Biz Forum> ArticlesBack
From commanding troops in the army to leading budding entrepreneurs across the country
SME INSPIRATIONS3 Comments
7 days ago — 7 min read
Founder: Vandana Sharma
Year it was founded: 2017
Sector: Business Services
Based out of: Bengaluru
Major Vandana Sharma has been a pathbreaker all her life. Her sense of adventure and tenacity led to her reaching the position of Major in the Indian Army. As a woman and a successful officer, she broke many stereotypes about women in uniform while in service. Her career in the armed forces is distinguished with her contribution to the Kargil War of 1999 being recorded and commended in the Military History of Army Ordnance Corps. From then to today, her entrepreneurial spirit, as she puts it, has attracted her to situations that required her innovative spirit and problem solving skills to resolve. Post her military career, Vandana forayed into the corporate world and has 21 years of diverse experience across multiple sectors. Working in leadership positions, she has added value to hiring practices and organisational transformation at companies like Wipro, Myntra and GMR. She established StartupPeopleConsulting in 2017 in Bengaluru. StartupPeopleConsulting is an organisation geared towards guiding entrepreneurs as they move towards their goals. Vandana is a TEDx speaker and she also speaks at various women’s forums to inspire and motivate more women to live independent and empowered lives.
Time in the army
Vandana was raised as a ‘fauji’ kid. Her father, and many other members of her family, were part of the armed forces. She found herself dreaming of being in the armed forces from a very young age and successfully took forward the family tradition of serving the country. Looking back, she narrates an experience that shaped her conviction. “My father was in the Air Force and my brother who is eight-years-older than me also joined the army. I would wear my father’s cap when he would return home and look myself in the mirror wondering if I could ever wear the uniform. I was in grade two or three then.”
Women were not allowed in the armed forces at the time, but change was in the offing. Women were included for the first time on the rolls in 1992 and Vandana knew she wanted to be part of this landmark change. In a batch of 33, she became one of the first few women to don the army greens. Her leaderships skills shone through, and over the course of the next 10 years, she attained the rank of Major and served with distinction in the Kargil War. Speaking about her time at the Army, she shares, “If you can run as fast, shoot as well, and do what you are signed up for – in my case, it was being able to supply stores effortlessly – as well as other male counterparts, nobody looks down upon you or considers you less.”
Following her successful stint in the army, she forayed into the corporate world. Her unique brand of leadership and experience helped her make significant contributions as an organisation transformer at Myntra, GMR, and Wipro – all large companies with commensurately large challenges.
While working with these companies, she realised that she had an entrepreneurial streak in her, being drawn to situations where things were “being done for the first time in an organisation or amid chaos and needed a fix.” Importantly, she realised, as she says, “It gave me a lot of joy to share my experience and help guide budding entrepreneurs on setting up startups and working with limited resources, financial constraints and acute deadlines.”
Her passion for supporting budding entrepreneurs took root and she founded StartUpPeopleConsulting in August 2017. Vandana shares, “A lot of entrepreneurs learn the hard way after making mistakes right from the start — from the time of searching for co-founders and early employees to find the right talent as per not just the skill or sector but also the values and vision of the organisations. My project helps early entrepreneurs with all people-related matters and also helps build their networks and teams across locations with minimum effort and speedy timelines.”
Challenges of starting up
Vandana finds, that like most entrepreneurs, her main issues are resource allocation, prioritisation, and selecting the right projects to address the right issues in challenging areas. Of course, scaling up and monetisation are areas of focus as she builds her business.
Vandana finds GlobalLinker very helpful as a networking tool. She says,“GlobalLinker is a great platform for digital meetings for small businesses. I am exploring business opportunities to expand my business network. This platform should be able to bring like-minded folks together who can leverage on each other and grow from strength to strength. The productivity tools and offers are very useful.”
Big business dream
Vandana’s dreams reveal a lot about her determined and visionary nature. When asked about her big business dream, she says, “I want to contribute towards building and nurturing an ecosystem for startups in India. I want to ensure that new-age organisations are agile and swift-footed to enable meeting market dynamics globally, have consistent performances like any other economic power, and build a great work ethic and culture in Indian startups. The right foundation and talent could help them grow into multi-billion organisations. Besides this, I am passionate about making a difference to this world. The causes which are close to my heart are women’s empowerment and doing something meaningful for armed forces veterans.”
Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
“It’s a marathon so stay the course and don’t sprint. My motto in life has been: The universe falls in love with a stubborn heart! What you wish for always comes true if you work hard for it, so if you believe in your journey and purpose, it will come true one day,” shares Vandana.
Network with Vandana Sharma by clicking on the ‘Invite’ button on her profile.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.
Reconnect with your grandparents or an elderly person you know – give them a call! ( I reconnected with my granddaughter after a long while – she’s fluent in English, Hindi, Marathi and taught me a few Telugu words too 🙂 . WOW !
Lend a friend a book you think they’d like (Gave away a whole library)
Leave a kind message anywhere (in a library book, on a computer etc.)
Wardrobe overflowing? Donate clothes to a charity ( I give it to a Blind school)
Make amends with someone you may have wronged (Hmmm….. May be, I will)
Know someone going through something you’ve been through? Give them advice
Volunteer your time for a good cause (PLANNING to create a video channel for the charities I support with help of a startup Video/ Filmmaker).
Help someone improve, give them constructive feedback (Neyt! I’d rather feedforward as we can’t go back and correct it – but we can shape up in future.)
We all love surprises! Buy someone an unexpected gift – Yes. worth a thought (Wife and daughter both gifted ME a USPA T-shirt each ! )
Plant a seed – yes overdue. Note to self. Must do.
Money Doesn’t Grow On TreesMeaning:Suggests that money is a resource that must be earned and is not one that’s easily acquired.
Expecting Acts of Kindness? Expecting delivery on a platter without doing any Efforts? Well. Learn to create many many sources of generating passive income. Some may actually work and then the saying can come true.
Hit Below The BeltMeaning:A boxing term. Also often used to refer to inappropriate words, or comments that are too personal.
Risk and Crisis Management.
Close But No CigarMeaning:Coming close to a successful outcome only to fall short at the end.
It is OK. It is still a development gap. We lack FINISHIATIVE in the Race that we run and prepare to run again. Not all are able to FINISH the tasks on time all the time. So don’t get disheartened. Wake up . Prepare, Rise and begin again !
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“It doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
— Fred Lebow
What is FINISHIATIVE. WHY DID JAY PARKHE COIN THIS TERM?
Do you remember the old saying? Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. When it comes to starting your own startpreneurship business, this saying really hits the nail right on the head.
Business is only going to come to life if we do the things you need to do to bring it to fruition. If we continue to put off the things w need to do to get our business started until tomorrow–we’re too busy at work, or our children need us to pick them up at the mall, your wife wants you to watch a popular new TV show–then when will you ever get around to doing them?
Being a successful Startpreneur takes more than thinking about it, talking about it, or dreaming about it. It takes more than telling your friends that you would like to start your own business one day. It takes more than reading a copy of magazine It takes more than reading this blog.
Startpreneur requires action–we have to set goals, establish tasks, and then complete them. It’s not the size of the goals or the tasks that counts, it’s the doing that is everything.
Home-based business experts Paul and Sarah Edwards, say that the number-one ingredient for success in starting and growing a home-based business is something all of us have in varying quantities: the Completion Gene.
The Completion Gene is the habit based on psychological need to follow through on what you start and see it to the end–whether it be preparing a proposal, doing a project for a client, or seeing a business through its up and down cycles.
In short, the Completion Gene is what separates successful small business owners from the wannabes, and it’s the thing that can have the biggest impact on your success as an entrepreneur.
So, what are the key components of the Completion Gene? There are two:
Short term: Getting things done. This is waking up every day and taking steps towards achieving your goals. Some day, it may mean buying business cards for your new business, or applying for a business license or hiring a lawyer to help you incorporate your business. Or it may mean researching your idea on the Internet or calling prospective clients to find out who might be interested in buying the products or services that you intend to offer for sale. You cannot build a business without taking these short-term, but important, steps.
