“Heavy-lifter” Aakanksha Bhargava took over PM Relocations at 21, and exceeded even her family’s expectations with her rapid expansion
Bhargava’s parents founded PM Relocations in 1985, but the credit goes to her for scaling up operations over the past ten years. “Our revenue back in 2007 was Rs.2 crore. This year, we are confident of closing with revenue of Rs.65 crore,” says Bhargava.
The number of workers has also grown from 35 in 2007 to 535 today and the company has increased its presence from 2 cities to 14.“My father did have confidence in me right from the beginning, but he probably thought that I could maintain the business at the same level where it was. Even he didn’t think that I could bring it this far,” she says.
When she joined, she thought there would be formal training and handholding, but there was none. The relocation services industry was predominantly male-dominated and it wasn’t easy for her. “At work people assumed I would get married in a few years and leave. I wouldn’t be taken seriously when I would go for a meeting. I was very young, and people kept expecting ‘my boss’ or a male colleague to turn up,” she recalls.
She moved to Bengaluru by July 2007 to set up a new office with three other people there. Now, there are a hundred. “In 2007, one of our peons was hit by a truck and he died. A mob came to my office as a result. My father asked me if I needed him to come down, but I refused, telling him I would manage. And I did. There were several other similar challenges that came my way, which I managed on my own,” she recounts.
After Bengaluru came Hyderabad. Today, her ever-expanding business has taken Bhargava to 34 countries, where PMR, with the help of local partners, helps clients relocate from different countries to India.
Bhargava officially became CEO in 2012. Another crisis she faced soon after, in 2013, was when a global player that contributed to PMR’s growth was assigned to an international player. The business, close to Rs.10 crore and a third of its topline then, suddenly vanished, halting the company’s growth for two years. “It shook me. I was just 26. But I didn’t fire a single person. We pulled back by adding more clients,” says Bhargava. Not only that, she also managed to add over 30 clients in the next one year.
Bhargava is far from satisfied with her laurels. “By 2020, I want revenue to be R.100 crore,” she boldly proclaims.