The impulse to start a business with a friend likely strikes almost everyone at some or the other point of time in life. But, as for happily married couples or successful relationship stories the thumb rule applies "opposites attract" similarly when it comes for business partners the rule goes the other way round “to look for someone with complementary skills and talents “. As for business you want someone who fills in your gaps and weak points—and vice versa.
While the world is full of examples of business buddies (Harley-Davidson Inc, Hewlett and Packard, Starbucks, etc.) making amazing success stories, so this International Friendship Day 2018, we’ve introduce an amazing and inspiring journey of business led by this duo friends Dr. Asha Bhatnagar and Dr. Angeli Misra,Co-Founders Lifeline Laboratory. Both of these doctor friends, around twenty seven years back started working together on their dream to set up a Centre of Excellence in diagnostic pathology with the highest quality of testing anyone, anywhere in the world could ever offer. Thought it was not at all easy for this duo of young ladies to get across in a man’s world. But they were determined to make it an amazing success with their strong friendship traits.
Both of these Doctor pals, Dr. Asha Bhatnagar and Dr. Angeli Misra belonged to middle class families and both of them had been recently married with the responsibilities of the job and a small child and the family.
There was no money to start an enterprise like this which needed a huge investment. Their husbands had just started their careers and both of them could not expect their family to contribute as they had lost their father and had only single parents then mothers who were looking after them.
It was not easy! They started to look out for a loan to be able to finance them. But the available loan was only 70% and 30% would have to be provided by the promoters. In 1991, they cut down the project cost and decided to start slow. They took a small garage on rent. To come up with the 30% they gathered that out of all their jewelry which they had to sell for a mere amount of Rs 60,000. A small loan was taken and the lab was equipped. The lab was staffed by just one technician and one courier boy along with these two doctors.
Everything was done by them starting from registering a patient doing the test and typing the reports. So much so the doors were closed and sweeping, dusting and cleaning the toilets was also done by them. They worked 14-16 hours a day to nurture Lifeline Laboratory. Late evenings, odd lunch time and early mornings they visited doctors to inform them regarding their facilities and the tests they had to offer. Both of them having post graduated from the prestigious AIIMS Dr Angeli & Dr Asha had been well trained in advanced technology and investigations. Slowly they convinced the doctors to trust their laboratory for investigations. There was a strict quality control back then too and a good communication with the doctors and patients.
In 1993, The laboratory grew slowly from 1 garage to 4 garages and then more and more automated equipments were added.
The laboratory moved finally to single large floor of about 3000 sq. ft. Over the years it has now become a world class state of art lab with the best equipments and a big enough team of Doctors, Technicians and support staff. The area has now doubled to 6000 sq ft. Now, Lifeline laboratory is counted among the best labs of Delhi NCR and has more than 50 pick-up locations. Also, Dr. Angeli and Dr. Asha plan to expand their services to entire North India by setting up fully equipped labs.
On recalling the journey the two doctor pals ,Dr. Asha Bhatnagar and Dr. Angeli Misra, remember those days stating it was not easy. It was our common vision and passion for our work that smoothly drove us so far and successful business buddies.Besides looking after their newly established laboratory they had to take care of them small children. Dr Angeli had a daughter 3 years old and Dr Bhatnagar a 2 year old daughter. The same year 3 months after starting the lab Dr. Angeli Misra had given birth to a son also. The ladies did not want to compromise on their duties as a mother. The children were put in day care and after that they were picked up by their maternal grandmothers and taken home by them. Many a days after day care they would be picked up in an auto and brought to the laboratory where the mothers and the children would have lunch together in a nearby park.
But all the hard work paid up. 27 years down their children have also grown up to become successful professionals and Lifeline laboratory too is seen as the best diagnostic center in the city.