Her Business Travel (HBT) is a startup founded by Dr. Khushbu Pandya. It is a India’s first platform for a Women Business Travellers.
It was on a lonely business trip to Bangalore that I decided to create community of women business travellers. The idea was there stuck in my mind for a very long time. As I travel for my business a lot, I have to take many decisions about the stay, local travel, safety checks, places to hang out after work, healthy food options near my stay, female friendly hotels, hotel safety issues, and the list goes on, says Khushbu.
We at Bangalore Insider had the opportunity to catch up with Khushbu, the founder of Her Business Travel and to know more about the startup, read her inspiring story.
Give a brief info about your startup?
HER BUSINESS TRAVEL (HBT) is a India’s first platform for Women Business Travellers. It is a place to find all essential stuff that women in business needs. HBT aims to ease every woman’s business travel and help them make informed decisions.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
It was on a lonely business trip to Bangalore that I decided to create community of women business travellers. The idea was there stuck in my mind for a very long time. As I travel for my business a lot, I have to take many decisions about the stay, local travel, safety checks, places to hang out after work, healthy food options near my stay, female friendly hotels, hotel safety issues, and the list goes on. All these along with my work. Because when you travel for work, the challenges and decision differ than the usual holiday travel.
Hence, I decided that there has to be a community of females like me who can help each other discover things at their cities. This can be really helpful in terms of saving research time, taking informed decisions and making right choices.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
HBT is an initiative under Konvophilia Communications Pvt. Ltd. – my first start up company. I Founded Konvophilia in 2010 and there is an interesting story attached to it as well. Konvophilia was merely a Facebook page while I was doing my Ph.D. The page was created to share my research findings about social media and its effects on consumer behaviour. In January 2014 I successfully achieved my Doctorate and that changed my life because I happen to be the first person in India to hold Ph.D. in Social Media Domain. Later the same page transformed into my startup business that deals in social media training and consulting agency. Konvophilia is the oldest and first social media agency based in Gujarat.
I also heading a digital news channel – Connect Gujarat, where my role is to manage it team and to grow business through creative partnerships.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
HBT is based out of Gujarat. Social Media and connectivity is essential for building this community and thats why I don’t think destination matters.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
I am working in an industry where one needs to stay creative 24/7, churning out new ideas for clients and community. Also, It is often said that it is not about ideas but the implementation of those ideas. So I am always paranoid about how can i stay sustainable and put ideas into action with limited access to skilled resources.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
Well I have never cared about competitions and because i believe that competition is about us. As i said earlier it is always about how one puts idea into actions.
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
Instead of balance, I try to kind of blended it well. Work always stays a priority for me. this fact is known by my family as staying passionate and working for ones dream is running in my genes. My husband too has his own company and a partner in my firm too. So we have blended our work in our life.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
No. I am bootstrapped. If I find like minded partners, will be looking forward for collaboration.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
The biggest misconception that people have about me is that as I hold a Ph.D. degree I would know every minute detail of social media technology. Well, its not the scenario. This technology evolves and updates every second so i might not know the technical updates but I am surely a go-to person for sharing insights on how can effective marketing be done on these channels because i spare considerable amount of time in researching the basics and fundamentals of social media marketing. Channels may come and go, but human behaviour fundamentals remains same on every channel.
What gets you excited about this company?
The idea of HBT excites me because i have personally gone through such situations. I know many other women from different countries going through the same. Be it India or Abroad, women business travellers face same issues and challenges for the fact that they are women. and hence this connects them to come forward and help each other with useful information.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
The usual day starts with morning chores that includes 20 minutes of workout followed by getting ready, breakfast, prepping & packing lunch, and driving to office. Major pre lunch time is spent on team meeting to check if anyone needs my help or ideas on anything, checking up on emails and social media, writing articles, collaborating with writers and editors for HBT, checking up on my social media managers for client’s social media assignments.
Lunch is always with all my team members around 1:30. Post lunch, I sit to write my video scripts. Around 4 is always a good tea break. If i am travelling, I try winding up early so that i can head out to explore the city or shopping essentials or gifts for my loved ones. I end up the day after dinner at 8 and watch a show or movie to unwind. That’s how the day rolls for me.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
This is an interesting question for me because each person was hired through a reference or a casual meeting. My social media manager was once my student at a college i used to go for visiting lectures on social media marketing. Another team member was a friend of my friend whom we visited just casually. Later in our conversation she mentioned that she is looking for a job and exactly that moment we were looking for the same skills. Other team members are hired through references from personal and professional network. We do interview them to know their skills and commitment levels. Most important factor for us is passion, as i strongly believe that if the person is passionate about his work, and shares same ideologies and thoughts as us, it becomes lot more easy for me to demand the creative output.
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