Monday Mentor: Meeta Wasan, Doon Company
Meeta Wasan, Founder and CEO, Doon Company
I have always counted Meeta as one of India’s first women entrepreneurs and have a huge amount of respect for her.
To have started a marketing services firm way back in 2004 when entrepreneur was not a good word, when marketing and services did not go together and when being a woman in a man-dominated industry was itself a tough proposition; would have taken a lot of guts and self-belief.
Today, post that ardous journey, Doon Consulting is one of the best and most respected marketing services organisation in the country and keeps growing from strength to strength.
Here are some of Meeta’s thoughts as she built her organisation.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – about your life before you became an entrepreneur.
I live with my family in Gurgaon, Haryana. I am the youngest of three children and the only daughter of my parents. I was raised in Delhi but left the country as a young adult. I had the opportunity to live and work in London, France and later on in the East Coast in the US (where both my husband and I worked with various companies). I spent my tenure in the US building an expertise around sales and marketing and continued to work in that space in the US market.
We decided to move back home in December 2003. I started Doon Consulting in March 2004 and was very fortunate to have Microsoft as our first client. Post that, we managed to grow our portfolio with some of the top IT names for clients and at a rather rapid clip.
What prompted you to become an entrepreneur? Take us through some of your thoughts as you contemplated the jump into the exciting world of entrepreneurship.
I am not sure. I think I always knew that I wanted to do something of my own.
But, when I started Doon, I distinctly recall experiencing a combination of huge focus, determination, nervousness, excitement and some fear of failure. But, I must say that I was very fortunate to find some great people/mentors who encouraged me along the way. I continue to work with most of them and am so glad to have them in my life.
Tell us something about your company. And why did you decide to start the company with this particular idea.
Doon Consulting is a Marketing Services Company. We specialize in ‘sales pipeline generation’ and services that bring our customers closer to a successful sale.
Our portfolio includes Database Services, Lead Generation + Lead Nurture Programs, Channel Management and Sales Effectiveness Programs. Our two newest services include the use of Digital Platforms, BI and Predictive Analysis to achieve even greater results. We have invited some of the industry leaders to work with us on these lines of businesses and are very excited to bring them to market.
As the head of the organisation, your people look towards you for direction, guidance and values. What are some of the key organisation values that you want your people to imbibe and form the cultural base of your company. What are the key things you believe in?
I am bit of a traditionalist when it comes to values. I personally believe that there is no compromise for hard work, commitment and a delivery of utmost quality and in time. In my mind, complete honesty, transparency and integrity are values that must never be compromised. To that effect, I will say that I work with a fantastic team that understands these values and have long imbibed them.
Entrepreneurial life is a series of ups and downs. Can you share with us some of your biggest UP and DOWN moments and what did you learn from them?
One of my biggest UP moments include when a very senior industry leader said to me recently,” Meeta, I hear great things about your work in the market place. And, I hear of your organization’s un-daunting integrity. We will be very glad to work with you and will ensure that we associate ourselves with Doon this year.”
One of my biggest down moments is when I had to pull away from a client for lack of ethical behaviour. Refusing to do business with a client is one of the hardest things that a small business and an entrepreneur can do, but, I felt that I had no choice but to stick to my core values.
Who do you consider a role model and why?
I consider my mother my role model. To my mind, she was the most incredible woman.
My mother was one of six daughters of her parents. Her family’s circumstances got her working at a very young age. I look back and see her struggle. But, she never gave up. She fought for what she believed in and worked very hard to achieve it. With that, she also managed to have a lovely family, raise three kids, be very warm, personable, welcoming and hospitable. She was also one of the most generous people I know. She is not a famous personality that gets written about but like I said, for fear of sounding clichéd – to me, she will always be my role model.
They say that the life of an entrepreneur is 24/7. How do you strike a balance between the strenuous work and the personal life that is so essential to maintain sanity.
I don’t think that I knew this art form of a balancing act when I started the company. I was not to be found at home for the first 5-6 years of having started Doon. But, I have over the years learnt to hire well, delegate more and organize our social life way in advance. I make a fair amount of effort to book tickets to the theatre, music, plan vacations, dinners, block dates etc. way in advance so I am able to do both – work and spend quality time with my family.
What advice would you give someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
- Keep your fixed costs low
- Manage your cash flow very closely
- Always deliver in time and with utmost quality
- Work hard at making your clients a huge success
- Work hard at building and maintaining trust and a trust worthy team
Let’s do a quick rapid fire round.
- Your favourite holiday destination?
- I love to travel so I have many favourite destinations – London, Goa, Barcelona…
- Your favourite food?
- Spanish, Chinese, Goan…
- Your comfort movie and/or book?
- Your most prized possession?
- My Submariner Rolex – also my 35th birthday present
- The most adventurous thing you have done?
- Skied down some of the most dangerous slopes at the Swiss Alps..
- A word or a phrase that defines your core life philosophy?
- Hard work, honesty and integrity and fun along the way.