Shivani Chopra, Founder, TRTM Tourism Pvt Ltd, Delhi
The royal treatment in the middle of the road
TRTM Tourism Pvt Ltd promoted by Shivani Chopra builds and runs thematic luxury coaches in Delhi equipped with food, bar, snacks, videos on cultural history of Delhi city and a guide. The bus version of ‘palace on wheels’ can travel a distance of 200kms. However Shivani tells YourStory that plans are on to take it to 15 more cities across India.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur? Why did you not pursue a regular job?
After gaining the necessary experience, I decided to turn entrepreneur because it provides you the satisfaction of giving a face to your dreams. The business plan that we wished to explore was sound and we personally felt that there is never a good time to become an entrepreneur. The cons against it will always remain irrespective of the stage in life. So it’s best to take the plunge early in life when risk taking capacity is higher. Also the freedom to do your own thing is a very tempting aspect of entrepreneurship and a constant lure for most young minds. However, above all, the plan should be a sound one and the spirit indomitable because it’s not a bed of roses or an easy path to take! Regular jobs may provide economic security; however the growth will always be lower, relative to a business plan that works. Of course once you do start, you also realize the satisfaction of creating jobs in an economy, which definitely needs it!
Can you tell us something about the initial years- what kind of challenges, struggles did you face?
Our business is still in its initial phase as it was launched as a product only in 2007. The initial years are always tougher since you are still creating a clientele base, expanding your market, managing operations so that they may stabilize enough to be delegated. Added to this, if you have a fair degree of government liaisons to handle in terms of permits, permissions and approvals, which we did, it could mean endless delays, long queues (if you want to do it the right way) and several meetings with people, who need to believe in what you are doing as much as you do. A new initiative always requires a mindset change from those in positions of power, which is the most difficult to achieve! Also being a woman in the transport sector, which is predominantly male, was not an easy task!
What was the turning point in your business?
I think once we had all our permits in place, we just believed that we could make it work. Of course, beyond that there is no one major turning point because creating a client base is a long and painstaking process, where everyday is a moment of truth and satisfied clients always managed to create more business for us!
Did you at any point feel like giving up and getting back to a regular job?
Not anytime during the project phase or when the business started. However, once it is stable, I do sometimes think that a job option can be explored, perhaps for the purpose of finding my own sector preferences (for the next entrepreneurial initiative!).
What drives you?
The desire to excel and to compete with myself everyday!
The unique offering of our business is the product itself, since there is no similar experience being offered in the market currently.The Royal Time Machines are our thematic coaches, designed exquisitely with greatest attention to each detail to take care of the traveler’s every need.
What are the growth drivers / vision for your enterprise?
Growth is definitely dependent on some internal and some external factors. External factors would include movement of foreign tourists, preferred destinations etc. Internal factors would include our ability and speed in replicating the same model in different cities with a local flavor Vision for the company is to see it established as a market leader in its segment and a name to reckon with when it comes to quality and customer delight.
Tips for budding entrepreneurs
Take the call to do it when you consider it the right time
Make sure your plan is sound and well-researched
Believe in yourself because if you are good and persistent, you will succeed!