“Entrepreneurs works for their dream and those who work for someone else are working for others Dream”, says Gunjan Baranwal who is currently running “Refer Me Group” a self-funded startup that helps people get their dream jobs. She says it has not been an easy journey but her inspiration has been her mother and mother in law, who are also the co-founders of the startup, her twins and her father. They motivate and drive her to wake up each day and work harder to take this venture to greater heights. She believes that passion for the venture is very important and she wants to reach out to all entrepreneurs to encourage them to keep working with their passion.
She is an MBA graduate with 7 years of work experience prior to “Refer Me Group”. Her family has a very strong and sound educational background and her father is a retired senior banker who has always been determined towards his goal, which is probably where she derives her grit and focus from.
Refer Me Group is group of 5500+ professionals where they provide internal openings information for various locations for multiple skills and provide a platform for personal as well as professional network. They also provide domain and technical training through professionals and provide discounts more than 50% to non-job holder (everything being online). They have come up with innovative ideas like “Tea with refer me” wherein professionals come and meet with each other and discuss their various pain points like issues during the job, how to improve the resume, career growth etc.The objective of this startup is not only to help potential employees to create a professional network, but also to make them capable enough so that they are empowered to embrace their new journey. Refer Me Group, basically a hybrid of LinkedIn, Facebook, Job Portal, WordPress, and Twitter strives to provide high quality service and quick response to both employees and employers so as to win their trust and build their brand equity. They see Refer Me Group as a huge brand through tie ups with all training institutes in India in the next 10 years. They have 5000+ professional network on LinkedIn, 2300 + on Facebook and each post by Refer Me Group is viewed by 20,000 professionals.
Gunjan has encountered various challenges during her journey but she took each of them as a new learning opportunity that would help her excel in this field and that is the attitude that each entrepreneur should have. We have a great deal to learn from Gunjan. Kudos to her and we wish her very well for her future endeavors.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture?
Refer Me Group with tag and same is our objective ‘Help & Get Help’.
2. Who is your target Audience?
We have been serving professionals in almost every industry including Retail, Corporate, Education, Facility Management, Hospital / Healthcare, Hospitality, Insurance, Logistics, Media & Communication, Real Estate and Telecommunication & mainly in Information Technology.
3. Where is your venture based ( city, state, country) & What are your target areas?
Refer Me Group is based out of a beautiful city which is at India border name Bahraich (UP). Our target area is not bounded with any boundary, we are targeting to whole India. Right now we have members from overseas as well.
4. What problems does your venture solve? What are your products or services?
Let us brief about current problems- There are multiple platforms available to get job opening information yet problem comes when someone tries to get job for other location. To get best institute where anyone can upgrade his/her skills. Get connect with professionals. Process for interview & how to get prepare & what to prepare. What should be career growth. Which is hot technology to learn. What package someone is eligible for. How to get rid of daily challenges and political issues, no platform to discuss. What we are doing- Refer Me Group is Group of 5500+ professionals where we-
•Provides internal openings information for various locations for multiple skills at one platform. •We help to know about relevant and dream jobs.
•At this platform people creates a personal as well as professional network with thousands of professional & that enhances opportunity to select right candidate to refer in their organization.
•We share information about walk-ins of various organizations at different locations to our members before it reaches to others by any other source.
•We do domain/technical training which is not available in market with highly working professionals which helps to crack interview, change domain, knowledge about domain, which is not available in market. We do it online live sessions, members join it from their location. Again these things are at much discounted prices and more than 50% off for no job holders.
•Here we do ‘Tea with Refer Me’ where members come and meet with each other and discuss about their problems in their job & how or what to update.
•Other services we do Mock Interview which is not initiated in India & Resume Build Up.
•Apart from that we are in development also where we develop websites/desktop applications & we have 30+ professionals associated with us who are doing this.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence?
