Successful Woman Entrepreneur - 17 Years and Going Great Guns

Can you give a small intro about yourself?

A woman entrepreneur, engaged in the business of air-conditioning, we are channel partners for Daikin Air Conditioning (I) Ltd., engaged in projects of VRV, Ductables and Room air-conditioners.  We offer complete cooling solutions and have been in the business for the last 17 years.  My name is Sukanya Sriram, and I am one among the few thousand women entrepreneurs chosen and trained by Goldman Sachs at the Indian School of Business and awarded a certificate    

How did you get into this profession? What is YOUR story?

My entry into the business was more out of a necessity.  My husband Sriram is an engineer and had a unit that was making room air-conditioners in Pondicherry.  As an offshoot there was a need for a service set up in Chennai and so I started at home, moved to a small office, and started to cater to the servicing and maintenance of the air-conditioners that his company had sold.  We started taking up AMCs and once we were successful we moved on to the business of sales and service, providing complete cooling solutions for the customer. 

How long have you been running this business successfully?

Have been in the industry close to 17 years, and we are still growing.  Our success is measured more in terms of our clients rather than the money we make. 

Can a woman who is interested in doing ANY business enter into this business of selling air-conditioners?

I think women are extremely smart species in the universe.  They are doing the most difficult job of nurturing a family and therefore anything else is just simple for them.  I was a novice when I got into the business.  If we can learn the trick of the trade, I think it becomes easy, especially when we are committed to work hard.

Is this a man’s world? If it’s not can you provide some references?

Personally, I think it is a world where we have equal opportunities.  Women are capable of doing things better than most men.  But there is still a gender bias where we ourselves restrain our mind more that we are not capable of doing things that men are capable of doing.  Women are in the army, the air force, women have reached Mount Everest, and women are everywhere! Women are world leaders, and are simply capable of doing almost anything. This is my view.

Which woman business person has influenced you? How did they change the way you run your business? Have you met them in person?

I am always at awe when I see women entrepreneurs.  From small to big, every woman entrepreneur is a wonder.  My first was my mother, she was a retired principal and when my father retired, they moved to Hyderabad and she started selling sarees. She very soon added value with embroidery and prints on it.  It was a small business, but her commitment was simply awesome. 

Others are my friends in the Indian School of Business, entrepreneurs who juggle home and work extremely efficiently. Be it online businesses, garments, flowers, or restaurants, they do it so well.  These people are my role models, each one for a different reason!

What would be your one important tip/suggestion/ advise that you would like to give to an aspiring business woman?

Simply don’t let go! Just do it! You may have so many to discourage you but you should never give up!

What is the best and worst decisions you have ever made in your professional journey?

There are no best or worst decisions.  We learn each time, sometimes we make mistakes, but more often they are not very big that has affected anything too badly.
Best decision was to expand, and that opened up a lot of new opportunities.

Can you share two of your funny customer experiences?

One was when one of my customers insisted her room was full of water because water was dripping from the air-conditioner indoor unit even when the aircon was off.  This baffled me and finally after a lot of inspection, we realized it was a room below the water tank and water was dripping from the ceiling in one corner very minutely. It took an entire day to find and finally we managed to prove we were not responsible for the water leak.  The customer was a light hearted person and even told me that she was happy that my unit was generating water out of nothing and it could be a wonder!

Other than that we have had customers who have been rough in the beginning but once they see our work, they become customers for life.
What is the best part of being a woman business owner?

I’m truly proud.  For my boys I am like a mother taking care of them, they all stay in-house and it’s more like an extended family.  My time is never fixed, I can manage to take off from work if I want to, attend family get-togethers or my social functions.  My time is very flexible.  Being economically independent is a blessing. 

What makes you happy?

My work, my family everything makes me happy. 

Technocrat Engineers
Plot No. 29, II Street
Ganesh Nagar
GK Industrial Estate
Chennai 600 116.
Ph: 044 4769490 Mobile:+919841827361 

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