Long term: Persistence. The idea of a business overnight success is as uncommon as the proverbial 99 Rupee Note. In reality, the latest craze or hot item is most often the result of years of hard work and perseverance. #
You might have the greatest idea since sliced bread but, if you aren’t willing or able to hang in with it for the long haul, then you’ll potentially miss enjoying the gold at the end of your rainbow.
You may not think you were born with the Completion Gene but, believe me, it’s there deep inside you.
The Completion Gene is built into each one of us–it’s standard equipment from the factory. If you haven’t seen your Completion Gene lately, you might need to dust it off before you’ll have an opportunity to give it a workout. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will get. And the stronger it gets, the closer you will be to living your dreams instead of just dreaming them.
I am not sure, if Stan F. Smith was his correct name. I met the gentleman in 7th Floor Free Ward of Jaslok Hospital in year 1979. No. He did not present a pleasant sight. His half the Skull had stitches in his bald head and he had been operated for Fileria ( Haathi Panv) but still had one leg hugely swollen and he had difficulty walking with his walking stick.
But one night, he came to my hospital bed and when I was looking for a Bed pan and could not wake up the nurses by ringing the bell – he gave me one. I could not sleep all 8 nights I was operated but I instantly liked the gentleman. We decided to become friends. I learnt that the nurses do not answer to the bells in the night. Stan would personally go to the patients in need of water, bed pans, urine pots or wake up the junior doctors if someone looked serious or showing symptoms of heart attack or panic.
As we both could not sleep, we began taking rounds of the other wards. I had a knee surgery but I was able to walk. Stan had to take some effort but he was game for it. We managed to make friends with JUDOs the Junior Doctors and began having jokes with them. We would do numerology and I was good at palmistry then and would predict love affairs, marriage, private practice etc. what the JUDOs liked to listen and have fun at.
One day I asked Stan what he used to do for a living as he was a patient here for over an year. He said he was a marketing consultant living in Malad a Mumbai suburb. I asked him what does it mean. I was working in a village bank branch and had just become a field officer with Madras Fertilizers after one year of apprenticeship. I was trying to do a British Institute Marketing Management correspondence course. So Stan explained. He said In Mumbai which is country’s biggest retail market – you can sell anything. Anything ! he reinforced and said – Including plain DIRT !
I was astounded. I said how? He said we are in Pedder Road and you can see all the high rise buildings with their luxury apartments around. He said many of them are people who came as paupers from villages and made it rich – Mumbai was Indian Poor man’s American Dream even in those days !
He said, you live in a village and must have observed when people come back from toilets they rub their hands in dirt before washing them. Reason: Toilet soaps are not very common in villages. I said yes. True. He said, People may have become multi-millionaires and may live in these skyscrapers – some of their habits are age old. If you filter dirt, soil of different colours and make small 50 gramme packets and say Toilet Mitti (Soil) – it will sell. He said you can bring in variants, of colours, quantity, packaging and even claim this comes form UP, RAJASTHAN, BIHAR, MP etc. etc. and people would flock to buy it.
People in Mumbai like to buy on footpaths as they are very busy people catching buses, train, taxis all the time. The rich move near seashores and gardens. He said Have a large umbrella and put up a stall near these places and begin selling. He had my attention, Focus, his STATE had my empathy and I was flabbegasted by his FREE Advice to a youngster.
Over the years, we lost touch and 39 years later I am not sure, if I shall ever see Stan but I know one thing he was one hell of a marketeer who UNDERSTOOD People, Their NEEDS, Their purchasing power, Indian Psyche, The Places where they frequent, The places where they will buy. He also advised on packaging and marketing and promotion and he said – word of mouth is the best publicity. Rich people like to bargain the most – allow them to and let them have the last laugh and he would say you would still be reaping profits.
9 years later, I became a student of Marketing Management in Pune and I remembered my friend Stan and narrated this story to one of my Marketing Gurus and he said WOW ! I want to meet this man. But Alas, i had no clue where he was.
Marketing as i learnt is all about Psyche’ / knowing the customer needs, buying behaviour, pattern, purchasing power and then pitching with your product/ service with different creative innovative techniques.
