SME Magazine caught up with entrepreneur and business adviser Darshana Ubl to talk about the Verve Rally, her toughest challenges - and how she got into the Guinness Book of Records.
You have a wide experience in growing small businesses. What would you say sets apart your business?
Whatever I do, I give it my 100%... unless I am donating blood. It may sound a cliché but it is the focus, determination and the hard work along with the right strategy that set me apart.
What three things must an SME get right if it is going to succeed?
SMEs must understand what the market needs, find out what they like and give them something they would love. To succeed businesses need loyal customers.
What kind of companies do you work with? How do you improve their strategies?
I consult businesses whose revenues range for early seven to eight figures. I work on a strategic level to help them focus on their brand and also growth through partnerships. I use the principles of the ‘Triple Win' method, which I spoke of at a Tedx Talk recently.
What have been your toughest challenges?
The toughest challenge was when I moved to London in 2011 in the midst of recession and started my very first business. It was hard getting things moving during those early days without the right infrastructure and support around me. Luckily, the tough times didn’t last, but the tough people did!
And what was your biggest mistake?
You learn and grow through your mistakes. They are the stepping-stones to success. I have made a few mistakes in business but the biggest perhaps would be focusing on a sector that dealt with low margin goods.
You support various women-led initiatives. Which ones have pleased you most?
I am passionate about helping women in business and sharing with them what I have learnt through my experience. I have been a part of Women’s initiatives run by companies like Alibaba and WorldPay and have delivered keynotes for Virgin’s Women in business and the Global Woman Summit. What I have enjoyed the most has been raising money for Cherie Blair Foundation, which supports women in need in Third World countries.
Tell us how you won a place in the Guinness Book of Records?
In 2014, I was a CEO of a training company and with the support of partners we launched a campaign to win the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of people speed networking. Seemingly easy at first, this record was a whole different kettle of fish with a list of terms and conditions. We could not have done this by ourselves and so we worked alongside our partners and also our clients in the spirit of Triple Win to win the record.
You are currently part of the Verve Rally. Tell us about that.
The Verve Rally mixes adventure with luxury lifestyle. It is a carbon neutral, nine-day event Reims, Lyon and Nice, before winding north to Lake Como, Lucerne, and the Alps. But it is not a challenge of speed or endurance - it is like-minded people on a holiday enjoying the sights and scenes whilst spending time in luxurious hotels. The ethos behind the Verve Rally is to celebrate life and everything within it. It's about enjoying your car and enjoying where it can take you. Beautiful roads are integral to any road trip. Verve Rally blends these and their spirit of adventure with a focus on relaxation and entertainment. A collection of luxury cars cruising across Europe is usually as far from eco-friendly as you can be but not this one. Through a partnership with the PATT Foundation and Treedom, Verve Rally offsets its carbon footprint by planting trees across the world. To find out more go to www.ververally.com
Sum up your business approach in a few words
Passion. Hard work. Gratitude