The moving and packing industry had dominance towards men but that didn’t deter 30-year-old second generation entrepreneur and CEO and President, PM Relocations Aakanksha Bhargava. In an email chat with Karma Negi of The Red Mark, Aakanksha talks about what it means to be a female in a predominantly men’s bastion and how not to let any doubt overcome your belief.
Tell us in brief about your professional journey.
The relocation industry has always fascinated me, and the journey has been full of experiences since 2007 when I joined. The journey was tough in the beginning since in India it is considered not a place where women usually work. The moving and packing industry had dominance towards men in the earlier times but now things have changed. The job to deal with suppliers, labour, packers and, in fact, for that matter premium clients as well is nothing difficult for me now. I have spent close to 10 years in the relocation industry now and each day is a new challenge to me. Having started with 40 team members to 500+ members now, it has been an extremely inspiring journey, so far!
How difficult is it for professional women to break the glass ceiling?
I believe once you know what you want to do in life, everything eventually comes on track; the thing is to decide, first. Don’t let any doubt overcome your belief and you will be able to fight against all the odds. When you believe you can do it, nothing can stop you to. Optimism, intent, and willpower along with strength are all you have to carry on!
How has your experience as a technology leader been?
I have not been a technology leader so far however I am well aware of the current role of technology in building up the business. Hence, we have now partnered with a technology company who would be helping us digitise our internal processes and accelerate our growth.
Currently, we are looking to build and grow both our B2B as well as B2C segment. We are also looking to develop an application for our clients and customers so that they are less hassled about their entire moving and settling-in experience.
How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
It takes a lot of hard work and determination to achieve what you aim for. There have been a number of people who have guided and mentored me throughout my professional journey and have been a constant supporter. Expanding a traditional business was an uphill climb and equally challenging one for me but with the support I had from my family and friends, it helped me reach the place where I am at today. My father, Mr Rajeev Bhargava has never doubted my capabilities and has always been on my side. Sumit Bawa, my husband and a great friend has always encouraged and supported me in everything I pursue. Another person, I greatly admire and respect is Mr. Eric Lim, the head of Asian Tigers Mobility. He has groomed, mentored and guided me all along in my professional journey.
How much of hard work and luck do you think is responsible in your success?
I believe that hard work is your key to success and that’s what has made me what I am today. I do believe that luck matters, but one cannot really leave it on destiny. Let your work show your worth!
What advice do you give young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
Success has nothing to with your gender. Be it a man or a woman, if you have the intent, you can achieve everything you want to. Always be passionate about what you do and stay focused. I believe one must have a long-term goal in order to achieve what they want to and then there is nothing that can stop you from excelling in your field. One of the best things you can do as an entrepreneur is to make sure your team grows with you.
What holds professional women professionals/entrepreneurs back?
Well I think, some women sometimes don’t realize what they are capable of and are afraid of what will everyone think more than turning their dream into reality. The difficulty of juggling in work and personal lives still holds back most of the women in our country to work as the professionals. We all need to understand that we no longer live in a society that bounds a woman for the households; we need to take our big step. Things will take time initially but will definitely add up to your benefit.
Do you think this is the best time for women entrepreneurs? If yes, why?
I am not sure if it’s the best time for women entrepreneurs or not because I believe there is never a right or a wrong time for you to work. It is about how efficiently one can make their time worthy. If we look back a few years, not only women but men very also restricted to work in some particular sectors. Things have changed now and both the genders are taking up unconventional jobs. For women, it will be breaking up the stereotypes and making a mark in the industry they want to take their career in.
Going forward, what are your plans for the company?
PMR wants to be recognized as a one-stop service provider with all relocation needs looked after. The company is planning to work on a larger scale in the future and that is why is constantly improving the working standards, similar ones which will have details on making your move simpler and easier. We are looking forward to extend our business to few more cities. We are looking at strengthening our foothold in the Global relocation market too. We have done few of the high-end art moving as well as exhibition assistance for top galleries and hence want to expand our Art moving division catering to a larger market which is currently a smaller unit in comparison to other sections. An app for PMR is on the cards as well.