Kanchan Kamdar, worked her way up from a role as a Sales and Marketing Manager to now owning APT Ltd – providing BACS payments software. She has overcome challenges in the workplace: transferring from colleague to owner and making the correct choices as the decision-maker, while simultaneously managing her home and family life.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am Kanchan Kamdar, British born, and of Hindu-Punjabi origin. I first started working for APT in 2004 as a Sales and Marketing Manager, but took over the company in 2007 and have been running it successfully since.
I own Automated Payment Transfer Ltd (APT), and my company provides BACS payments software. APT Ltd has created iConnect: a BACS approved payment service for the processing of Direct Debit & Direct Credit in the UK. Only a few software solutions which pass rigorous testing and approval processes can connect to Bacstel-IP for BACS Processing, so we are very proud of this achievement. ‘iConnect’ was the first hosted cloud solution in the UK and processes over 40 million payments annually with a value of over £40 billion.
What inspires you?
Firstly, my beautiful family seeing me as a successful businesswoman!
Secondly, I strive for success in the professional space. I believe that with the hard work and the assistance of our talented team, we can bring a positive change to the UK’s payment industry and help our clients have uncompromising cashflow efficiency.
What is the book you’ve given most as a gift, and why?
I prefer to meet people over reading books, as I find that sharing experiences can be more influential and inspirational. I believe that the individuals I meet every day are a gift, they impart their wisdom through experiences and ideas which can be motivating in many ways.
What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life recently? An additional screen for my PC. I didn’t realise how much easier it makes my working day!
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success?
I believe that failure is a mistake which will lead to your success, if you didn’t fail you would not have the knowledge to make that product or service better; they say “you learn by your mistakes.” My most recent failure was finding a lawyer to provide advice for the whole organisation. I learnt that by tailoring individuals to each part of the firm, they can give personalised and specific information which the business can build upon and strive further with.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?
It would say: ‘A successful business is never done by one person but achieved by a team.’ I think the success of APT has been built through functioning as a team of people, which enables individuals to succeed. That, in turn, compliments the company’s goals to achieve the best results!
In the last 2 years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
Life is too short! You should always believe in yourself, take the risk for your business, and thrive upon success.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world”?
You should always listen and learn by your mistakes and be brave enough to voice your opinion accurately. Also, success is not always working for a larger organisation. As an individual, you can learn a lot from small companies where your work would be recognised and have more of an impact. Ignore the word ‘can’t’ – everything is possible!
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
When I feel overwhelmed, I follow this quote: “When I am resting it’s because my body is weak, I need to remember that I am not wasting the day doing nothing. I am doing exactly what I need to do. I’m recovering.”
Tell us something that would surprise us about you?
I am well known to wear my Mangala Sutra with great pride and never take it off, I would be lost without it! For those who don’t know, a Mangala Sutra (from Sanskrit Mangala, meaning ‘holy, auspicious,’ and sutra, meaning ‘thread’) is a necklace that the groom ties around the bride’s neck in Indian and sub-Indian countries, which identifies her as a married woman.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
After I took over the company, I was confused about how to let my colleagues know that now I was their boss. I was worried about achieving the correct balance between a friend /colleague and the decision-maker, and questioned whether I would make the right decisions…however, it seems that 10 years later, I’ve overcome this challenge and done it well.
What would be your message to the AWMB community?
You can be traditional in your home environment, holding those customary values and at the same time be a successful businesswoman. I am a dedicated wife & mother, and I make sure I take time out for myself. I also am respected as a proffesional and have a healthy balance between my children, husband, and work.