“Paddle like hell under the water and be smooth and calm on top where everyone can see you,” Anisha Singh, Founder, MyDala

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We have observed a surge in the number of women entrepreneurs emerging out on the Indian startup scenario. One such woman entrepreneur who has achieved significant success in the ecommerce domain is Anisha Singh, Founder, MyDala. YourStory.in caught up with her and got some bytes via her perspective on the current market situation, how it is poised, and the her views on being a woman entrepreneur.

YS: What is your take on the current ecommerce market scenario?

AS: There has definitely been a shift in consumer attitudes since we started the company. More and more people are coming online via mobile and their PCs. Consumers are more open to transacting online. I think the consumer has become so sophisticated so fast that we need a careful match to give users what they are looking for. Mobile is becoming more than just a word for the handset – consumers check on things are they move and want to access and get deals, offers, learn about promotions while they are on the go . It’s the “NOW” culture at its best.

When we started no one knew group buying or deal sites as we were the first ones. We now showcase over a 100,000 deals on any given day and get a lot of traffic in the tier 2 towns, especially through mobile internet. In hindsight, it is not surprising given the low penetration into Tier 2 towns, and the pent up demand driven by the growing consumer base.

YS: How has MyDala made a space for itself in this crowded marketplace?

AS: We started as a group buying site providing small business an alternative form to marketing themselves via traditional marketing media. Flexibility to change and understanding your key client’s needs and devising solutions to meet them is the key to building a successful business and value proposition.

Over time, we have evolved into a complete merchant marketing platform for small businesses as well as national brands: our MyBuzz platform allows merchants various options to promote themselves from mobile to TV to internet. It allows small and medium/mainly local merchants to ‘e-enable’ and mobile enable their products/service, build a brand, get visibility and gain access to a much larger and targeted consumer base.

We started MyDala not merely because it was the trend. We researched and tried to find out the pain areas of the local merchants. We looked at them and the places where they can really advertise for their products. The options were few, and none of them was useful in gauging ROI and customer acquisition. Worse, the merchants had to spend money upfront. With MyDala, the merchant has to pay nothing upfront to us and we are helping him with acquired customers. We have also added a merchant panel at the backend which lets the merchant track and see what his ROI looks like on MyDala.

YS: As a woman entrepreneur what is your perspective on managing a business? Is it a benefit or a hurdle?

AS: I think anything is a benefit or a hurdle depending on the way you look at it. I’ve never looked at myself as a woman entrepreneur- just as an entrepreneur with the same challenges all entrepreneurs have. Yes I grumble about being able to juggle time better and I probably feel a little guilt about the family /work balance than my male counterparts but there are so many other aspects of work that I feel more fortunate being a woman. It helps to have the supportive family and work network and am grateful for it.

YS: What advice would you like to give to women who are thinking of launching a start-up?

AS: Women tend to be the best multi-taskers but we also are great at over thinking – what if this, what if that. So, my advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs would be: If you keep ‘what if-ing” there will always be a reason to not do it…just go ahead and do it. If you feel passionately about starting a business – Do It!! Just be sure to reach out to people who can be mentors and can guide you along the way. We’re known to take all sorts of pressure so just take the jump and things will fall into place. Entrepreneurship in general is not rosy initially with the long hours and a lot of non-clarity but the ride and the view along the way is brilliant and the fruits along the way are worth it.

YS: Which segment do you think is the most 'comfortable' for women to enter into?

AS: I think all aspiring entrepreneurs should start what they feel they know best – not comfortable because sometimes comfort makes us placid but what they understand best. This advice is for all – god I hope we’re past that that women should enter this field because it is comfortable. Comfortable doesn’t mean that you will be good at it, chances are you will probably suck at it because there will already be many other ‘comfortable’ women and also because you won’t try your hardest best. Comfort does not equal success as a matter of fact if that’s the basis of starting your career path or business then you can be rest assured you are on weak ground already.

YS: Anything else that you'd like to mention from your experience?

AS: Am quoting another entrepreneurs writing here but this is true for every entrepreneur out there so makes more sense to use this -

Being an entrepreneur you learn the most about yourself more than any other vocation. You learn what you do when you get punched in the face many times. You learn what you do when no one is looking and when no one would find out. You learn that you are bad at many things, lucky if you're good at a handful of things and the only thing you can ever be great at is being yourself which is why you can never compromise it. You learn how power and recognition can be addicting and see how it could corrupt so many.

You start to respect the Duck. Paddle like hell under the water and be smooth and calm on top where everyone can see you. You learn the hard way that if you lose your cool you lose.

MyDala is now on YourStory Pages! If you are an entrepreneur, do get your startup listed on Pages soon!

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