Mumbai: Motherhood turned Woman into an Entrepreneur
Mumbai: In my series of Bengali Women Entrepreneurs in Mumbai, today my story is of a versatile woman who amongst her hectic schedule of work, never neglects her family..She meets all her social obligations, maintains a very good sense of humour and loves spending time with her friends.
Mrs Sudeshna Ghoshal , She presents herself to her peers, associates, relatives and friends as a representative of the corporate sector, and a business woman. But at the same time she is a responsible daughter, a loving mother and a good , supportive and understanding companion of her husband.
Sudeshna says that her mother has always inspired her and her sister to be financially independent . The necessity of economical independence for every woman was deep rooted in her mind from her childhood and so she was career oriented from the very beginning. Brought up in Kolkata, she completed her MBA from IISWBM , Kolkata and then started working in ITW Signode India Ltd, Pune where she met her husband Sanjay. Both of them dreamt of doing something bigger and better and settle together and moved to Bengaluru. . Sudeshna joined 3M India, a Fortune 500 Company in Bengaluru.. They got married and finally moved to Mumbai. That was the beginning of her success. She continued in 3M India as Business Unit Head and Product Manager .
The story of her journey is not only interesting but emotional too. At that time they were staying in Kandivli and her office was located in Bandra. One day after lunch when she had just started an interaction with a client, she received a call from her Mother-In- law who was continuously crying and saying that Sudeshna’s son who was then only 2 year old got hurt ; something had hit on his head and was profusely bleeding. She tried to calm her down and asked her to call some neighbour, who could help her in getting some medical assistance. She herself then called up her neighbour and arranged for some medical help. She says, without thinking a bit, she just shut down her computer , walked out of office , took a cab and rushed towards home. But Mumbai’s traffic chaos took her almost one and a half hour . In her words “that’s one time I decided , that this is not the way life is going to be. “I will have to do something where I work near my home”. Then she got an opportunity to work in the firm ” Great Places to work” , a consulting firm. But then also she realised that how much good the place of work may be. No place of work can be as flexible as doing something on your own.
It was 2005. At that time, she was trying out new ideas for new ventures, when she came to know that in the Banking Sector, there is a search for new people who will set up shops for CRM, that is Client Relationship Management. She found this proposal interesting and without any preparation and even without a business card , she walked into the ICICI bank and had a discussion with them stating the services that she provides. Thus her journey started. Sudeshna started Proximity Services , and there was no falling back. The BPO sector was also going good. Within a span of say five years she has build a team of 500 people across Mumbai. But nothing is constant.The market was changing, with the boom in technology, and with automation having already started, she realised that there is very little opportunity left to proceed in this sector. So it was in 2010, that she sold her rights and before that she had only started looking for opportunities and ideas from different countries. She was lucky enough to get a very novel idea for her new venture . She says that she herself has no idea of how much science is involved in the display layout of the small grocery stores who till date contribute 95% of the sales of FMCG (fast moving consumer goods). The idea was to make a retail audit, not in terms of sales..But with the display in such stores, she was fortunate enough to find two like-minded people too who were willing to join her and thus “ Retail Scan Management Services Private Limited” was incorporated in 2011.
The Company’s primary focus is on conducting customised retail audit and in-store observation based research for the fast moving consumer goods sector in India. The company is a pioneer in the field of direct to bank payout for retailers thus enabling its client organisations to create a healthy channel driven trade. The company has been able to establish itself as a credible and sustainable player in the market and has successfully created a team of over 300 professionals and over 200 associates delivering services worth over Rs.31crores. With Headquarters in Mumbai and branch offices in Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata, Retail Scan covers over 700 municipal towns of the country .
Retail Scan are Partners to multinational companies of the stature of Redbull India, Reckitt Benkiezer, Glaxo Smithkline India, Marico, Abbott Nutition, Unicharm India, ITC, Cavin Kare, General Mills, consistently throughout this journey .Presently Retail Scan is in the second level of growth and is looking out for strategic investors.
When asked about the difference in experience in working as sole proprietor and her present Directorship , she said “ both had its pros and cons, in case of sole proprietorship, since decisions are all your sole decisions, anything good or bad is marked on you alone, though you may have your family to fall back.However you yourself only know the entire situation – whereas in a Company, when decisions are taken in consultation with others, even if there is difference in opinion it can be sorted as long as the intent is honest, as long as you have respect for each other and as long as your goal which is growth of the Company is same for all.”
Despite the fact that her elder son is already in College and younger one in high school, both having bright academic records, she still regrets as a full time working mother , not able to spend much time with her family, But she says “ I try to spend quality time with my boys and my family, discussing things that matters or impact our life in some or other way; we rarely discuss human beings.” She thanks her mother again and again without whose inspiration and support , she could not be what she is today, and of course her father and her husband for their silent support in her difficult times . She is happy with what she is doing today and also mentions that achieving this position was definitely a big struggle specially as a woman entrepreneur she has received negative vibes again and again. Though she has been able to secure a good position today, but at the same time she has a list of things that she would have done had she not given so much time to her work. Sudeshna says she has got the flexibility of time , but the quantum of work or time given for work is no less and quotes Indra Nooyi and says you cannot have it all ”.
When asked about her passion and future she says , “What I really enjoy when I have complete me time is to watch a romantic comedy… sometimes I end up seeing repeats, but that refreshes me completely . Besides I like to cook for my boys, especially where the boys are themselves involved, and spend time with family. Love to travel even more so when it is with friends. Once I hang up my boots want to travel far and wide… may be finally do something with the travel industry.” Reinventing herself everyday, urge to do something new and positive attitude probably are the factors behind her success and may this path of success continue until she herself decides to take a complete exit.
By : Debjani Basu Mullick
News Edit by KVRaman