Interview with Ayshwarya Chari, Co-founder of 1115 Inc., Business Advisory and Consultancy

Interview with Ayshwarya Chari, Co-founder of 1115 Inc., Business Advisory and Consultancy

1115 Inc.: Making a Lasting Impact by Empowering Businesses Through Expert Advisory Services and Strategic Insights

Ayshwarya Chari’s first venture into the e-commerce industry was in 2009 when e-commerce was still a novel concept. She grew with the industry, learning everything there was to learn not only about e-commerce but also business. She learned that having a business-first approach can make or break a business.

She also learned that knowing your finances, setting up a business plan, establishing digital platforms, and having a core understanding of how to launch and scale is crucial and can determine the success and lifespan of a business. The experience was her degree in e-commerce.

While working on her first e-commerce business in the children and baby care sphere, she recognized a gap in the industry- there was a scarcity of advisory and consulting services for smaller companies.

When Ayshwarya met Shraddha Barot Amariei on an online networking platform for women, they struck a chord with each other. Shraddha, who comes from a marketing background, was adept in marketing and PR.

Thus, in 2020, the duo launched 1115 Inc., a boutique-based business advisory firm based in the UAE. Working specifically with small businesses, the company offers consultancy and advisory services on how to navigate the digital business space.

The firm offers a range of services that help businesses from ideation to scale. Their work is a linear process, beginning with branding and conceptualization. The advisory which is the firm’s core business lends their expertise in mapping out a business plan. Ayshwarya says,

“With the advisory, we will talk to you about your business first approach. How can you set up your business? What do your numbers need to look like? What do the forecasts look like? A product market fit? What does a go-to-market look like? Basically, the very core business advisory that a business might require.”

From there, the digitization advisory discussed the technical, operational, and scaling aspects of the business such as the necessary technology needed to establish and operate a business.

One of the first businesses they launched was, an online shop for healthy snacks and food items based in the Middle East. 1115 Inc. immersed itself in every aspect of the business. Ashwarya says,

“We supported the business with creating the business plan, bringing onboard an investor, creating the forecast, as well as importing 800 plus new food SKUs into the market, getting them registered with the, setting up the technology portal, uh, and launching the business.”

The company also engaged in the branding and recruitment and training of the team.

“So we were, for all intents and purposes, the heads of marketing and e-commerce while that business was running at that point in time.”

The business industry is rapidly evolving with the rapid introduction of new and ground-breaking technology. To remain competitive and relevant, businesses need to continually invest in staying informed and integrating relevant technologies into their strategies. 1115 Inc. is constantly upskilling and as founders, both Ayshwarya and Shraddha remain agile in expanding their knowledge of industry and technology trends.

Many businesses have begun to harness the power of AI to adapt to the dynamic business environment. With plans to integrate AI into their own business as well as clients, Ayshwarya involves herself in AI Mastermind, a leading agency that helps companies to stay ahead of the curve in the unceasingly developing landscape of AI-Technology. Ayshwarya comments,

"While we are learning constantly, we're also not shy to bring on board absolute experts that work with us to support different aspects of the business.” So, while we have the skills and we are upskilling, we also have access to a large pool of talent, which has absolute detailed expertise in different fields and different aspects that we can call upon as required.”

What distinguishes the consultancy is its holistic approach to business. Ayshwarya background in business and Shraddha’s expertise in Marketing and PR amalgamate perfectly to provide tailor-made counsel. First-hand experience is a good teacher, which is why the co-founder’s involvement in running businesses is so pivotal. They recognise that there is no one size fits all approach to branding.

The branding happens in their design studio, under the guidance of seasoned designers and digital content creators. Ashwarya notes,

“Branding is very specific. It is your identity. It is what the world knows you as. It is who you are from for the outside world if you have a partner.”

The company understands the fundamental needs, goals and target audience of the business to provide service that is specifically tailored to every business and business owner that they work with.

Like most businesses out there, 1115 Inc. faced its own stumbling blocks. After all, success is not always linear. The agility and competence to weather these hurdles come with experience. The co-founders' extensive experience helped them successfully navigate these difficulties.

Ayshwarya says that one of their challenges is their over-involvement and over-commitment to their client. Being conscious of the client’s finances and expectations, the company strives to provide genuine and consistent service long after the launch of their businesses. Recognising that the funds are often long-term savings put aside to kickstart a business of their own, they commit to providing long-term services and advice. Ayshwarya says,

“People are willing to trust us, and that is something that we don't take very lightly. We tell them that at 1115 Inc. you come in and then you are a part of us for life. We don't leave those WhatsApp groups. We’re always there.”

Their conscientiousness has earned them a loyal clientele. When implementing a mentoring approach to advisory, Ayshwarya notes that always being accessible to clients is paramount.

“They're able to pick up the phone and call us at any given point in time. We are here for them constantly in terms of any support they might require, and any doubts that might crop up later. We are constantly working together with our clients, keeping abreast of what's going on with them, and offering solicited or unsolicited advice whenever required.”

Although the company kickstarted as a digital advisory, the founders realised they had inadvertently begun supporting businesses with all aspects of business advisory. With this revelation, the company decided to officially expand to offer support and advisory services to any businesses ranging from an F&B to manufacturing.

The company is also hopeful for a regional expansion down the pipeline, already having established streets in Saudi Arabia and Doha.

1115 Inc. takes pride in fostering team members with a thirst to learn and innovate. The company prioritizes agility and efficiency, recruiting talent that can swiftly switch between businesses while being cognizant of the nature of the business and being able to deliver results. The nature of businesses they work with can range anywhere from pet shops to furniture, FMGC and even Astrology. The team, albeit small, work cohesively by mentoring, growing, and upskilling together. Embracing young employees, the team places precedence in reverse mentoring, and learning from the fresh talent. As an open culture, the mentors make themselves accessible to the team members, thus cultivating a learning and proactive environment.

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