Womenspiring Wednesdays…

Be The Change You Want To See !

Lekha Balachandran

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lekha balachandranEvery success story had a past of dejection or failure. Success is something which is sweeter when shared with all. Hence I’m going to tell you my story, the days of struggle and the better days that followed it.

Our unit comes under SME; it’s a medium scale industry. I can proudly say that I’m a successful Business woman. Not because the unit is always profitable, but because I’m giving livelihood for 35 people directly and to a few more indirectly.

After the completion of my bachelors in technology, when all my friends were running for a Government job, I wanted to do something of my own. When I shared this idea with my family, in spite of my dad being a business man himself, my parents opposed it, not even listening to what I had in mind. This was because of the mindset people had at that time, an unmarried girl wasn’t supposed to do something like that. She was supposed to get married and raise a family. Hence what followed was my marriage to Mr. Balachandran who is an electrical engineer.

After marriage when I shared this idea, my brother in law advised me to work with him to gain some experience. He was running a unit manufacturing Current Transformers, where my husband was a silent partner. I worked there for 5 years. At that time my husband was working as a marketing manager for an electrical company. But my brother in law made a generous offer to start something together. Hence In 1993 my brother in law and I started a new PVT LTD Co for manufacturing Distribution  Transformers and switchgears adding two more directors including my husband who was a silent partner and I. My husband continued with his old job, as we require a regular income for our means since the initial years we very hectic and a regular income was not something we could depend on.

That was a time both my daughters and my business was young. We really needed support from the family.   My sisters supported me well by taking care of my children when ever needed. We arranged for a person to look after basic household needs like cooking. I tried to work in the hours when my children were at school, always making sure to spend quality time with them.

Arranging Working capital for a new venture was the first hurdle. Even my relatives were reluctant to advance the fund. We can’t blame anybody since the political scenario in Kerala was not conducive.We enjoyed working. Passion is the most important thing which drives us forward.

When all things were in line the economy crashed during that period. That was a big blow. All the money I had saved from the job had to be put into the business. We availed for personal loans. There were times when even we didn’t even have money to clear the telephone bills. We requested financial Institutions to reschedule loan.

Realizing that more emphasis had to be given to marketing my Husband also joined in 1999 as marketing head. We purchased one more industrial plot.Our graph showed an upward steady growth. We had supplied CTs to all Electricity boards in India, NTPC, through switch gear manufactures.

But   after 19 years of smooth sailing, it started itching. Though our company was professionally managed at some point, unprofessional things came up. (Personal interests and opinions came up which we could not be settled)

Due to Difference of opinion we were forced to step out from the parent company. That was yet another blow to us. It was in 2007. I was really disturbed. I was in my early 40s and we had to start from scratch, back to square one. The only thing we got from the settlement after splitting up was an industrial plot with a small shed. And all I could think of was how impossible this all seemed.

Few of my family members supported us a lot. Some were even ready to support us financially. I was totally broken inside and was confused. At a certain point when I was reduced to tears, one of my friends told me “Hey I don’t want to see you sad, realize your potential. And be yourself. This is not suiting you”. These above lines really touched me. I got unstinted support from my husband and children too.

My husband took a job as a marketing consultant. He had faith in me. I ventured a new company. I knew the subject, the product but had zero working capital. This time we didn’t approach any financial institution as we raised our own funds, procured testing equipments.  The support from my suppliers was remarkable.  I contacted all my suppliers and explained the situation. They supplied raw materials with the condition that I could pay whenever I was able to. That was unbelievable. I realized that was the main asset I had in my professional life for last 18 years.

Establishing the brand name was the major challenge I faced after the launch of the new venture. However with the support of well wishers, contractors and consultants we slowly captured the market. My husband’s expertise  in marketing helped the co to be established. Now we are enjoying a good market share. We are now the system house for Siemens in Kerala and are the channel partner for Ring main units of Siemens make. All our products are type Tested at CPRI and we believe in Quality and Customer satisfaction. We trained a good sales and Service team too.

Never think things will always be smooth and beautiful. There will be set backs in life, try to learn from that. My father always told me that “If you want to be something in life, you have to work hard,” enjoy what you do. Unless you enjoy, you can’t make it successful.

Whenever I’m in a dilemma or crisis, I talk to someone about it. With their help, I make a decision. Crisis management is an art which has to be acquired.

In my professional life   I never felt that I‘m a woman. I was never afraid to face situations. Necessity makes us strong, a problem solver and a decision maker. I can honestly say that we never approached any authorities for any unethical favours. By proper time management we Balance home and work.

As women we have to undergo different roles in life as a wife, Daughter in law, Daughter, mother and much more. We never can ignore these essential roles which are part and parcel of life.  My motto in life is “if they can, why can’t I?” hence I would like to tell everyone to follow your dreams and never let anything pull you down and upset you.

 

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12 thoughts on “Lekha Balachandran

  1. How old are you? lekha,.u are inspiring..was the filmstory taken frm your life..proud to know you

  2. Failure is not when we fall… It’s when we fail to get up again! This has been conveyed beautifully in your story & I admire your strength. You had the good fortune of having people around you who believed in you more than you believed in yourself during the worst times which helped you find yourself again…
    May God bless you with continued success & also bless those who stood by you during the difficult times 🙂

  3. Very encouraging read!! All the best! 🙂

  4. Well done Lekha

  5. Great, story, very similar to thousands of small business owners.

  6. Thanks Suresh ,Hem ramachandranAnd Sreyus..

  7. Your story is a real inspiration to so many women out there, who have the talent, skills and a spark to do something different but are bound by the archaic society & traditions!! Great step & courage! kudos to your family & friends too!!

  8. Really inspiring, all the best

  9. Lekha chechy….Hats off to u…

  10. Excellent very much inspiring and motivational…..if there is a will there is a way…good luck

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