At BrilliantRead Media, we always strive to bring to our community some of the unique and compelling stories from the start-up ecosystem. As part of this endeavour, we invited yet another passionate Womenpreneur Meenal Narula for an exclusive interview with us. Meenal is a Leader, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Chief Image Consultant, Soft Skill Trainer and Founder of Meenal Narula Image Consultancy. Let’s learn more about her inspirational journey and her advice for our growing community!
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Meenal:
We are aware of your contribution to the ecosystem, talk us through your background and your journey as a women entrepreneur/consultant, please;
‘Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result into action’. I had heard this saying by Dr Abdul Kalam for the first time when I was in class 9.
As a little girl, I had many dreams and aspirations, the first one being to become an actor. I always wanted to be known by people, connect with them and be a part of them.”
The thrill of being on stage and connecting with people was unparallel. Little did I know that my dream will turn into a reality but with a deeper purpose to it. I did my schooling from Carmel Convent School and secured a place in one of the most coveted courses of the University of Delhi – Bachelors of Business Studies. Further to hone my skills in leadership abilities and management skills I went on to pursue an MBA from FORE School of Management, New Delhi.
As a part of the Public Relations Cell of the college, I was fortunate enough to become the ‘Face of FORE’ and relentlessly worked with external agencies to manage my college’s brand. Intrigued by the concept of Branding and Communications, I specialized in Marketing and Human Resource and worked with prestigious companies such as Voltas Limited and Quikr India Pvt. Ltd in Sales, Marketing and Strategy roles.
When I was working with Quikr, I had an innate realization that I had a knack for helping people.”
I realized this while I was working with senior professionals, helping them to present themselves and their ideas more powerfully. From there I started another journey of helping people reach their highest potential and project a better personal brand.
Hence, I re-aligned my career interests, and I chose to become an Image consultant and a Soft Skills Trainer. With years of hard work, experience and relentless dedication I have been able to become a qualified Image Consultant.”
I have always been very passionate about building something of my own through which I can help, guide and support people. Being a keen learner has helped me to grow through different experiences of my life and learn from my mistakes. I started my own company i.e. Meenal Narula Image Consultancy in 2017, and have been growing on it till date.
This platform has not only helped me to start a different chapter of my life but has also helped me to guide others in building an identity which they can confidently embrace.
I always believe that our physical presence tells a story and that story creates our personal brand.”
Hence, it’s extremely important for an individual to have an alignment in their physical and mental well being, and that’s where I extend my help helping hand to people in an effort to create a difference in the society.
What attracts you towards entrepreneurship instead of a corporate career?
I chose entrepreneurship because I wanted to make an impact on my own. I have always been intrigued by entrepreneurship and read the success stories of all the successful entrepreneurs. It’s fascinating how you build something from scratch to build an empire around it and not everyone can do it. It takes a lot of courage, planning, perseverance, hard work, teamwork, combined with good strategy & execution skills.
Fortunately, I have experienced the corporate culture and have enjoyed thoroughly working there. However, the pride, satisfaction and zest of creating something of my own have been extremely rewarding in their own way.”
The passion that I share for my field is above all comforts in life. One has to sacrifice a lot of factors in life, in order to fulfil their dreams.
‘Meenal Narula Image Consultancy’ is such a unique name; talk us through more about it, please. Our audience would also love to know what kind of problem you are solving with the help of your startup?
I believe there should be an alignment between a person’s personal or professional image and his/her desired goals. Any discrepancy between the two can take a toll on his/her career, interpersonal relationships and self-esteem. Through ‘Meenal Narula Image Consultancy’ my aim is to help people transform into the best versions of themselves, gain confidence in their abilities and project the same powerfully.
I extend my helping hand to people who face issues with communication, personal/professional grooming, public speaking, etiquette, self-esteem and confidence. Every person is empowered to ace every aspect of his/her life. A little guidance and support help to smoothen this process and make the journey worth it.
An image consultant doesn’t only transform one’s image but also give an individual a new identity to stand by. It gives him/her a sense of belonging which he/she might have lost and shows a path of success with utmost humility and perseverance.
During this COVID-19 crisis, what are the measures you have undertaken to continue your business without disruption?
As a responsible and conscientious individual, there are several measures that I had to undertake. Each measure is taken to ensure that the model aligns with the challenges of the pandemic, and yet we don’t stop extending a helping hand to every individual in need of guidance.
