Woman power is a much used and much abused phrase, but it aptly defines Tara Singh Vachani.
The daughter of Analjit Singh, chairman of multi-business corporate Max India, Vachani could well have settled down to a life of leisure. But a passion for following her own dreams led her to give up this safety cushion.
Vachani, now the CEO of Antara Senior Living – a one-of-a-kind luxury housing home for the elderly – explains that her family, especially her father, made it very clear that if she wanted to succeed, she would have to do it on her own terms.
“Max India is a publicly listed company run by professionals, and not an organization where one has an automatic right to work as a child of the promoter,” she explains.
Powerful women: Entrepreneurs Tara Singh Vachani (left), and Avni Biyani (right) struggled to find out who they were as individuals and that helped them in making their business work despite facing hurdles at the beginning
But Vachani is not the only one taking off the beaten track.
Avni Biyani, the youngest daughter of Future Group founder Kishore Biyani, is exploring her own take on food through Foodhall, which unlike the Biyani offerings, is India’s premium lifestyle gourmet store.
Her venture is different from that of her father’s.
“We have launched a Spice Station, which offers a selection of over 150 rare and exotic spices and herbs from all over the world,” she says.
The results have ensured an annual growth of 40 per cent for Foodhall, with innovations still continuing. And while the fathers may have absented themselves, these daughters insist their family is very much on hand to offer advice.
However, they say that having a successful father means that expectations are sky high, especially when they choose to chart their own path.
“There is always a very high bar set early on when you have a successful lineage. Being from a business family you tend to learn about entrepreneurship and business from an early age,” Divya Modi Tongya, Vice-Chairperson of Smart Health City and daughter of Smart Global chairman BKS Modi, says.
“Even while we did know that it was an option to eventually enter the family business, at no time was it a given rule.
“My father was always very clear that it would require a lot of commitment, hard work and drive from our end and we would need to prove ourselves before we got any role in the business,” she adds.
Leadership: Divya Modi Tongya says that as a leader, her focus is to delegate well
The other thing to note is that these women entrepreneurs have some interesting tales to tell about their rise to the top.
Vachani points out that after convincing a meeting of the board of Max to support her venture in 2012, she reached an unexpected stumbling block – she found there was no license to support her venture.
“To be frank, I never expected the regulatory process to be smooth sailing. What took me by surprise was that in spite of the time we took to explain the concept and how it was unique and hence needed unique bye-laws, it yielded no results,” she says.
“Having said that, we have got a lot of support from authorities who tried their best to understand our needs, but have not still been able to customise a category for this product. Hopefully, we will get there one day.”
The other thing these entrepreneurs have struggled with is finding out who they are as individuals, and how that helps them in making their business work.
Asked why she is ideally suited to understanding the needs of the elderly, Vachani says: “I feel I am someone who trusts people and genuinely I am able to put others before myself.
“This I feel, for the stage of the business I am in, is something I value. I also am constantly focused on getting feedback – from anyone I can, on anything I can.”
Tongya agrees and says that as a leader, her focus is to delegate well.
“My prime function is to create a vision and build up a team for the right job. Building great teams is the leader’s job.”
And the daughter’s, too, it seems…..