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From Passion To Profit, I Made Entrepreneurship A Scalable Dream

In those early days, being a woman in this business meant confronting societal norms and challenging expectations. Not to mention breaking into the otherwise conventionally male-dominated print-design industry.

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Siddhi Shah
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Siddhi Shah

If you had to pick between the journey and the destination, which would you choose? Is getting there really ALL that matters? Or can one enjoy the journey as well? Over the years at PrintStop, we have learnt to navigate this balance where we enjoy the journey while having a clear destination in mind. Before the plunge and before PrintStop, the battlefields were different – Mumbai University, saw me completing my Bachelor in Computer Engineering while ranking first in my batch. From there to a two-year stint in the dynamic world of Protiviti Consulting in California enabling me to hone my business management skills and gain invaluable experience for the years to come. Against that background, co-founding PrintStop in 2007 was an exciting challenge. 

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The battlefield now - an industry with limited digital infrastructure, lack of skilled designers and awareness, in a fragmented landscape. In those early days, being a woman in this business meant confronting societal norms and challenging expectations. Not to mention breaking into the otherwise conventionally male-dominated print industry. Our goal throughout was to make a resounding impact in the world of print and design. 

We started with a vision of being a retail chain of professional print stores in Mumbai in the year 2007, challenging the yellow and black unorganized copy and print shops. While attempting to expand our offline footprint, we were confronted with the challenges posed by the e-commerce boom and retail transformations. 

Cut to the scene, in a ‘Post-PrintStop world’, I found myself back in a classroom in 2019, representing my company in the prestigious Stanford Seed Program. Offered by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, this program was a decisive turning point, arming me with pragmatic knowledge to grow and scale our business sustainably. 

Some of the most important practices and work principles that have made this possible are:

  • As a family-owned business, it was important to have clearly defined roles in the core leadership team. This enabled us to set a strong example and make a positive impact on our company culture, fostering inclusivity and ownership that would permeate out into the workplace
  • Transparent internal and external communication and ethical practices at the core are the most important tenets at Printstop. This has helped us build high trust and long-term relationships with all stakeholders including customers and employees
  • Change and adaptability are the only constant companions of progress. Starting a business is not easy, forget sustaining it and growing it gracefully. The last 17 years have been peppered with early-day hiccups, retail transformation, innovation challenges and most recently the pandemic. With changing customer needs, the key was to recognize the challenges as hidden opportunities to level up and evolve
  • In a world where many entrepreneurs swear by 72 hours of work a week, I deliberately chose a 30-hour work week that empowered me to achieve more. This has been only possible because of our highly accountable and empowered middle management team
  • Entrepreneurship is about efficiency and the ability to wear multiple hats with grace. As a CEO, I believe in accomplishing more in less time, leaving room for personal interests and, more importantly, family. And that is MY choice

My husband and brother-in-law, both integral parts of our business, have been unwavering in their support for my role as CEO. Their vital contributions ensure our further success. My mother-in-law is a fountain of knowledge and the embodiment of a Guru. In conclusion, the success of a business is not limited to revenue and profits; it's about fostering a work culture that values efficiency, innovation, and a crucial work-life balance. For everyone in the company from top to bottom. Where everyone’s roles are respected.

And an important principle that bears repeating – There is bliss in balance and with that, finding your rhythm to the chaos.

Authored by Siddhi Shah, CEO PrintStop

women entrepreneurs Siddhi Shah
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