~ Our business model consists of a lean team which is not at all resource-heavy and has minimal overheads.
~ We also ensure that we handle our appointments in a way, where we don’t need to do physical meetings, and yet the work is done with absolute perfection and efficiency in accordance with the schedules.
~ Every aspect of the business is online and tech-enabled to ensure automation as much as possible. Since the pandemic broke out, virtual communication of instructions was encouraged within the team through different social media platforms like WhatsApp and e-mail.
Every client based appointment was taken via zoom call meetings, to ensure the utmost safety of the client and the team.
What are the business mantras you have embraced as you sought to establish your success story?
Getting the right opportunity and performing to the best of your capability when you get that opportunity is something that I have always believed in. I also feel that the quality of work and effort should never be sacrificed for anything else. One should always keep working hard and keep reinventing ideas in order to prosper in one chosen field.
In a field like mine, customer satisfaction has the utmost importance. I always try to fulfil and satisfy my client’s dreams, needs and aspirations, so much so that the journey is joyous and the end result is fruitful.
How do you manage yourself and keep on going despite the challenges? What drives you?
I always try to make sure that I empower the right people for the right work. This way I do not feel overburdened with work that leads to stress. Also, the passion that I share for my field drives the best in me to make a difference in the society every single day, despite all odds of life.
In my free time, I read, travel, spend time with my family, and try to maintain my work-life balance as much as possible. Travelling helps me clear my mind and focus on issues that need my attention.
I have always been an ambitious person and have a clear picture of where I want to reach and become the person that I had always visualized. Also, as I look around I see an ample number of people who want to be purpose-driven, but just lack the direction to do.
This makes me relentlessly work for them and come up with new ways to ease this process of boosting their confidence, helping them to align their mind and body, and making them reach their highest potential in the personal as well as professional front.
Given the rapid pace at which the world is changing, what are the leadership traits that are necessary for success?
The ability to effectively lead is a crucial factor in the success, or lack thereof, in entrepreneurial ventures. By understanding and embodying what it takes to lead effectively, entrepreneurs can maximize their chances of success.
What are the three most important lessons you have learned building your startup?
I’ve learned to not compare myself to other successful people who seem to have it all together. Invariably, things are not always as they seem, and no one has it all together, and if even they do, I will learn the same but in my own time and speed. I have also learned that if you have faith in your abilities, then you can achieve anything in life. Keep following your dream, work on your flaws, learn through your journey and never give up.
It is important to embrace change because, at any given time, you will need to shift strategies due to circumstances beyond your control.
Having a contemporary approach is very important. One needs to master the art of adapting to changes, only then can he/she be able to move ahead in life with ease.
Please share with us – what has worked well for you so far?
One thing I would say that helped me and my company grow is the ability to listen to our customers. We believe that customers are not interested in products but in getting their problems resolved.
The more we listen to them, the problems they face in their business, the more efficiently and effectively we can resolve them. We believe that we are capable to do that and it is the only reason for our growth.
In your opinion, what is more necessary: An idea or a good team for a successful startup?
In my opinion, it should be a mix of both. You cannot go ahead with a strong and impactful idea jotted down on a piece of paper without like-minded people working on it. Not only like-mindedness but a team with must also learn to accept differences of opinion, work on the given task in hand with patience, and give their best potential to it with unity. Only then, an impactful idea can be well executed.
I have seen companies with very innovative ideas with niche market segment fail just because they lacked proper team spirit in them. Team leaders should also motivate their team members, assess their performance and give individual rewards to sustain the team spirit and hard work.
You are always positive and motivated, what keeps you going?
I love my work. Anything you do in life you have to have a passion for and should not feel like work. The feeling of contributing my bit to society is extremely satisfying. I get my reward when an individual or team overcomes their barriers and is able to outshine in life.
I do have my own share of highs and lows in life, but I do not let my personal life, affect my work. One has to maintain strict discipline when it comes to work-life, only then can they ace in their respective fields.
We would love to know your advice for all those starting out as an aspiring women entrepreneur?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and see them as an opportunity to learn. Define your goal, take action, stay focused and expect nothing less than success. Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher. Always remember that every part of your journey has a learning in it.
Even you fail, there is learning behind it as to what you should not do again. So, keep your chin high and never stop working hard. start your business with an intention of making a difference, and not with an intention of making just money. Your potential to succeed is infinite if you keep working consistently.