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Fortune favours the brave and hard working

There is a myth that having knowledge and experience of a particular work field can surely give you success only in that field. But there are some people who contradict this myth. Manali Palande, a successful entrepreneur is one of those.

Manali (earlier Vandana Bhatkhande) got married to Rajesh Palande in 1991 in Mumbai. She had just finished her exams of Bachelors of Engineering in Industrial Electronics and was waiting for her results when she got married. Rajesh, who was also an engineer by profession, was working in a small company at the time. After marriage, they started a Process Control Instruments Manufacturing unit in Bandra.
Since both were from engineering field, her cousin father-in-law from Goa who was working as an electrical engineer in Mandovi Pellets proposed a business opportunity. He offered to give them their first manufacturing order from his company if they were ready to do business. As Manali always had a passion for owning a business, she immediately grabbed the opportunity.                     

The task began and they both started working on their first order. For the first time in her life, Manali, all alone, went to Grant Road for purchasing components required for soldering on Printed Circuit Board (PCB). Her husband, Rajesh took responsibility of designing the circuit and the PCB. They assembled the circuit, tested it and manufactured a unit which was delivered to Mandovi Pellets and their first check of Rs. 1350 was received. It wasn’t an easy task for the couple, as they were recently married and were short on money. To save money for purchasing components, in a week’s time, they repaired TV sets, fixed antennas, and more such works.
Their first order and its success proved to be of great encouragement for them to start marketing their product. For marketing purpose Manali went to Andheri, Saki Naka industrial estate to meet an industrialist after taking his appointment. As it was her first time, she was trembling because of anxiety and returned without meeting him. That day she decided either to flourish business or to turn back and shut it forever. She practised conversation that day, overcame her anxiety, took the industrialists appointment again for next day and went to meet him. She did well and got orders.

Gradually they had started design oriented work, bought electronic devices and gadgets like computers which were required for developing their business and simultaneously saved money.  Their efforts earned them orders from well-known companies like Glaxo India Ltd, Fullford (India) Ltd, Britannia Industries Ltd, Incubator Manufacturers - Vapi and more. Her husband’s support encouraged her to take a long leap of making industrial process panels. Those were integrated panels which had controllers of starting a machine, packaging and counting packages. These panels would take care of the entire process.                                                                                                
In the span of 7 to 8 years, her business had flourished rapidly and was continuing, until her younger son got extremely sick. As Manali couldn’t shut her business immediately, she decided to send her son and mother-in-law to Pune and see if the city atmosphere suits him and he gets cured. He showed signs of curing and they all shifted to Pune. Manali already had few employees and had her panels fixed at some industries.  It was becoming tedious for her to give service from Pune; she had to rush to Mumbai in case of emergencies, when Pune-Mumbai express-way was under-construction it would take her 8-9 hours to travel. This was affecting her company and her service too. Finally, in year 2000, she took a major decision to shut down the business.                                                                                              
Pune was completely a stranger city for Manali. But her urge for business couldn’t let her sit idle. As she had to start again from the scratch, she began her hunt for opportunities, visited industrial areas in Pune in search of clients and business.
When her search was going, she came across news about a 3 year old school girl’s rape by her school’s matador driver. Manali had never favoured the pick-up facility of schools for her kids; she herself would drop and pick her sons from school in her own car. Once, few mothers of girls from her son’s class approached her and requested to take their daughters in her car due to safety issues and she agreed. A rickshaw driver near the school observed this pick and drops for few days, thought pick and drop was her business and he suggested her to visit a newly opening school as they were looking for this facility.                                      
She was aware that safety of girls was a need of the hour. For 3-4 days she discussed with her family, thought about what society and relatives would say as she was an engineer and would be working like a driver. But her guts and her family support inspired her to take this chance and begin her new business. She went to school, spoke with the Principal, convinced 350 parents in the meeting as she was new in the service and got the contract.
Now, the question was of buying a bus which costed approx. 8 lakhs in year 2003. No bank was ready to give loan because she had no previous track record of commercial vehicles  and her zero-experience in this sector, also she hardly had savings from previous business; finally her father, sister and a private bank gave her loan. Another problem was of hiring a driver and a caretaker for the bus as Manali had no money left for their payment. But she found out solution. Earlier, her husband had taught her to drive car and now the passenger bus. In a month, she gave her test Read More

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