How this woman entrepreneur left the corporate sector to help SMEs and NGOs scale their business
Arundhati Mukherjee, who has been in the marketing and communications business for the past 25 years, cites two examples to emphasise how business and marketing should be planned.
“Did you know that Usain Bolt, the sprint star, after a glittering career, retired at the age of 31 after losing the World Championships whereas Eliud Kipchoge, marathoner with multiple records, broke the two-hour barrier at 34 years of age and seems to be on the rise still. Business and marketing should be planned and operated like marathoners – to last a long time in the real world,” she says.
With this aim in mind, Arundhati founded Aaroh to bring the best in class practices for SMEs and NGOs and give them an edge to grow and succeed in the real world for the long term.
The 50-year-old entrepreneur grew up in the small town of Rourkela, Odisha. After completing her graduation from Government College, Rourkela, she went to the US to study at Andrews University and University of California, Berkeley.
Over the past 25 years, she has handled marketing roles in large marquee companies like TCS, Accenture, and CK Birla Group, working across various industries like IT, auto components, hospitals, consumer durables, education, and building materials. Her key areas of expertise are long-term brand building and sales enablement programmes.
A growth engine for SMEs
During her time with corporates, she realised that SMEs in India were an underserved segment and decided to work with them by starting Aaroh a few years ago.
Arundhati explains, “SMEs are the growth engine for the economy and are completely neglected by the marketing community. No marketing consulting or management consulting or marketing agency has an SME strategy and focus. Most of these organisations support large corporates or startups.”
Also, she believes SMEs have now become ambitious with global dreams like never before. “I believe I can be the catalyst, and with the help of marketing best practices, SMEs can scale into new growth trajectories and compete with the best. In several organisations, the second generation is taking over and wants to create significant impact of their own. They recognise the role of marketing as a catalyst for growth,” she adds.
Helping to grow and scale
Aaroh helps startups, SMEs, and NGOs in scaling up and reaching new growth trajectories. As a marketing consulting firm, Aaroh provides SMEs with access to marketing strategies, plans, and services, thereby functioning as a marketing partner and team. It also provides strategic support through CMO-on-Demand, campaign rollout via marketing on tap, global marketing support for global SMEs wanting to expand their footprint in India or Indian SMEs wanting to expand to other countries.
Aaroh has served multiple clients across various industries like Udyogi Safety, Faith Automation, Saintgits, Prakash Labels, ANA designs, Zamya, Black Tulip, among others.
“Aaroh enables clients to solve real issues to achieve measurable growth. It has worked on complete transformation of its clients’ sales interface to successfully reach an untapped audience. We help them with brand and marketing strategies, customer loyalty, channel strategy, new offering strategy, and sales enablement programmes,” Arundhati says.
A CMO for 100 SMEs
The entrepreneur is happy with her success so far. She says her transition from being a large enterprise leader to a startup entrepreneur—to being a CMO for SMEs of various sizes and in various industry segments—has been very satisfying.
“Our ability to work with varied industry segments, understand completely different audiences, their information consumption patterns, different buying decision making process, and gaining respect from seasoned entrepreneurs who have spent decades in that business—that has been my success. But scale is the next challenge I want to address,” she says.
Also, as a woman professional, Arundhati believes following some basic principles has helped her garner respect in the community. “I do not expect any concessions as a woman, in terms of time commitment or availability for meetings at any hour or something as simple as allowing someone to hold the door for me. I have opened my own doors, carried my own heavy baggage, and organised myself so that my family as well as my colleagues know exactly what to expect from me,” she says.
She has an ambitious plan for the future - to become the CMO for a 100 SMEs and help them in their growth journeys to become large corporates.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)