Shilpa Mehta is the co-owner of electronics company Production Logix and a member of the global non-profit group known as the Entrepreneurs' Organisation (EO).
"I am vegetarian and a total foodie! Apart from food, travel is another one of my passions and lets me see the world with new eyes every time. I also love my exercise and try to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle in a very dynamic high-pressure environment," Mehta tells Fin24.
She co-owns Production Logix with her brother, Ushir, who is an industrial engineer.
Being a CA by profession, Mehta had an excellent grounding and understanding of the fundamentals of finance, good corporate governance and risk mitigation, but she knew from the beginning it wasn't her passion.
"I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I guess it was destined and pre-determined in a way that I would be an entrepreneur. When we get together as a family and meet, we either talk about travel or business," she says.
Her family had started off in the print industry and over time the barriers to entry became quite low and it became a highly competitive market.
"We wanted to be involved in an industry that was growing and something that was quite niche with high barriers to entry and very technology driven. Which is how we ended up in the electronics sector," she explains.
The biggest challenge was that their customer base was quite concentrated and largely focused in Durban and when one of their customers was quiet it would impact the business.
"So, we had to get quite innovate in terms of generating new business. The lead times in our industry are quite long as well so it has taken some time," she says.
"We had to work extremely hard in diversifying our customer base and entering new markets, which took between 18 to 24 months. The general market and trading conditions were quite flat as well which made it that much more challenging."
They always said they know what they are good at and they need to stick to their core strengths and implemented a strategy of becoming an innovative solution provider.
"We get involved from project inception creating sustainable new business. We also looked at different industries that we could start supplying and had to work closely with the relevant bodies in those industries so that we could gain traction faster," she adds.
They have managed to streamline the business and its processes and have introduced a great deal of technology. This has helped them to become a stronger more powerful business with a good foundation, great people and culture.
"We are working on so many different and exciting projects at the moment. Some of these projects require us to add additional equipment and, because we are a technology business, we are required to build on our innovation and production capabilities to give our customers a cutting-edge product. So high tech state of the art equipment will always be our focus," she says.
Her advice to would-be entrepreneurs is that it is really important to make sure your message is heard and to be confident and assured in what you believe in and that you leave the table with your message heard and acknowledged.
She says not to take the first "no" you receive as the final answer – keep trying until you have exhausted every avenue.
Thirdly, she advises to set the standard high and demand excellence from those around you.
"The growth of any entrepreneur lies with a really strong motivated team that shares your vision and will do what it takes to see it succeed," she says.
"Lastly, keep talking, it's amazing how many interesting people you will meet when you decide to strike up a random conversation. Along the way you will find people who will help you in your journey in the most unexpected way through these small little conversations."