What was your background? What were you doing before you started your own business?
Kavita - Prior to starting my business I was working for Bayer Pharmaceuticals. I worked for Bayer for 8 years, initially as a sales representative and then as Healthcare Development Manager
You started the company in 2001. Why did you do this?
Kavita - It was disappointment in my career that led me to setting up my own company.
I was told that I would never be a manager for Bayer as I did not fit the company style and certainly did not seem to have the leadership qualities they were looking for.
It is now a really successful company was this easy or has it been tough?
Kavita - Challenges are part of running a successful business and can take many forms.
Recruiting the right people and positioning them in roles where they best serve the interests of the company is a key challenge for growing businesses.
Alongside this is developing and sustaining motivation in order that people work to the best of their abilities at all times, and retaining staff after developing them.
Being a typical entrepreneur I have found it extremely difficult to relinquish control and delegate tasks to my staff. I have very high standards and am a perfectionist.
I have a fear that if employees make mistakes this can be costly to the company and our reputation and the buck does stop with me.
However I have had to relinquish some control as the company has grown and have needed to realize that mistakes can help people to develop.
What was your biggest break?
Kavita - My first contract with global giant Pfizer – at the time Oberoi Consulting was only me, however I managed to deliver the volume through the use of freelancers, frantic recruitment and doing a number of the tasks myself.
We still work with Pfizer now and have maintained the contract for 8 years.
Have there been times when you felt like giving up?
Kavita - Giving up is not an option, especially when you employ staff that rely on the income from their salaries. I have a core team of very loyal staff that share in my vision and give me their support and dedication to deliver outstanding services to our clients.
Have you ever needed to raise finance, if you did was this hard to do?
Kavita - Luckily I have not had to raise finance as Oberoi Consulting was providing a service rather than goods so there was no stock to purchase.
By working at home and delivering the initial workload myself I was able to save on outgoings and create funds for the time of growth.
Do you have any gems you can give to other women starting their own business?
Kavita - If you have passions for an idea then pursue it. To realise the dream you need excellent planning, clear goals and milestones of achievement.
If mistakes are made then use this as a learning curve so at least you know how not to do it next time. Perseverance is critical and you must not stop until you achieve your dream.
Sacrifice is also extremely important - be prepared. There is no substitute for hard work and persistence which will result in reward where there is focus on the end goal.
What’s the best bit about being your own boss?
Kavita - You can choose your own pay and income earnings. Your income is a direct reflection on your own abilities, professionalism, and ability to run a business.
You can make as much or as little as you want, depending on your efforts and the efforts of your employees.
Good entrepreneurs should end up with a lot more money in their pocket – everything you earn is yours to keep or re-invest in the business.
There is nothing worse than working somewhere where you can see all the profits being created through your efforts and your only reward is a small fraction in the form of a salary.
With your own business all the net profits are yours. Effective tax planning and money management can ensure you make the money grow once it’s earned.
Do you consider you are successful and are you still ambitious - if yes - what are these ambitions?
Kavita - Success means different things to different people. I am never satisfied and always aiming for bigger and better.
I would love Oberoi Consulting to be recognised on an international level one day.
I am also currently working on diversification into commercial properties, the conferencing business and also using my skills to support others in business through workshops and mentoring.
I am also a director with Martha’s Oasis, the charity that I met on the “Secret Millionaire” and we are trying to expand the “Sisters with Voices Programme”.
This is a programme for 13-18 year old girls. We aim to improve the expectations, achievements and life changes of young girls, especially those who may have under achieved in the past.
You recently appeared on Channel 4’s "The Secret Millionaire". What was this like and did you learn anything from it?
Kavita - The 10 days undercover was a real eye-opener for me and I found the whole experience very moving. The people I met had a profound effect on me.
The most memorable parts were meeting people who really are trying to make a difference to the lives of those in need.
I am humbled by the fact that there are individuals, despite their own commitments, working day and night to help support and encourage others to believe in their abilities and to believe that they can change their lives.
The experience has made me think about my own life and intensified my desire to be an ambassador to try and change people's lives and do my part in helping others to achieve their potential.
Who are your role models? Do you have any?
Kavita - My parents are my role models.
My mother had the foresight to empower me and push against cultural beliefs and allow me to fulfil my potential.
She gave me the determination to seek out an education. As a result, I was the first woman in my family to get a University degree and be allowed to work
My father for his entrepreneurial spirit.
My father died when I was only 15, but I will always remember how his entrepreneurial spirit inspired me.
He came to England in the 1960's with nothing, and built up a really successful business through sheer hard work and determination. In his later years he turned to philanthropy.
What’s your proudest moment?
Kavita - The opportunity to be part of the “Secret Millionaire” experience. This has been the greatest reward of my success
What do you enjoy most?
Kavita - After doing “Secret Millionaire” I really enjoy charity work, far more than I thought I would.
Kavita - Expanding Oberoi Consulting - we are always looking for new opportunities. From a personal perspective I intend to run workshops for new business start-ups and provide coaching and mentoring to those in business.
I am also currently working on setting up a conferencing business and expanding my commercial property portfolio.