“At Stalwart World, we are obsessed with continually raising the bar by delivering world class service to our customers, partners & our team of Stalwarts.”
Divyashikha Gupta (CEO & MD, Stalwart World)
The long and winding journey of entrepreneurship is not one that’s meant for the faint-hearted. And yet there are some who are destined to go down that very road in a bid to answer their inner most call. Bearing testimony to this is Ms Divyashikha Gupta, CEO & MD Stalwart World, who despite being a management graduate from Asia’s finest business schools, chose to give up a comparatively cushy corporate career in favour of pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams.
The entrepreneurial bug bit Divyashikha at the tender age of eight, long before the term ‘start-up’ became a key buzzword in India’s professional world. Even as a child, she was clear about not wanting to do a job. Her parents’ support only ignited her passion for creation further, and what ensued was countless conversations at the dinner table discussing possible business ideas with her parents, unlike most children her age whose dinner-time companion was the television.
Her encouraging family’s feedback and suggestions only contributed further to the refining of her thinking process and as she grew older, the seed of thought to become a creator blossomed naturally into a desire to become an entrepreneur. This desire coupled with passion and determination made leaving behind the baggage of comfort, familiarity and predictability fairly easy as she embarked on her journey. What beckoned was the far more enticing and exciting adrenaline rush; the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that only the entrepreneurial journey could offer.
And so, it was at age 27, barely a few years after being in a job, that Divyashikha quit a largely promising corporate career to embark on her life-fulfilling mission, with the creation of Stalwart World in 2009.
COMMUNICATION: HER ENTREPRENEURSHIP PHILOSOPHY CORNERSTONE
Most entrepreneurs are natural leaders. And as Divyashikha puts it, “two-way communication is the key component of effective leadership since it fosters an open and diverse work environment.”
Another key focus area for her is listening to feedback and catching on to subtle nuances from conversations with clients, teams & stakeholders. She believes that constructive feedback goes a long way in helping improve individual as well as team performance, thereby enabling an organisation’s growth in existing avenues as well as in diversifying into newer endeavours.
Her mantra for her team’s business-making decisions is to make sure that each decision is favourable for every entity in the value-chain.
STALWART WORLD: FOSTERING BUSINESS GROWTH
Headquartered in Mumbai, Stalwart World partners with like-minded entrepreneurs to create self-sustaining and scalable business models driven by technology and innovation. With service delivery in more than 100 cities and proven pan India expertise, Stalwart World has 4 entities each focussing on distinct businesses.
Stalwart Business Consortium LLP:
SBCL is India’s First & Only 360 Degree Integrated Sales Implementation Organization in India that partners with FMCG brands to increase Sales & Markets.
It partners with F&B and FMCG brands to help them Sell More, Sell Fast and Sell Often by offering its clients tangible retail sales & distribution solutions at affordable and competitive commercials to build their presence in general trade, modern trade, HORECA channels, and market places to name a few.
Currently, Stalwart Business Consortium LLP is working towards building:
- India’s largest and widest Sales & Distribution Network
- India’s fastest growing FMCG Sales Team to offer a Plug N Play sales infrastructure to the clients
- India’s fastest Route to Market company that makes market entry easier, affordable, and hassle-free for FMCG brands
Stalwart Management Consulting (SMC):
Stalwart Management Consulting is an HR solutions company that maps talent for organizations’ human capital requirements. It has across-the-board expertise in crafting solutions that create seamless, cost-effective & impactful human resource solutions to help build sustainable and competitive teams for its clients.
As demand for quality talent surges, Stalwart Management Consulting leverages on its experience by providing talent solutions that suit client needs across sectors. The solutions SMC offers range from talent acquisition, advisory, and consulting solutions to HR Analytics and outsourcing, which makes it the proud and preferred talent solutions partner of some of the top Fortune 100 companies globally.
Stalwart Wellness is a wellness programme that ensures the all-round wellness of its partner businesses’ employees throughout their employment cycle with the concerned partner. Through its in-depth understanding of the wellness needs of an organisation’s workforce, Stalwart Wellness helps in creating impactful and holistic wellness interventions aimed at optimising its human capital output.
