A Pulse post on Linkedin by Reena Gupta
15 years to the spirit of woman entrepreneurship
This date is a special one for me. Not only does it denote 15 years since Avankia was formed, it marks the day when my entrepreneurial spirit became real and came to life.
While I celebrate this 15th anniversary, I am remembering everyone who was part of this journey- current team, former employees, partners, customers, family, advisors, friends. My belief that “No one wins on his or her own” is reinforced when I think of the contribution you all have made to my life.
I was someone who was as next door as one can get. My life story is neither of a genius nor of a rebel. I was and I still am someone who is discovering things as they come. However, what was different about me was the spirit “To do more than just usual”. Whatever I do in life, I try to rise above normalcy. On this day, I am reminiscing what I did differently that sets my journey apart:
# Where you are born doesn’t define where you will be
I was born in Danapur city in Patna district of Bihar, India. Most people, even in India would not have heard of this place. Back then, when I was studying, most of the families did not support girl’s education beyond a certain point. But I never gave up and played around the limitations I had.
# There is always another way out
I wanted to do engineering and I tried really hard for 2 years. But, aspirations and reality are two different things and I could not get into engineering. So, I decided to take an alternate path to my aspiration- a bachelors in science, followed by a master in computer application.
# Inspiration and support can take you places
My father has been the most inspirational person in my life. I have inherited most of my traits from him. He is a great example of how someone can rise against all odds. Every time I am faced with a failure, his memories always push me to come out of it. I am blessed to have a supporting husband, who always encouraged me to pursue what I always wanted to. I can’t thank enough my in-laws, my mother and my children for where I am right now.
# Losing a job is not the end of the world
During my initial days in US, I was working for a startup that was run by the ex-mayor of Tennessee. It was later bought over by McGraw-Hill and I lost my job in the process. But that was the best thing that ever happened to me. McGraw-Hill called me back within a month, but I was pregnant. At a time when most women take a career break, I established Avankia as a sole proprietor and joined McGraw-Hill as a part-time consultant.
# What matters is how fast you act when an opportunity comes
In the first few years, Avankia grew tenfold and we added many more clients. While I was running Avankia, one of my clients said, “We just purchased Salesforce.com and we don’t know what to do with it.” I instantly fell in love with the platform and specialized my company to be the first SF partner in Tennessee. When the Force.com platform was launched, I thought of building an integrated platform for CRM and ATS. After that, there was no looking back, and I started TargetRecruit in 2008, an end-to-end talent management platform.
# All is good when customers are happy
I believe, “Happy customers are loud and unhappy ones are louder.” My team and I exclusively focus on getting good reviews from our customers and ensure that we have enduring relationships with them. That’s the reason our business grew and continues to grow.
# You have to let go
Biggest lesson of my life is “To let go at the right time”. I have learned it the hard way. It is very tricky to understand when to let go of people who are unproductive, products that are obsolete, strategies that are not working out etc. But if you keep clinging onto things and refrain from making decisions, it can be disastrous for your business.
I can go on and on since my trail of thoughts are going everywhere, but I would like to end at a note saying, “Success is beyond setting up a profitable business”. It is being able to give back to the community and adding value to the society.
Since the time I started my entrepreneurial journey, I could relate to difficulties women face while managing career and family. I always keep looking for stay-at-home moms who are looking to get back to the workforce. I have decided to pursue this in an organized manner through Mom Relaunch, a digital engagement platform to facilitate and support the reskilling of moms to give their career another chance.
I, with a group of moms at TargetRecruit have started this to harness this gold mine of talent sitting at home. Mom Relaunch will enable corporates to build a diversified workforce and increase employee retention.
Initial response that I have got for Mom Relaunch is overwhelming and my hopes are high. I seek blessings and support from each one of you.