INDIA: Co-founder of QINFIN Consulting Pvt. Ltd, a qualified Chartered Accountant & an entrepreneur Nisha Dhanuka has worked in various sectors like skills, finance & investment, for years. With experience working in a corporate field, the professional is helping others to grow in their respective areas.
“Entrepreneurship is a lonely and difficult journey,” Nisha said, referring specifically to female entrepreneurs.
“I’ve been on this path for the past ten years. I’ve interacted with many women from all over the world, and we all face similar challenges, but family expectations don’t go away! You are aware that you are still expected to be a good mother, wife, and so on.”
“When we are unable to manage a family, we experience a sense of guilt. I’m not complaining that men aren’t pitching in. Women want to maintain the title of ‘Superwoman,’ which is not required. We are only women! The most difficult challenge to overcome to grow is one’s mindset.”
An unconscious bias
While talking about the women investors Dhanuka said that there aren’t enough women investors as they aren’t easily accessible.
“You have to look at it from a different perspective; I’m not saying you have to do an impact investment; no, when you invest in a business, you’re not doing any charity.”
“Along with the funding, there’s a lot of mentoring that needs to be done. When I take a deal the first question I am asked is if it’s a sole proprietorship if it’s only a single woman, it’s straight away no, which I understand; you have to hedge your risk & you can’t invest into (it). So more than the professional it’s about the family life they want to know. Come on! You can’t evaluate these things for business. You look at the business just as a business! The investors are not so keen on investing only women’s funding, if I take ten or twenty deals, I have seen that the unconscious bias is there,” she added.
Organic growth is not going to be enough
Dhanuka described the investor mindset by saying that most investors want to invest in businesses that are driven by technology.
“Women are afraid of it; when you ask them to use technology, they opt for the organic growth approach. This creates a significant gap between funding and the investor. Women must understand that technology is not rocket science! You must get into technology because it is the future; whether it is a small or large business, the challenges are the same, so think big!”
Ruthless is not a right word!
On asking about the success that Nykaa & other female-led brands achieved, Dhanuka stated, “When a guy is ruthless, he is tagged as a business-minded when a woman is ruthless, she is tagged as ‘ruthless. I run a business; if I am not able to run it, then what is the point of doing it? It should be positively moving; cash flow should be managed. So, when we check out employees, it is not because we are ruthless, it is because it doesn’t make business sense. We are just trying to save our business.”
Dhanuka on the importance of confidence
Discussing vital skills for entrepreneurs, especially for women entrepreneurs, Dhanuka said that, perseverance is extremely important.
“No business has become successful in one year or two years! You need to invest time too. You have to build a business on a solid business model, not by just getting it funded,” she added.
Dhanuka believes that for women entrepreneurs, networking is more important.
“You can grow relationship orientation only when you have the right network & you can’t develop a network over just six months or a year; it’s like farming! In today’s world, if you know the right people, you are going to get funding,” she added.
“Moreover, the very first salesman for your business is you. Anyone buying your product or services, buy your confidence, not your product or your services.”
Cash flow is significant
When discussing cash management, she stated that your bank balance, as well as your ability to manage your operations with the amount of cash you generate, are indicators of how well your business is doing.
“Sales aren’t everything; the entire sales cycle is only completed when money enters your account. It is critical to understand the distinction between cash inflow and cash outflow.”
Furthermore, sales and profit are equally important; she referred to them as the “lifeblood” of the business.
People invest in people
Speaking of shareholding, she stated that “Sometimes you have to let go of your share & get somebody who is better than you to grow your business.”
“There are two types of mindsets: king mindset and rich mindset.
The king mindset will not let it (the share) go, whereas the rich mindset will choose to let it go rather than holding it and doing nothing.
“You must decide whether you want to hold an 80 percent stake with a one-crore valuation or a 50 percent stake with a ten-crore valuation”, she added.
Talking about abilities in an entrepreneur, she quoted, “Investors invest in you. For me, how confident is the entrepreneur, matters? The one’s vision for the growth of a company & the knowledge of finances, business is vital.”
From the perspective of an investor, investing in a startup is just another type of investment, similar to stock market investing, and so on.
Furthermore, investors are interested in investing in the e-commerce sector these days. Dhanuka stated that, “Simply having money does not qualify one as an investor. As an investor, you must have complete knowledge of the venture into which you are investing; network and experience are also essential.”
Business and work-life balance
“I have realized that the business of making everyone happy is bad,” she said when asked about the compromises she had to make.
“Sometimes my family is unhappy because I am unable to devote enough time to them, and sometimes my partners are unhappy for various reasons. I can’t make everyone happy all of the time. My priorities are determined by me. I don’t want to be the best at everything because I can’t. I want to live a normal and happy life. It’s enough for me as long as I’m happy and feel like what I’m doing is okay; I’m fine!” she concluded.
Watch the interview here:
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