Below is a link I liked about Story telling from TedX shows that I like to watch from YouTube.
let me know which Hormone was activated after reading this story in you? I am usually good at story telling as they are real life experiences but this time I am following the Art and Science of Story telling following an expert. May be, one day I shall appear on YouTube with my stories or well may be, become a Storyteller Paid Speaker. 🙂
As a mentor I sometimes use 4C technique of mentoring. It’s origins are in the 4 C qualities of the purest diamonds. which are known as Color Clarity, cut and Carat Weight and as Mentor I made some notes to self below:
- Respect your belief that we are all One Man Company first.
- We are all in our own right, Small budding brands.
- We have a place in the Sun.
- We have a place in the skies!
- Which part of sky belongs to me?
- Which set of Starry diamonds my brand resembles?
- Am I going to be the brightest and shiniest one?
- Or a small simple Solitaire – invaluable Brand?
- Sometimes though we see a DARKENING OF THE LIGHT around us even in the Bright Sun!
- This masks all our shine, brightness and all the Dimond like qualities in us.
- We all have our stars and we are all Celebrities in our own minds and hearts and the Glow and the halo spreading from our idols/ icons sometimes overshadows our own 4 C’s.
- The more we allow this to happen to us we become Ex-celebrities in our own mind. Sometimes, Gods and circumstances are against us.
- We lose our celebrity status, the paradigms shift, the clocks are reset, the Computers and our life is pushed by a Reset button and to Comeback is the toughest challenge we face.
- I designed my 4 C – Comeback Celebrity’s Crazy Coach program for some of such great souls who were in the sky, searching for their space in the darkening of the light.
- There is a saying that when light goes down, it may be wise to become invisible.
- The image is of fresh darkness, the period is just after sunset or a fire has gone out.
- There is still much activity left over from the light of day, and movements in the outer world are at their most dangerous.
- Even the smallest sound, the faintest glow of light, can attract unwanted attention.
- It is said that when the darkness of stupidity reigns in our human affairs, it is best that we keep your brilliance “hidden under a bushel basket!”
- Let your thoughts and efforts therefore be quiet, self-contained, and protected, as much as possible, from harmful influences, negative people, unwanted interruptions of Technology which forces us to Read and Write SMS, WhatsApp, eMails etc. and forces us not to listen and makes us speechless – or DUMB !
- Don’t let yourself be swept along on the current of conventional wisdom when dangerous uncertainties exist.
- Try not to become too depressed or anxious; such periods will also pass.
- Just endure it for now and inwardly preserve your self-confidence, while outwardly remaining cooperative and flexible.
- The time to assert yourself will come.
- Avoid looking too far ahead if you have not yet achieved your goals – that will only bring regret and longing, which can eat away at your inner strength.
- So, be cautious and reserved.
- Control yourself.
- Do not needlessly stimulate forces of opposition.
- During dark, unsettled periods, it is best to step gingerly around sleeping dogs.
The climax of the dark ties has arrived, and the darkness has begun to consume even itself. When negative energy is finally spent, people of intelligence and good spirit naturally re-emerge, and gain positions of rightful prominence.
So How does the future look like?
Just Visualize -GRACE AND BEAUTY
Diamonds in the Sky are so Graceful. Diamonds in the Real Life are so precious and Beautiful.
- Imagine that there is a splashy sunset that bathes the mountains in a soft radiance; the light of a full moon dances on the surface of a rippling river.
- Grace and beauty adorn the natural world.
- Grace is neither an all-powerful force, nor is it the essential or fundamental thing.
- By itself, it is form without content.
- Grace is moonlight on water, not the sunlight at noon.
- Yet grace brings artistic expression into the world, and enhances the quality of our lives.
- Grace brings success in small matters.
- In the arts, grace arises out of adherence to form: the dancer becoming the choreography of the dance; the musician giving life to a musical score; the painter becoming one with brush and canvas.
- In human affairs, grace is aligned with mastery of aesthetic and cultural forms honed by time and honored by tradition.
- When we appreciate graceful forms in human culture, we apprehend the pure beauty of the ideal, of life raised above the struggle for survival.
- The Possession of grace, like the bearing of a beautiful gift to a wedding, can add stature to those in humble positions.
- Do Take care to lend grace and dignity to small matters, while giving the weight of deep and careful consideration to matters of greater consequence.
Though it should not be confused with true substance, an artistic flair can take one far in this world.