She began by posting details of her trip to Sikkim on Facebook and when she was able to find two friends to travel with her and the idea of F5 escapes was born. Now, F5 Escapes acts as an alternate travel company, focused on providing offbeat travel experiences to the urban woman. They also provide custom itineraries for women groups and families. We chat with Malini about the venture.
An Excerpt from the Interview:
• What has been the key to your business’s success?
We are a very young startup. I believe we still have miles to go before we can answer this question. But one thing is for sure -Persistence and Perseverance play an important role in the success of any entrepreneur.
• What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
oMaking women believe in us is the biggest challenge. Our quality of service has helped us in a big way to overcome the first hurdle.
For example, within a few months into the venture, we have ladies who have been on more than two trips already! They also come back to us for their own travel needs, which has been a very encouraging sign. o Conversion of leads.
o Attracting good talent, being a bootstrapped company.
• Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business? Yes. Mr. Amit Singh, Founder of Wow Labz and Co-founder of Headstart Network Foundation is my mentor.
• Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations? We do use a few cloud based software services for our business needs. The availability of software as an online service is a boon to small entrepreneurs like us. We are looking at using Quickbooks too.
• What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
Highest quality of service. Detailed safety checklists, recommendations from fellow women travelers, recess to the resorts are a few things that we consistently do to ensure customer satisfaction.
We have launched our local event series called ‘Just Go’ in Bangalore – this is a travel series on women and travel and we hope this will help us build that much needed community of women travelers. Our first event with the theme ‘I want to break free’ was received very well. It has also got us a lot of media exposure.
• What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I am not one yet! But based on my experience so far, I see that being resilient is one of the most important qualities. The right attitude to build the necessary aptitude is also essential. Courage to face failure is mandatory too. Plan a trip with F5Escapes: http://www.f5escapes.com/ Like them on Facebook: F5Escapes