish to welcome and look after people when they move to new homes
What was your mission at the outset?
People still associate moving with non -professionals walking in their house with unhygienic & tacky look with no sense of responsibility. They feel scared and troubled with anxiety with respect to the moving experience and we want to change that. We want to ensure someday people start looking at a relocation company/mover as a friend, and a help who can make the moving experience absolutely amazing and enjoyable with not just moving a home, but finding one , settling you down , finding a school for your kid , and getting one culturally acquainted to the city /country . We don’t just move belongings but lives and sentiments! We provide a complete package for the corporate to make sure smooth transfer and movement of their employees by providing not just door to door services but also housing and helping them settle in the new city.
How many employees work in the enterprises?
500 + Employees are working with us consisting of both blue collar and white collar segment.
What services do you provide?
P.M. Relocations - is a Small-Medium Enterprise, a one stop solution for mobility needs, with respect to anybody relocating within India or overseas. Incepted in 1986, we were born ahead of time in India when packing and moving just meant hiring a truck and some third party labourers to move household items. Our first office was setup in 1986 in Kolkata by partners Mr. Rajeev Bhargava and Mr. Rajeev Sharma. In our journey of over 30 years, we have catalysed some of the major changes in the Indian relocation industry. We have pioneered the in-house blue collar staff model and become the first relocation company in India to offer complete relocation assistance under one roof.
How do you advertise your business?
Our advertising is done via word of mouth. However we have recently started with online advertising last month.
To what do you attribute your success?
I attribute my success to my parents and their faith on me. Especially my father Mr. Rajeev Bhargava, always gave me an independent upbringing where I was encouraged to take my own decision always. The best piece of career advice is the one where I start my new year with a note from my father every year. For all these years one thing that has always remain constant has been to remain honest to what you do every day. Be it your personal life or professional life. The intent is very important for anything one does. Also, there is no such thing as limitations. The only limitations are the one‘s that the mind acknowledges. It is important to have a perfect thought and right reason to do anything in life. The reason and purpose should be very clear and should be the right one
What made you choose your current location?
I was born in Kolkata, West Bengal thereafter we moved to Delhi in the year 1992 and ever since then I grew up here in this vibrant and momentous city. Growing up in a metro city such as Delhi has been a rewarding experience. This is the city where I embraced independent thinking, made friends, knew the mighty, met my mentors and learned to live , love , weave my dreams and work towards them . The city is the reason for the passion that I have for everything I do . The competitiveness and the exposure gives you an immense gratification for the 24 hours that we have and to make the most of them.
8. What is the unique about 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 shiftings and delicate fine-art work moving. We aim to provide a one-stop solution to our customers. If someone needs to just pack , move few items , move entire house , car , bike , storage …everything can be done through the website.
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 customize 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 palace and do not outsource enhancing us to even look after moves from remote areas.
9. What are the responsibilities as the boss of a firm?
After spearheading the company for the last 9 years, my career path has changed in many ways. The responsibility has only grown over the years , where now I feel responsible towards both my customers and employees. I honestly don’t feel like I have a job in the traditional sense of the word and I don’t feel any difference in work and leisure …as moving families is my biggest leisure and source of happiness. For me, jobs are things you do because you need money or some way to keep busy. You clock in and out, and maybe if you’re lucky you learn a thing or two along the way. I do not have that kind of job. As the CEO of PMR, I get to do what I love each and every day. Never once have I dreaded going into the office or working with my team. Hence, a typical day at work would include meeting with my team to understand, suggest and mentor them. We have an open door policy at office hence whenever any of employee get stuck we are there to help him out.
Apart from this I am constant on the learning curve, reading and understanding about different industries, latest updates, initiatives etc. I am a strong believer of friendship. I often say that "No Success Is Possible Without Sacrifices And Beliefs, Sometimes Not Yours But People Around You”. Hence, I always take out time to honour my friends and close ones for their support and love.
What made you choose this type of business?
I was always fascinated with the relocation industry, which turned into a career option for me. Right from the starting I saw my father help people move their household goods. Hence, after completing my schooling I applied for various colleges under Delhi University. Soon The Hindu College embraced me into their family and gave me the opportunity to complete my B.Com (H) with them. 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 a second generation entrepreneur yet I 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 handling corporate sales, marketing, operations and other verticals for the company. This gave me the much needed exposure to different departments and helped me learn about my business. This indeed helped me strengthen my core processes and operations and define the strategy, vision and mission for the company.
Thereafter, I went to different Tier-1 cities to setup branch offices there and in no time I had opened 8 offices. My current role involved overseeing all operations at the company with focus being on career development and growth of each of my employees. I feel this is the main reason why we all are passionate about "Moving Families".
11. Does your company help the community where it is located?
Our vision is to be able to touch lives in whichever way we can – be it as a friend, daughter/son, leader or a service provider.
We are running a scholarship program, 'Shiv Prem Scholarships' for our Blue collared staff's children. We believe in empowering a girl child through education. This program is specifically for our blue collared staff, who are always looking for ways to educate their child especially their daughters. We at PMR are supporting them for this. Under the program we provide scholarships to girls who score high in academics every year.
Also in future we aim to partner with various food banks within India to end hunger. We aim to set up a separate unit wherein our customers can donate food items and usable leftovers while they are relocating to a different country. Whether it is packed food such as lentils, rice, sugar and wheat etc or immediate consumable food item such as fruits, vegetables etc.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
1. It is important to have goals, desires and ambitions, however challenging they seem to be. One has to enjoy the ride to these. Sometimes on that learning curve we explore ourselves and what we can achieve. It is important to dream and keep yourself always engaged into something that you enjoy and feel passionate about.
2. There is no formula and no set route to success. One just has to listen to their heart as sometimes the right ways and answers are found there.
What are the two challenges you have faced in your business?
Dealing with employees, partners and clients had been difficult initially. It was difficult to work in the industry but through 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.
Major learning for me while facing the challenges is that when you really ride on something your courage will eventually kick your fear. Hence, take the plunge… and you will see the miracles of life.
Also the most difficult thing is to manage people especially when one is in a service industry. Here we deal with a niche service which is 'emotions' Hence we need to be very careful while working with people. Be it our clients or our employees. Another key take away is that No Success Is Possible Without Sacrifices And Beliefs, Sometimes Not Your But People Around You.
I would also like to share the five commandments I believe in:
1. Passion - The Only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet keep looking. Don’t settle.
2. Intent - It is just about the strength of your mind and having faith in the intent of your heart ad I can bet when you really do decide for something your courage will kick-ass your fear!! Take the plunge and you will see the miracles of life.
3. Love- Love has power like nothing… It can make you do things beyond belief and unconditionally.
4. Changing Lives - When you walk into my office and when you leave for the day… between this should be the learning and fun you have never experienced.
5. Enhanced Experiences - My wealth should be my experiences.
What do you feel about the sustainability of start ups in India?
Currently start-ups are struggling with the sustainability crisis. Until the middle of 2015, the ability to raise investments at unprecedented high valuations and spending heavily on acquiring customers were the strongest forces shaping many start-ups business strategy. Both start-ups & investors focused on growth over fundamentals which lead to undefined way to profitability. Since the start of this year investors are slowly limiting their investments to business with sustainable growth model and substance rather than just customer acquisition.
It is very important to build quality before volume. I believe if this is the mantra, any young entrepreneur or start up follow, they would end up creating a terrific brand and yes between the mind and the heart …the battle is usually won by the heart , hence build something which is from the heart !
Features: EN Team