Adapt, innovate and survive – An entrepreneur’s three basic skills

Life is all about exploring new concepts, collecting new experiences and realising what you want from it while making the most of what you have. For Sona, it is also about how she found her true calling, of becoming an entrepreneur. What made her choose to do so and how did she embark on the journey of starting up, read on to know more.

The entrepreneurial mindset is much more than just starting up. People with such mindsets show some striking qualities early on ー problem-solving, risk-taking and self-drive. Maybe that’s why they can never settle even for well-paying jobs until they find a challenge that excites them and makes them take on the journey that they were meant to. Sara had to make that choice of either taking up a job that was going to keep her busy at work or take a risk and start-up.

On life during her college days:

“My college days were very memorable, interesting and happy. I was great at academics and had a warm rapport with all my mentors. I won several awards and certificates frequently. I kept busy all the time and the different marketing process and aligning consumer needs with organization offerings kept me fascinated. By the end of 2 years, I was the Marketing area topper and that made me feel really happy. Likewise, during the placement season, I cracked the first interview that I appeared for and bagged a job in Airtel. Ideally, I should have been over the moon, but there was a small corner in my heart which said that I am made for something more, maybe I will have to be bold and explore what that is.”

 That’s when she started searching fervently about what opportunities would challenge her.

The Exploration

“I had the job opportunity from one of the best market players, despite having such a great brand in hand, I was not happy from the core.  I wanted to find my calling. So, I enrolled myself in different courses of marketing after my PGDM journey. I was very happy to learn different things about this huge ocean called Marketing. With time I had this strong feeling that I would like to see myself doing something that requires hardcore marketing along with effective research.” Over the course of time, however, she got married and shifted to a different city. She had several job offers in hand, a huge pool of talent to call her own and a very supportive family, still, she felt something extra was required to reach the peak of her potential, that’s when the inspiration hit her.

The Beginning

“It happened all of a sudden. It seemed that every situation and circumstances were actually directing me to see something that was right there in front of my eyes. Well, my husband has been there in the travel industry for almost 10 years and we both share a common passion to travel. I realized that with my marketing acumen and keen interest to build a niche, and  with his experience in the industry, the opportunity to start our own business was right within our reach. So we both decided to come up with our own travel agency especially catering to the pilgrimages and tours to the middle east.  The travel bugs in us were delighted and soon we started seeing the results.”  Today, when she looks back, Sona realises one thing that she always wanted to be her own boss. She liked the freedom that having her own office brought. 

The Journey Afterwards:

“Since my area of specialization was Marketing, that helped us market our agency well in every way possible. Plus, it saved us a lot of money as well. Eventually, I built a team of 6-7 people under me to lessen the workload for us. I am a certified digital marketer as well and through the different avenues of online marketing, I took my travel agency from South to North. In the last three years, we’ve been very fortunate to take over 5,000 travellers to their destination. My skills helped me fetch a lot of good clients from all over India. Our turnover was going pretty well until Corona happened”

Response To The Crisis

“Again, the courses and lessons (on different marketing styles) that I took up post my FIIB days came really handy this time. While the travel industry has taken a major hit during the lockdown, we took a step back and reevaluated the opportunities at hand. Sure it has been hard, but we have spent these days fine-tuning skills, our planning, and maintaining the connection with the customers. I also utilised this time to take up online courses and also looked at some other alternative businesses that we could expand to. While the travel and tourism industry will pick up again eventually with the newly established safety measures and protocols, we are working on building a brand and sharpening our USPs. We are also working on leveraging travel portals once the business resumes. 

We also wanted to diversify. As the current scenario has rendered us frustrated and helpless, physical and mental well being of individuals has been deeply impacted. This called for a whole new “Life coaching” opportunity to work with individuals to help them achieve their goals in life. We’ve been sharpening our own skills and working towards launching this whole new idea for the business. See, there were only two ways that we could respond in these times of crisis – evaluate options and take a break (which was not really an option that we’d like!) or innovate, adapt, and survive. I chose the latter. In fact, any entrepreneur goes through this cycle in the nascent stages of their startup, crisis will happen, the market will always be disrupted, what we can do is to be ready and face the challenges head-on with a healthy positive attitude”

So this is the story of Sona, who believes in making the most out of a given opportunity. She believes that no matter where a person is and how much the person has studied, if there is a will there will always be a way. FIIB wishes her good luck. In case you too have a story to share with us, reach out to alumni@fiib.edu.in