As I grew up, I saw my mother take very good care of us but she did not prioritize her own health and well-being. Today, it pains me to see her bedridden at just the age of 72.
I wish to create a different future for myself and others. I started exercising 23 years back; I was studying then. Today, I am 45 and a mother of two; an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old. I am a Kathak dancer, work like a maniac and yet I feel happy and I feel healthy. The fear of being bedridden like my mother keeps me going.
Fitness has played an integral role in my life in shaping my confidence, determination, resilience and happiness.
Navitae – The Venture
I started thinking of a fitness venture in 2016. Other than the knowledge of health and fitness, I had no idea about anything else. I did not know how to start or run a business, I did not know how to price and sell my services. I was lost!
I used LinkedIn to reach out to people in the industry, asked friends and relatives in business for their advice and guidance. I registered Navitae and took off in Jan 2017.
“To start all that is needed is a) strong sense of purpose and b) grit. Everything else keeps falling in place”
Registering a trademark and company, getting a website and a logo was an essential yet easy step. It was difficult to figure out pricing, getting the first customer, branding and selling. I reached out to people knowledgeable in running businesses and sought their advice and mentoring.
They helped me understand that initial pricing has to be competitive yet not so low as to undermine the value of the service. They advised me to reach out and connect with people by sharing my expertise through blogs, YouTube videos, social media posts and articles. This regular practice has helped me in positioning and branding myself.
Many of my mentors actively advocated my services to their acquaintances. I try my best to return their goodwill by helping them with what I can.
“Mentors, guides, advisors and advocates are essential through the lifecycle of an entrepreneur’s journey”
In 2017, I started as a personal trainer in my apartment complex’s gym with 2 clients. A personal training slot runs for an hour. Even if I made it a group training, realistically, how many people could I impact? If I had to impact more people’s lives, clearly this model would not work. Meanwhile, my effort of sharing knowledge through social media was working. I started getting requests from friends in India and overseas to help them with their fitness.
“Only technology could solve the problem of scaling up and reaching out to people globally.”
Growing with Technology
By December 2017, Navitae had an online platform and people could join us from any part of the world. Our programs do not need sophisticated equipment or a gym. Our customers can follow our programs at a location of their choice and a place of their convenience. The plans are personalized to suit their needs, lifestyle and fitness level.
Digital yet Personal is our mantra.
Technology helps to deliver the programs and monitor our customers’ progress over time. Our programs are rooted in four foundational values – health first, injury-free, convenience and sustainability.
In order to expand, we were actively collaborating with physicians and other health and fitness providers who had a similar customer base.
By 2019 we had corporate customers and a rapidly growing retail customer base. To manage scale, deliver better services and maintain our commitment, we needed a team with complementary skills. We brought in a Fitness Operations Manager and a Customer Service Manager to address all our customer needs and requirements. Our team steadily grew from there.
We are very careful in selecting our people. Every member of our team is highly customer focussed and live by the 4 above-mentioned values of Navitae.
“A strong team which shares common values is important for an organization’s growth”
Association with StartupSquares in 2019 helped us take Navitae to a different level. They mentored and provided timely guidance on many issues that start-ups face.
Change is the only constant
2020 has been unprecedented, with the pandemic disrupting our lives. During these tough times, we were able to re-direct many people’s attention towards their health and help them find a new purpose in their life. Our programs gave them the ability to stay fit within the confines of their homes.
“Provide empathy to the customer during tough times and be ready to change your offering to suit their needs”
In Aug 2020, I was awarded the Times SheUnLTD rising star Entrepreneur award by Times of India Group for my work at Navitae. Navitae was selected from over 6000 applicants across the nation and from over 300 finalists.
We started with just one person and today have grown into a solid team of complementary talents. I started with 2 clients in my apartment complex and today we manage over 75 subscriptions per month in India and Overseas, as well as 4 corporate clients. Our customer base has grown through word of mouth and so has our reputation.
A happy customer is a loyal customer and that brings in more business. Reputation is managed through consistent and on-time deliveries, accepting and addressing mistakes, diligently working on feedback, staying steadfast on promises made to customers.
“Reputation has to be actively managed.”
Over these years we have helped people stay fit and achieve their personal goals of running a marathon, perform dance recitals, trek and also have helped them achieve their health goals of managing cholesterol, diabetes, PCOS, Hypertension, back pain, knee pain etc.
We want to impact more lives and create a fitter, healthier and a happier future for more people.