Suvarna Bhat experimented with several things till she found her true calling. While she studied to be journalist and even worked as an editor with news agencies, she later started-up her own pre-school, Akshara. But not satisfied with it all, she dabbled in Ayurveda and now owns a center of Shathayu Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.
Excerpts from an interview with SheThePeople.TV
Tell us about your journey. What interested you to becoming an Entrepreneur?
Initially, I worked with a few news agencies as Editor as I am a Journalist by education, but I realised that the fixed time job like 9 to 6 is not my cup of tea. I wanted to be independent and hence started my own pre-school named, Akshara, in the locality where I stayed. I am also associated with an NGO named Abhaya which works for the empowerment of women. I am part of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) too. Now, I own a center of Shathayu Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. These ventures taught me many things and gave me the experience to move forward. The health sector has always fascinated me.
What's the concept of 'Shathayu Ayurveda Willness Centre' and what's your vision behind it?
Shathayu Ayurveda Wellness Center is a Center for the Ayurvedic method of holistic treatment to all diseases, mainly concentrating on lifestyle diseases. With the in-house medicines and excellent treatments that have been proven over 115 years, Shathayu is a leader in Ayurvedic treatments.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
In the field of business, all women entrepreneurs are an inspiration to me as their ability to maintain family as well as business is a feat worth mentioning. Learning from their experiences and mistakes helped me too.
What are your ambitions with 'Shathayu Ayurveda Willness Centre'?
The healthcare sector needs participation of women and Indian traditional methods are free from side-effects unlike excess chemical intake in some of the other methods. Affordable traditional healthcare for the masses need participation of women.
What market gap are you trying to address with Shathayu Ayurveda Wellness Centre?
Shathayu treats the root cause of the disease with natural methods. The approach should not be too complex that the patient is not willing to adopt it. The treatment must be holistic and have a modern touch along with the traditional blend as the root. This is being addressed in Shathayu methods. Hence, the Shathayu Franchise was brought to Hyderabad by me.
What makes you different from your competitors?
Shathayu believes in the holistic approach to the treatment in an Ayurvedic, Indian way. Maintaining high standards in quality, Shathayu practises research and evidence based Ayurveda. The knowledge acquired through tradition is rendered with modern touch by constant innovation and adopting the classical treatments to suit the present needs of the healthcare system. This is what makes Shathayu different from its competitors.
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How did you manage funding for the base operations initially?
Funding is not easy in the Indian context of business. The effort to get the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust For Micro and Small Enterprises loan did not yield timely help and hence to manage the funds initially, loans against securities was the option used. However, off late, the government has come up with many schemes for funding for Women Entrepreneurs like Mudra etc.
What were the initial days like -- what kind of challenges you've faced and are still facing as an entrepreneur?
Marketing is a big challenge and is a very expensive affair. Targeting the right people at the right time is intense work, as well as costly in nature. How much to proportion for the marketing to get enough customers and how much is too much are a few areas one has to work out and this is a challenge at any point of time in business. In Hyderabad, the biggest challenge is to get people to trust our brand. But with best service and proper satisfaction of customers as my mantra, I was able to overcome this problem within no time. Management techniques were already in place.
What skills do you think an entrepreneur must have to be successful?
The right blend of patience and perseverance are two very important qualities which are basic and are very much needed for anybody to succeed.
How do you think the digital boom in India is empowering women? How did it help your venture grow?
Digital boom is a blessing for any entrepreneur. It helps tremendously to reach the target audience effectively. It hugely helped my venture in the initial days. It helped uphold customer relationships and keep our customers happy.
You views on the rise of women entrepreneurs? How do you feel being amongst them?
Women by nature are managers. With the right logistic support, a woman entrepreneur can think beyond boundaries and be very successful. It is very pleasurable when your venture progresses. From taking small steps, it goes on to achieve big results. It gives immense satisfaction.
What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs?
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the numerous resources available and try reaching beyond. Hard work pays. Never be satisfied with targets, aim higher and try reaching them.
Also Read: Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face
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