An entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity. Such has been the story of Meenakshi T. Vij, who crossed over to the other side of her career threshold as a freelancer, to truly feel the business ecosystem. Once empowered with experience and expertise, she took the leap of faith towards entrepreneurship to fulfil the growing industry demands. SheAtWork today, decodes the journey of Meenakshi Vij, who is the perfect blend of capability, confidence, compassion and sheer charm.
Quote – “Women are a role model, both, at the personal and professional
front. So, learn from your failures and applaud yourself for your
Ques. Why did you decide to take up entrepreneurship?
Ans. There was an urge to do something, a fire in the belly to roll out something that could serve the purpose of satisfaction and renumeration as well. I was eager to start a project, and discussed the same with my acquaintances/friends, many a times. Sadly though, I never got an encouraging response. For me, trying to establish myself as a freelancer, seemed lucrative. Therefore, I tried my hands at teaching in an Engineering institute for almost eight years, and also supported my father in valuation of plant and machinery. However, the urge to actually feel the business ecosystem never left me. The turning point was when I was guided into
Management System auditing, which helped me to understand the nuances of businesses. This profession gave me an insight into challenges associated with the business and finding a solution for the same. It was then that I decided to start what could be an amalgamation of experience, expertise and demand. Therefore, along with my husband, I started launched ‘Aspiring Enterprises’. The domains of our company were tourism, management system consultancy and training in the same domain.
Ques. What challenges did you face along the way?
Ans. Challenges were perceived before I actually embarked on the journey as an entrepreneur, but some unforeseen roadblocks came once the execution started. As we know, tourism is the second largest industry in the world and we see lot of mushrooming in the market. This poses a tough competition on pricing which has to be matched with the markets. Further the shift in demand for domestic market where clients may or may not have preferences/awareness about the quality being served to them, is yet another factor which makes it impossible to match the
prices. Deciding on strategies to meet the same is a challenge. However, our clarity on
‘no compromise on quality’ helped us to distinguish and find a place in the market.
Another challenge was that in consultancy, the businesses are little apprehensive
on strategic and core technology skills of the soft gender. To prove your mettle in
such eco system is challenging. However, patience, perseverance and
professionalism helped us in finding our space in such environments.
Today the services that we provide are market driven and are measured qualitatively. So, had to be very clear about the quality of services and the value disposition to our clients. The word of mouth is equally important as marketing strategies. However, a clear vision always helps to prepare a roadmap. Whatever product or services that we choose to market, is aimed at providing benefit to the society. Rest, the operational level challenges are always there and are taken up wisely as and when they come.
Ques. What has been your most crucial business decision? How has it helped you to evolve as an entrepreneur?
Ans. Corona has brought about a paradigm shift in the operational aspects. When tourism was at its low, we looked for other options but never thought of parting from travel business. We strongly believed that it will pick up in the coming years. Also, ‘no compromise on quality of service’, was a judicious decision. In fact, we lost some business because of this, as the domestic market is price sensitive and less mature. Further, our objective of eco-tourism was another factor which was not completely understood by the clients. So, holding on such decisions was both, crucial and challenging.
However, I believe, every challenge provides you with an opportunity to introspect, reflect and respond to the market and that’s when I also saw the evolution of holding on to our vision in spite of market strain.
Ques. Where do you see yourself/your brand in the future?
Ans. We have a spectrum of client base, ranging from mid segment to high end, including corporates, groups and also solo travellers. With huge variation in the type of services that our industry demands we are trying to organically grow and have a footprint in the industry. Further, for other sector our focus is on working towards providing solutions to our clients in implementation of management system and getting the certifications. Our baby steps in the
direction of waste management is yet another step forward.
Ques. What is that one piece of advice you would like to give other women, aspiring to become entrepreneurs?
Ans: I think the new generation is smart and clear about what they aspire for. My advice to them is to keep learning. Upskill yourself as per your requirement and execute the same. It is never too late to pursue your dream and have a new beginning at any age. Also, you are a role model both, at the personal and professional front. Learn from your failures and applaud yourself for your achievements. Have a strategy defined before jumping into action taking all
the risks into account. The rest will fall in place.