Can a scornful question result in a stable, successful women owned business? If you are “Anu and Indu”, you would be nodding your heads in affirmation and glee. Anu and Indu are the founders of CareerFit360, a Career Analysis & Customized Training Solutions firm in Kochi. Anuradha Subramanian is Co-Founder & Managing Director, while Indu Jayaram is a Career Analyst and Director-Training and Development of CareerFit360. Over hot tea and coconut cookies, this power duo took HerMoneyTalks through an enchanting tale of struggle and success.

Indu is a certified professional in career counselling, teenage counselling, and learning disability. She was previously associated with The Hindu and has worked as training and career consultant for 23 years. Anu has over 15 years of experience in areas of Software Development, Project Management, Software quality Assurance, and Training.

“Are you the only Directors of your organisation?”

Anu and Indu faced this question regularly while kick starting their dream venture back in 2012. With assertive communication and organisation, these business women gradually established their firm as the best career advisory platform in town. From partners in business to partners in struggle, they traveled to distant places and attended top level management meetings. All to ensure the growth and stability of CareerFit360.

Why vision’s best pal is determination

“When we first discussed our vision of building a firm with a consultant, his remarks were truly disappointing. We could sense from his expression the unsaid question: “Will you be able to manage it?” It was right then that we decided to follow our hearts and believe in our potential,” exclaims Indu.

CareerFit360 started as a women owned business in the year 2012 by offering employ-ability skills training programs to various colleges. With their expert team and guidance, these wonder women help students secure a career in organizations.

After a one-day workshop and some grooming sessions with the students, one of them called us after her job interview. She had landed jobs in 4 companies!

Anuradha began her career as a software engineer and later became a team lead. She managed projects and worked in the quality assurance department of Infosys and Tata Elxsi in Technopark Trivandrum. After 8 years in the IT industry, in 2012, she relocated to Cochin due to personal reasons. There, she paired with Indu Jayaram, her sister-in-law and a life skills coach by profession.

CareerFit360 birthed from the constant discussions of these determined women. The need for training, lack of employ-ability skills, and communication skills among Keralite youth ignited their passion to venture into training programs.

“When we started our projects in CareerFit 360, our first assignment was with one of the prestigious engineering institutions in Cochin. We needed to help a team of students by preparing them for their placement interviews. After a one-day workshop and some grooming sessions with the students, one of them called us after her job interview. She had landed jobs in 4 companies! Her excitement in turn stirred us to work hard and gave us a sense of achievement,” exults Anu.

Dealing with funding and finances the hard way

“Most government schemes and funding target companies with over one crore turnover and demands about 50-100 members in it. This was a great challenge, as we were operating with a minimal team size then. Despite this, we came up with a proposal to take funding from the Central Government under the NSDC initiative,” reveals Indu.

Some colleges did bargain with us with an attitude that women can be cornered easily.

“I still remember that day when the NSDC Team rejected our proposal stating that we were too young to take it up,” reminisces Anu. From then, they decided to learn from their mistakes and evolved together. “Some colleges did bargain with us with an attitude that women can be cornered easily. But we were strong enough to tackle everything with our excellent training sessions,” adds Indu proudly.

Right from the pricing of their services and management of expenses, to fixing remuneration for trainers – this power duo takes all financial decisions. Seeking help from professional consultants and auditors has helped these women in managing their finances efficiently. Strong networking with clients and mentors has shown that a women owned business can be no less successful.

What should women owned businesses and entrepreneurs do

“Financial well-being should be a woman’s foremost priority,” admits Anu. Getting the right kind of people into one’s team and intelligent budget planning are key for building women owned businesses.

The power duo have some back-of-the-sheet tips for businesswomen:

(1) Practice frugal spending methods.

(2) Cut down the wastage of company resources and unnecessary expenses.

(3) Keep advertising and marketing expenses to a minimum.

(4) Ensure quality and value of your services.

(5) Invest more on learning, training and knowledge up gradation.

“We are proud to be known as women entrepreneurs,” adds Indu. They are heading into Industrial 4.O and also have established another vertical, Counselfit360, under their company. With their team of consultants, Anu and Indu have shown that scornful questions can indeed inspire entrepreneurship.

Their parting shot?

“When plan A fails, go for plan B!”