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She was meant to be an entrepreneur as she realised very early that her purpose in life was to build value. Two decades down the line Kiran Bhat has built a business and a brand ‘Xebec’ from scratch. Xebec straddles two companies, a branding and marketing company and a digital marketing company with over 120 employees across offices in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi and Dubai. Xebec has served over 100 clients across India and helped build several brands and has built key revenue streams within the company through branding, pure design, packaging, marketing, media and full-service digital offering.
Bhat is a branding specialist and works as consultant / partner to clients who are drawn from various verticals including retail, BFSI, education, media, new age companies, agriculture, travel, and sports. “Our initiative is all about branding and being growth partners to clients. We help clients build profitable businesses. I pretty much started on my own as a start up and learnt the business from scratch,” informs Bhat a Master's in Industrial Psychology who has worked very briefly for an ad agency before embarking on the entrepreneurial journey.
Challenges are part and parcel of business
“The challenges were several as there are lot of ups and downs in business. Businesses are dependent on many external forces over which we do not have control. Recessions, markets go bust, sentiment goes wrong. Also being in the creative business we have to be very strict about client out-standings. If you neglect finances the whole business can go bust. Being a first generation entrepreneur I had to learn finance from scratch and the hard way,” shares Bhat who has co-authored a book called 'no holy cows in business ' which is into its second print and was well received. This is a book meant for would be entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs can never rest on laurels
Bhat feels that entrepreneurial journeys are tough strewn with failures and only the successful ones get written about. “Every day is a new day and learnings need to be continuous. An entrepreneur can never rest on her laurels. It is tougher to be a woman entrepreneur as you have to juggle many responsibilities. A family support system is ideal for a woman. Else she has to create a support system through a network of reliable domestic staff,” opines the entrepreneur from Pune who has spent almost 25 years in business.
At Xebec we are gender agnostic
Bhat never creates distinctions across genders and have balanced share of male and female employees working for her. “Fortunately we are in a business which is gender agnostic. We also have flexi timing but in special cases as our work is mainly collaborative in nature and remote working is a little difficult in our business and does not work so well for us,” shares the branding specialist who has also done an executive education programme from HBS.
Bhat’s top three to aspiring women entrepreneurs
- Prepare to work harder as you have to balance work, home and children. Yes women should be encouraged to become entrepreneurs provided they are willing to multi task and are able to manage all fronts and learn to delegate.
- Women are very capable of managing challenges as they have patience and perseverance to see things through.
- Also women are natural team players and are good in collaborative work which is the need of the day today. Women are also more sincere and conscientious.
Goals and targets are elements of change
Mentoring more entrepreneurs is what enthuses Bhat the most. Supporting many more businesses, writing more books, investing in interesting companies which are contributing to the economy are some of the things that Bhat feels excited about.