Four business lessons 2016 taught me

Entrepreneur and Be Kind Movement founder, Premila Puri Makh, explains why a collaborative approach to business and life can benefit us all. As well as why 2017 will be a year to give back...

On top of founding Be Kind Movement, a charity which looks to raise funds for disadvantaged children and women in the areas of poverty and education in the UK and India, Premila is also a television and film producer and a corporate headhunter with 15 years of experience.

But Premila’s main passion is her charity. Generosity and love to other people, including a desire to help our world, is what motivates her. She was born in Mumbai, where her father was a mechanical engineer in the Indian navy. When he left, he became a fashion entrepreneur and moved to Holland. So Premila had some family experience of how to run a successful business.

Having studied at the International School of The Hague she continued her education in the UK, where she studied Law and Management Science followed by a MPhil in Marketing.

Here is some advice from this young, successful Indian-origin entrepreneur and philanthropist, about how a collaborative approach to businee can pay dividends.

  • Try to be kind and friendly to everyone you meet on your journey as,  Premila says: "The kindest heartfelt support can sometimes come from absolute strangers."
  • If there is a breakdown, it is better to stop for a moment and take some time out. Everyone wants to prove to themselves and to the world that they are the best achiever, but we all need time to recharge. Taking time out is nothing to do with being weak. Taking a pause can help you become even  stronger.
  • Don’t pay too much attention to what other people say. Be confident about what you are doing. Premila says: "You have nothing to prove and if anyone judges, ultimately it reveals more about their choices and behaviours than yours."

2016 has taught Premila a few lessons, in both business and life. So what has she taken from the last 12 months?

  • Always improve your skills and do that by gaining new experience. This year Premila coached a talented model-cum-actor and enjoyed the experience.
  • Don’t get disappointed at an early stage and never lose hope! Try to find a supportive partner who will bolster you on your journey to success. If there is no one yet, read mentoring and advice books. Premila says that these are "beyond valuable".
  • Do not render yourself vulnerable by trusting everything that you are told. Always aim to protect your position by signing an agreement. Here you have to be attentive and consider twice whether you should trust someone or not. Premila recommends: "Irrespective of if it's your fairy godmother who’s introduced you to an investor, focus on the nuts and bolts. And trust your gut! If something doesn't feel right, walk away!"
  • Be aware that the start-up journey is a long one, especially for businesses that do not manufacture products or sell services. Raising funds can be a hard and endurance-testing task, Premila notes: "It can be a lonely journey for a producer, and often a thankless one". However, don’t allow yourself to get down on account of your circumstances! Staying  forever inspired is a great motivation for achieving success. Puri Makh shares her experience. "For me, setting up the Be Kind Movement has been a blessing! It reminds me how lucky I am. But equally, it is a constant reminder of how much we still need to do to bring this world back into equilibrium."

What is Premila hoping to give back in 2017?

In 2017 the Be Kind Movement is going to raise more support for the more underprivileged amongst us. The charity just started two fund - raising projects; Helping Eaves, which is concerned with the rehabilitation of homeless women and the Easwaramma Foundation, which is focused on girl child education. In future, the Be Kind Movement is keen to spread the message of kindness through media initiatives.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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