Dr. Shuba Dharmana’s entrepreneurial journey in India began partly because of her passion and partly because of her naivety. “I was visiting India for a holiday and I was offered a great opportunity to be one of the directors of a chain of clinics in India. I left my established practice in the United Kingdom and decided to move here. I was naive at that time. I found out that the offer did not stand anymore.”
Beauty and fashion have always been of interest to Dr. Shuba since her university days. She participated in several events and competitions too. “But I had a little skin problem due to which I had certain psychological issues regarding my image, so I know how people are affected by these issues.” So along with being a general practitioner, Dr. Shuba took an active interest in dermatology and enrolled herself in several courses. “I practiced on my family members to refine my skills and later opened a couple of my own private clinics in North London.”
After the shock of the bogus offer, Dr. Shuba studied the market in India and was utterly disappointed. “This field suffers from a lack of ethics. I’ve seen untrained staff in small salons and boutiques do procedures for which clinical staff is trained. There are unnecessary tests which are run on people only to pile on to the bill. I’ve seen professionals push treatments which are not backed by ample evidence. So there’s a huge ethical gap in this sense” says Dr Shuba. This sparked an idea to create a professional space where these processes are regulated and carried out by certified medical staff.
Being an entrepreneur with a medical degree has been hard on Dr. Shuba. “We’re doctors at the end of the day, and have no formal training in business, so it becomes really hard for us to manage all of this. It’s new to us.” In that sense, the Growtherator programme has helped Dr. Shuba tremendously in understanding the basics of finance and perspective towards growth. “Earlier growth was limited to customer satisfaction and reputation. While that is important, so is the financial health of the organization. Now I can easily break up the balance sheets and profit and loss statements that my accountant hands me over.” The learning that she’s gained from the Growtherator programme has helped Dr. Shuba come to terms with the impact that the pandemic has had on her business and understand as to how it can be stabilized rather than simply despairing over it.
The pandemic has reignited Dr. Shuba’s interest in preventive medicine as well. Most of her time in India has been focussed on her business, which is based on cosmetic dermatology, a subject that Dr Shuba specialized in. However, she feels she needs to connect to her roots of being a general practitioner. “I’ve volunteered as a teleconsultant during these times, and I hope to remain in touch with such a practice, even if I can just do it once a week”. She plans to offer fellowships to medical graduates for general practice and later specialization in cosmetology.
Dr Shuba’s practice is high on innovation. She has devised new ways and procedures and added them to her repertoire. “I’ve also been working on my own line of beauty products. The pandemic gave me time to research and come up with several different formulas and now we’re all geared to launch it internationally.” But at the same time, her motivation is deeply connected to her role as a general practitioner. “It’s a great feeling to have when you help a family or a person through a rough time and treat them. Their gratitude and blessings make the job worthwhile.”