Refer Me Group idea is given by my husband, once he got challenge to refer good candidates in his organization when we shifted from Mumbai to Gurgaon as he was new and not familiar with much professionals there. So I thought why not there should be a platform on which professionals can get connect with each other personally & share information with each other; from there Refer Me Group came in existence with start of 58 members only on December 2013. After that we have done a lot of meet up and now we are 5500+ after 3 years 3 month, since we add only genuine members in Group after verification. Also we have never compromised with standard and that it the reason a lot of members we have removed from our Group. Refer Me Group is hybrid of LinkedIn, Facebook, Job Portal, Worldpress, Twitter and etc.
6.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
I got inspired by my husband and it is startup by women so I involved my Mother-In-Law and my Mom as my co-founder. Both of them always inspired me in my tough time in Refer Me Group.
7. How did you hired your first team members ?
It is run by me only. We have not hired someone. Although Trainer who are giving workshops in Refer Me Group they are on incentive basis. And Yes, we have rented a place at Noida to deliver Workshop physically.
8.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We are not bounded with number of years. Refer Me Group is only objective to reach each professional and help to get their dream job and this venture will not be successful until we do not help the last one.
9.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
We are targeting to have tie-up with all training institutes in India and make Refer Me Group as Brand so when anyone who is interested to train himself/herself can join those institutes by trusting on Refer Me Group.
10.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We are self-funded organization.
11.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
I will not count them as problem; I will name them as learning and opportunity which taught me not to repeat and how to deal with them. Yes, in start-up we get so many challenges yet I would like to share with all entrepreneurs do not consider them as challenge, learn from them and get a lesson how to deal.
12. What have been your biggest challenges and learning so far?
Well, I was not very much expert how to spread Refer Me Group on internet but slowly slowly I learned from various sources and now I can say I am expert in that. This inspiration came from my Twins who taught me a lot how they struggle when they grow up and still they never leave learning attitude.
13.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Married & blessed with Twins (Cute Daughter & Charming Son)
14.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Obviously working for Refer Me Group is on top. I am good cook and every dish which is made by me got appreciation. I am fond of reading Self-Management books and having collection of more than 250 books which I have read and still reading.
15.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
16.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator? My Dad, Husband, Kids.
17.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
It is about Dream. Entrepreneurs works for their dream and those who work for someone else are working for others Dream.
18.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would rather take business networking & reference business to a much higher level.
19.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task. My family has been one of the biggest support in my journey all along, and they have been affected by it severely at the same time. Managing kids and Refer Me Group is not easy yet it is passion which always drags me to work I just could not think of giving up. That is not in my dictionary. I want to give better life to my kids. Being an entrepreneur requires you to sacrifice much, so even though I managed giving time to my family, my social circle has not been too active. C’est la vie!
20.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
In Software Industry, as I heard from my husband, everyone wants to do something different and out of 10000 only 100 start something, out of those 100 only 10 continues & out of those 10 only 1 get success and this happens because of lack of passion. If you want to be entrepreneur please do not lose this passion and never lose hope it is in you and believe me you can do it. Entrepreneurs are not born they are made.
21.Tell us something about your education & family background ?
I am MBA graduate and worked 7 years before I became Mom and then started Refer Me Group. I come from a highly educated family. We live in joint family. My father-in-law is Post Graduate and retired from Senior Manager from Bank. My mother-in-law is home maker and highly motivated. My one Brother-in-law is MD psychiatrist. My another Brother-in-Law is an engineer. My husband is working in IT firm as manager. My Dad was a business man and always focused on his target. My Mom is doing business from last 17 years and given better life to my sister and my brother. My sister is working in IT company at Pune and Brother is doing his engineering. How can I forget to mention about my lovely Twins both are 2 years old, a sweet daughter & cute son.
22.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
In Market there are multiple companies who provides same service but who succeed who wins their customer’s heart. In Refer Me Group we always focus on maintaining quality with quick response and that is the reason today trust we have made in Refermians (we call group member as Refermians).
23. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
It is team! No organization or task can be accomplished if team is not utilized efficiently.
24. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
I will not be successful until Refer Me Group does not successful and Refer Me Group will be not be successful until we do not help each professional to get their dream job.