What comes to mind when you think of an adventure. Jumping off a cliff? Or diving into the deep sea, perhaps? Talk to an entrepreneur and he/she will introduce you to a completely new perspective. It’s a different kind of thrill, this business of setting your mind to do something everyone else thinks is difficult and proving them wrong. Success tastes sweeter when you have taken on all the challenges thrown your way single-handedly and the journey of this woman entrepreneur is nothing short of a thrilling adventure.
Aakanksha Bhargava was born in Kolkata, but her family moved to Delhi in 1992. “Growing up in Delhi has been a rewarding experience. This is where I embraced independent thinking, made friends, got acquainted with the mighty, met my mentors, married my childhood friend, Sumit Bawa, and learned to live, love, weave my dreams and work towards them. The city is the reason for the passion I have in everything I do,” she says, summing up her love affair with Delhi in two words: vibrant and momentous.
Aakanksha studied at Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar and completed her graduation in commerce from Hindu College. She went on to study MBA at SP Jain School of Management in Singapore and Dubai. After completing her MBA there were several cushy jobs for Aakanksha to choose from. But she had her sights set on bigger things. Memories beckoned and she decided to go back to where it all started, Delhi.
Even as a child she was always fascinated with the relocation industry, something she had seen her father do since childhood, and which she then decided to make a career out of. She joined her father’s company, PM Relocations, not as the boss’ daughter, but as a regular employee. Two months into the job, Aakanksha decided to take up the challenge of expanding the business in Bengaluru.
Taking on challenges and emerging victorious
Aakanksha started operating out of her apartment, with a team of three people. “It was a challenge to be taken seriously. Everybody perceived me to be this foreign-educated girl trying her hand at something new in a city she knew nothing about,” she recalls, of her stint in Bengaluru. But she was determined to prove all her critics wrong. Her focus was to bring efficiency, transparency and productivity along with a organised nature to PMR and the industry as a whole. Aakanksha’s efforts did bear fruit, as PMR has now expanded its base to 14 offices across India, in cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Indore and Bhubaneswar, in the past nine years. The bottom-line has grown manifold too; from a turnover of Rs 2 crore in 2010 to over Rs 40 crore in 2015, PMR’s revenue has seen a huge jump. Some of the company’s marquee clients include brands like American Embassy, Amazon, American school, HP, Britannia, SAP, Barclays, Coca Cola and Pepsi, to name a few.
But the journey has only begun for Aakanksha and PMR.
“PMR is currently self-funded and we are looking to raise our first round of funding from investors this year,” she says.
The brand now has separate domains to support its two different business models. PMR will look after enquiries generated from corporate business (B2B) segment and the brand Pack Move Relocate aims to cater to the online retail/individual enquiry (B2C) segment looking for relocation services globally.
“It is the first time a complete solution for end-to-end relocation is available on a systematic online platform using technology. Anybody who needs to pack and move something can do it through the website,” explains Aakanksha.
Making a mark in uncharted territories
Expanding a traditional business was an uphill climb but what was equally challenging for Aakanksha was excelling in a field women seldom venture into.
“The journey was tough since in India it is considered a man’s job to deal with suppliers, labour, packers and, in fact, for that matter premium clients as well,” she adds.
But, according to her, more women should consider the relocation industry as a career move.
“Women are meticulous and crazy about home décor and are more particular about how their homes looks. I feel I am at the right place, as I feel the same passion with respect to homes,” she adds.
Aakanksha, who is currently President and CEO of PM Relocations Pvt. Ltd., shares her five-point success mantra while taking on challenges: