The Growth Storybook for Scaling a Business as a Woman Entrepreneur

By: Aakanksha Bhargava, CEO, PM Relocations

Aakanksha Bhargava is a business leader in India's relocation industry and has revolutionized the sector with her visionary strategies and commitment to diversity. She has earned numerous prestigious awards, including 'Entrepreneur of the Year' and 'Young Leader of the Year.'

In a recent conversation with Women Entrepreneurs Review magazine, Aakanksha articulated a strategic vision driving businesses towards rapid growth with quality and consistency. She emphasizes maintaining high standards while expanding, and fostering leadership alliances to influence global relocation practices, particularly promoting empowering and inspiring leadership by women.

As a young women entrepreneur, how are women leaders redefining traditional approaches to leadership and shaping innovative business practices that pave the way for a more inclusive and transformative future?

Women are natural-born leaders, in my opinion. Across industries, women leaders are redefining traditional leadership by infusing qualities and skills such as empathy, effective communication, and keen observation into their approaches. These qualities enable them to craft clear visions, motivate teams, and establish efficient systems. An observation about women’s leadership style is that they often emphasize collaboration, inclusivity, and holistic problem-solving, fostering innovation across industries. By prioritizing diverse perspectives and nurturing talent, women leaders are shaping business practices that are more adaptive and forward-thinking. Their approach not only drives organizational success but also paves the way for a more inclusive and transformative future, breaking down barriers and setting new standards for leadership excellence.

What motivated you to pursue the title of ‘Best Woman Entrepreneur’ by Outlook Business, and what obstacles have you encountered as a woman in your journey?

Pursuing the title of Best Woman Entrepreneur by Outlook Business has been driven by my desire to demonstrate the potential and impact of women in business. Recognitions like this celebrate exceptional leadership, innovation, and industry impact, making it an honor to be acknowledged.

When I joined the business in 2007, I faced significant challenges. Male subordinates found it difficult to take instructions from me, and many partners, clients, and customers were skeptical, seeing me as just the "Boss's Daughter," young and inexperienced. I had to work diligently to change this perception, gaining deep industry knowledge and market understanding. Overcoming these obstacles with commitment, patience, and conviction, I led the company to success. Additionally, securing funding was tough, as our relocation business, already viewed with apprehension, faced further bias being woman-run. The budding challenge today is talent retention.

As you have vast experience in marketing, what strategic vision propels the businesses to achieve rapid growth while ensuring quality and consistency in their operations, striking a balance between expansions and maintaining high standards of performance?

A strong strategic vision helps achieve rapid growth while ensuring quality and consistency. Starting with a compelling brand story that reflects the founders' vision and creating a narrative that customers can connect with. Trust is built through consistently delivering high-quality products and services, which is essential in a market where customer loyalty can be hard to secure.

Listening to customers and staying attuned to their needs is a key strategy. By actively engaging with clients and understanding their pain points and preferences, businesses can innovate and adapt quickly to meet market demands. This customer-centric approach not only drives loyalty but also helps in refining operations and improving service delivery.

Balancing expansion with maintaining high standards involves setting clear performance metrics and rigorous quality control processes. This way, businesses can scale effectively without compromising on the quality that their customers expect. By integrating these elements into their strategy, companies can achieve sustainable growth and long-term success.

How do you foresee using the leadership alliance to influence and shape global leadership practices in the relocation industry, particularly by promoting leadership that empowers and inspires others?

Leadership alliances can be a tremendous opportunity to shape global leadership practices in the relocation industry. An alliance can allow us to share best practices, insights, and innovative strategies that can elevate the entire industry. By promoting leadership that empowers and inspires, we can create a culture where every team member feels valued and motivated.

Empowerment comes from providing training, resources, and opportunities for growth. When leaders are equipped with the tools they need, they can better support their teams, fostering an environment of trust and collaboration. Inspiration, on the other hand, stems from leading by example—showing resilience, empathy, and commitment to excellence.

By focusing on these aspects, we can break down traditional barriers, especially in a male-dominated field, and highlight the importance of diverse perspectives. This approach not only enhances our ability to meet clients' needs more effectively but also drives innovation and sustainability in our practices. In essence, the leadership alliance becomes a beacon for progressive, inclusive leadership, setting new standards for the relocation industry worldwide.

In your opinion, what strategies do effective communicators and relationship builders use to overcome challenges and excel in dynamic environments?

From my experience, effective communicators and relationship builders use several key strategies to excel in dynamic environments. One crucial strategy is active listening, which helps stay relevant and evolve with customer needs—especially important for a customer-centric business. Building relationships on trust and respect is essential, and this stems from transparent communication. Empathy is also vital for understanding and addressing others' concerns.

Networking is another powerful tool. Engaging with the community, both locally and globally, helps gain valuable industry insights and overcome challenges. Finally, maintaining a positive attitude and demonstrating resilience when faced with obstacles inspires confidence and cooperation among team members and partners. These strategies collectively contribute to success in any dynamic setting.

Storytelling emerges as a powerful equalizer, a beacon of mutual understanding, how does storytelling contribute to building a strong brand identity and establishing emotional connections with consumers, particularly in industries traditionally dominated by men?

Storytelling is a powerful tool for building a strong brand identity and establishing emotional connections, especially in industries traditionally dominated by men, like relocation. Most view relocation companies as impersonal and purely transactional. However, sharing unique stories and experiences humanizes the brand, highlighting our empathy and understanding of the emotional upheaval involved in moving.

In our industry, branding isn't about creating a need but fulfilling an existing one. Therefore, having a strong brand recall is crucial. Storytelling helps in this by creating memorable narratives that resonate with clients. Regular follow-ups and exceptional service further reinforce these connections, ensuring that customers remember us not just for our efficiency but for our compassion and understanding during stressful times.