Its holistic approach focuses not only on physical healthcare services but also on mental and emotional aspects of wellness and well-being. ‘Wonder Woman’ for instance, is a mix of preventive health checks and wellness solutions that help working women excel in their respective professional fields. Similarly, ‘Fit For Life’ is a personalized health programme focussing on cardiac care, weight loss, and diabetes management.
Stalwart Wellness uses multiple communication channels like email, telephone and social media to establish a strong rapport with its audiences and deliver efficacious outcomes.
Stalwart-YOU 7.0 is another of Stalwart World’s offerings; a unique Learning Organization that makes learning 100% experiential and links business objectives to outcomes. A step in the direction of building the workforce of the future, it uses concepts from performing arts like films, music, and drama to design distinctive learning calendars for many multinational companies across the world.
SBCL: STALWART WORLD’S FLAGSHIP OFFERING
Stalwart Business Consortium enables early or growth stage FMCG brands enter the retail market by taking on their entire sales & market responsibilities. “Stalwart specialises in optimizing cost-of-selling for its partner FMCG brands and also brings predictability in the volume of their sales over time,” Divyashikha explains.
With their Sales & Distribution, Marketing and Revenue solutions outsourced to a Sales Partner provided by SBLC, brands can focus entirely on strengthening their manufacturing/sourcing and product portfolio.
SBCL’s clientele includes early-stage brands interested in entering retail markets and growth stage brands looking for market and channel expansion.
Divyashikha’s client philosophy hinges on strong client relationships and providing in-depth market intelligence regardless of their current organisation size and share. Uniformity in the quality of service for clients across scale and stage is what she consistently advocates. As she puts it, “Today’s small companies could be the big organizations of tomorrow, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to be a trusted and loyal partner entrusted with fuelling the growth of an organization.”
DIVYASHIKHA’S CORE VALUES
Divyashikha nurtures her businesses with the core values of responsibility, independence, transparency, professionalism, accountability, and code of ethics, which she believes are the basic tenets of corporate governance. “Stalwart World has always focused on corporate governance as a means to maximize long-term stakeholder value through disciplined & sustained growth and value creation,” she states.
DEALING WITH CHALLENGES
Being a first-generation entrepreneur augments the intensity of challenges that the entrepreneurial journey throws up. The risks and roadblocks involved in setting up and running a business, and the accompanying mental and emotional upheavals and churns are enough to unnerve the stoutest of spirits, and it was no different in Divyashikha’s case.
One of the first moments of truth that confronted her was the challenge of hands-on management of finances on a daily basis. Forced to keep track of every expense incurred, it’s a habit that’s now been ingrained in her and that has held the company in good stead over the last 13 years.
Additionally, as a business owner, she’s had to don multiple hats, while assuming roles from sales and accounting to marketing, operations, and human resources. “During the initial days of the company, I realized that I needed to fit into as many roles as possible to first understand the finer nuances of my businesses and then organize them to achieve my strategic objectives,” she recalls.
A business is nothing without its people. Divyashikha realised this early on and made sure that she used this insight to carefully handpick her core team as well as her ancillary teams. Today, by her own admission she’s lucky and privileged to have a core team and an employee base that has stood by her in times of uncertainty amidst changes in organisational structures and functions.
MISSION & VISION STATEMENTS
Divyashikha envisions Stalwart World as a world-class, people-centric organization focussed on engaging with and delighting all its internal and external partners and stakeholders through cutting-edge and innovative services; thereby setting benchmarks in domestic and international markets.
In her words, “At Stalwart World, we are obsessed with continually raising the bar by delivering world class service to customers, partners & our team of Stalwarts .”
ADVICE FOR BUDDING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
- To succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
- Shatter the glass ceiling, get out of your comfort zones. Find your calling. Believe that it’s possible, not because you need to but because that’s what you were born for!
WORDS THAT INSPIRE HER
‘Wanting to win or Waiting to Win’ is common to all…! But, ‘Working to Win’ is the mark of a champion.