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Sharon Lobo

IWB Blogger

Simmi Bhasin Molds Women Entrepreneurs Into Winners Through Social Media

  • IWB Post
  •  September 13, 2017

Handling a single woman is tough! And here is someone managing 9500 women.

Simmi Bhasin has been a part of the corporate space for 23 years and still found it difficult to establish herself in a new city. This may seem like a problem to some, but she managed to turn it into an opportunity by starting an organization known as Women Who Win. A  platform for Women Entrepreneurs, Startups, Freelancers, Consultants, Mom entrepreneurs to help you to fulfill their business aspirations. She motivates them through networking meets and educational boot camps. There are even assigned days for all members to promote their businesses.

With such a great network of women and plans for expansion, Simmi opens up about the problems that come across her way and how challenging this role can get sometimes. She also shares her first job experiences to make sure we all aim to fulfill our dreams.

How did you decide to make other women winners?

I was working for this International Sports company that was promoting soccer in India. Unfortunately, it had to close down, so I went on to start my own venture with my colleague in 2005. It was an HR firm, and I was a part of it till 2011, but then my husband moved to Mumbai. With my career graph and right connections, I thought it would be effortless to get a new job. That’s when I realized that I had to re-start my career and so I started this group to help other women like me. Slowly it started growing and became bigger than my recruitment company.

So, you decided to take it up full time

Women who win came out of a passion for connecting people. I have around 23 years of corporate experience, most of it as an HR. So, I knew I could place people the right people at the right places. That seemed a good enough reason to do it full time. At Women who win we do events, networking, collaborations and run WhatsApp groups. People are doing good business, and there are many success stories that keep me going.

Share with us some success stories as well

There are so many. There is a lady from Pondicherry who sells oil through my group, and she is making huge profits. Even I know of this woman who bakes cookies at home and sells it through the group. We are even soon coming up with a video to bring out these wonderful people who have done such well in our groups.

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You are very keen to keep the Facebook group closed too

I didn’t want to make it public because then everybody looks at it as a source of data. Once you have access to so many women entrepreneurs, the data can be highly misused, which I wanted to avoid at all costs.

9500 women, how do you keep them connected?

It is tough, but now I have a team to split up the work. We have divided Mumbai into zones, and every zone now has an Admin. It’s like an organization I have managed to create. We just launched in Pune and now have three coordinators there. Everybody does have a regional head as well, so the responsibility gets divided.

Seems like a challenging task

So, the first challenge that I face is when everyone is so stuck up with promoting their own product. They all like to sell within their comfort zone whereas I keep pushing them to explore. When we have zonal events, a person from Malad should come to Powai to display their products so that they can expand their market. The second challenge is technology, not everyone is well versed with Social Media. They want to do everything on WhatsApp and not try mediums like Facebook and Instagram that can bring much more revenue to them. It’s difficult to make them understand these dynamics.

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It must be a challenge to win financially

When I do events, I try and get sponsorships. Our groups have one day of free promotion, but if someone wants to do it for more than a day, we have started doing paid promotions recently. It’s a minimal amount that we take from others, and most of it is invested by me. I would definitely try and see if I can get any sort of funding for this organization.

You do a lot of events

The whole purpose of doing this is for people to do business. If I just do one event hardly anyone will benefit from it. So, during this Ganpati festival, we thought of a concept where every region will have their own bazaar, and one person will host it. Instead of just having a networking event where people pay, they could also display their products, and in the bargain, a lot of networking is happening too. We also had a Chak De Indian Photo event done by one of the bloggers in the group. We even had our Chief Minister’s wife Amruta Fadnavis be part of one of our events.

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Tell us about your experience coming from Delhi to Mumbai

WWW would not happen if I did not come to Mumbai. Also, it gave me the courage because when you are outside your comfort zone, you’re fearless. I had created a goodwill in Delhi and coming to Mumbai and doing it all over again was a difficult task. But I feel Mumbai is very welcoming whereas Delhi is a little closed. People were ready to listen to me, and in my first meet, I had 24 people with only a few pamphlets. It was very encouraging, I didn’t know anybody, and I didn’t think anyone would turn up. When I shared this idea with my mentors during my course in ISB, they said nobody would come to me since I am no celebrity, but I think I have proved them wrong.

You also proved many people wrong in your first job when English became a major barrier

(Laughs) Where did you even find this?

I did a little bit of research

That’s good. So, in my first job, I got into the hotel industry and that too in the Public Relation sector. They told me my English isn’t perfect because I had a little bit of the Punjabi accent. But I never felt bad about it, I took that up as a challenge and decided to work on it. In a week, the head again checked on me, and I managed to retain that job.

You also come from a very traditional family

One major thing I noticed is my parents had been supportive, but they could not guide me. I feel I wasted a lot of time finding my own path. Traditionally, they are from a business family so they didn’t know what I was doing and even now they don’t know what I am doing. In the initial years if I had got the encouragement I get now, I wouldn’t have been struggling so much. My commitment and loyalty have helped me through the way.

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Are you planning on creating a standard module for WWW?

As of now, I am doing one on one. We are planning to come up with a module where we could do workshops for these start-ups. Currently, at this point, it becomes very difficult for me to manage it. Some ladies are trying to use shortcuts and peel off from others works, all these things are very shocking to me. I come from a corporate world, and I have never seen something like this. It is important to get them organized.

Expansion seems to be on the cards

In a year or two, we want to give a structure to it. Every year I do a big event where we do exhibitions, networking and offer certain services. I want to continue that and start one of those in every region. We want to go all out on online as well. We go have a lot of plans for the coming months.

One advice to women entrepreneurs.

Be consistent. Be committed. Be loyal.

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