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Discover valuable business tips from the Rameshwaram Cafe owner CA Divya, and let her entrepreneurial secrets help you boost your own business endeavors.
Journey of CA Divya Raghavendra Rao
Divya Raghavendra Rao comes from a humble background but she was ambitious since her childhood. With her hard work and passion to achieve something significant in life, she became a CA at the age of 21.
Later she pursued her post-graduation from IIM Ahmedabad and now she is one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in India.
In 2021, Divya founded The Rameshwaram Cafe, a quick-service restaurant chain that specializes in traditional South Indian cuisine.
This cafe has been a huge success and has multiple branches across Bangalore. They are about to establish a global presence by opening its first international branch in Dubai.
Divya envisioned bringing traditional South Indian cuisine to the limelight the same way global restaurant chains like KFC and Mcdonald's were able to with their native cuisines.
She believed that South Indian cuisine could be just as popular as other global cuisines if it was presented in a modern and appealing way.
Rameshwaram Cafe is known for its fresh preparations, authentic ingredients, and its commitment to quality. The cafe also offers a wide variety of dishes, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Divya’s Tips for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs
India is home to a growing number of women entrepreneurs. In fact, according to NITI Aayog, around 20% of businesses in India are women-owned, employing 22 to 27 million people. This is a significant increase from just a few decades ago.
There are millions of women around the country who are starting their own businesses and making a difference in the country and the world.
But here’s the million-dollar question, how to become a successful female entrepreneur despite the various challenges that women entrepreneurs in India face.
Here are the top tips on how to become a successful business women, shared by the Rameshwaram Cafe owner CA Divya Raghavendra Rao, for aspiring women entrepreneurs in India.
1. Step Out of Comfort Zone and Make Efforts to Achieve Your Goals
Stepping out of your comfort zone is the most important piece of advice for female entrepreneurs. It is a thrilling adventure that calls upon you to face your fears, push your boundaries, and become a stronger, more resilient person.
Having milestones is very important as they act like a compass, pointing toward our long-term business goals. But setting goals is not enough; we need to put in the effort to turn them into reality.
When Raghavendra Rao approached Divya to start a restaurant business, she was already an established chartered accountant with 10 years of experience.
She had successfully set up her firm, acquired multiple clients, and was enjoying substantial financial gains.
As she was at the peak of her professional career, Divya was hesitant at first because she would have to give up her successful CA practice as the CA institute has a rule that prohibits CAs from practicing and running a business simultaneously.
Divya knew that she would be risking her career by leaving her practice. However, she eventually agreed to take a leap of faith and help Raghavendra start The Rameshwaram Cafe from the ground up.
The Rameshwaram Cafe is now a thriving business, and Divya is a successful entrepreneur.
“Come out of your comfort zone. If you want to achieve something remarkable in your life first of all you have to walk out of your house. I hate to stay at home and I go home only to sleep. If you want to build a business don’t expect it to be a 9-6 job, thinking I will go at 9 to build the business and get back at 6, go to the gym then watch a movie, this way it’s not possible.”
2. Acquire Knowledge About the Business and Choose the Right Team
What do female entrepreneurs need? In the ever-changing business world, knowledge is power. It empowers entrepreneurs and professionals to navigate the complexities of the market and achieve success.
Be open to exploring a wide range of topics, from market trends and financial analysis to leadership principles and marketing strategies. Each piece of knowledge you acquire will enrich your understanding of the business ecosystem.
It is important to remember that in the world of business, success is rarely achieved by one person alone. It takes the collaboration of diverse talents and skills to achieve great things.
When building your dream team, the foundation is to identify the core values and principles that define your enterprise. Look for individuals whose beliefs and work ethics align with your vision.
Divya credits the success of Rameshwaram Cafe to her core team of 10 highly dedicated people. She says that they are a godsend and are the key to the cafe's success.
In addition to the core team, The Rameshwaram Cafe also employs over 700 other staff members who are carefully selected and trained by her core team.
These employees undergo rigorous training to ensure that they understand how to prepare the food, manage the cafe, and interact with customers.
“Acquire knowledge about the business and choose the right team. Because the success of the business depends on what kind of team you have. Choose a team who has knowledge about the business.”
3. Delegate the Work by Expertise
Delegation is the process of assigning tasks to others in order to free up your time and focus on more important matters. It is an essential skill for any business owner or manager, as it can help you to be more productive and efficient.
Also, when employees are given the opportunity to take on new tasks, they learn new skills and develop their abilities. This can help them to grow in their careers and become more valuable assets to your business as well.
“Everyone in the team can’t do all the work so delegate the work in the right way. Bifurcate the work department-wise. Choose the right person (for that department) and he will deliver the right things.”
4. Plan Your Finances and Reinvest Profits for Growth
Financial planning is important for any business, but it is especially very important for businesses that are just starting out. This is because startups often have limited resources, and they need to make sure that they are using their resources wisely.
By understanding your finances, you can better identify potential risks and challenges that your business may face.
This will allow you to develop plans to mitigate these risks and help in making financial decisions, such as when to invest in new equipment or hire new employees.
Reinvesting profits is the practice of using a business's earnings to grow the business rather than distributing them to shareholders. You can also allocate your investments to diversify income sources.
Apart from this, assessing the taxable and non-taxable incomes and filing tax returns and GST the right way may help you save funds on tax.
“The next important thing is planning your finances. Whatever profit comes it should not be taken out entirely. Only 20-30% profit should be taken out and the rest 70% should be invested back into the business only then the company will grow.”
5. Avoid the Trap of Business Debt
Business debt can be a double-edged sword for many businesses. If you're not careful, you can end up in a situation where you're so overwhelmed by debt that it's impossible to grow your business or even stay afloat.
So, it is important to only use debt to finance investments that will generate a return. This could mean buying equipment or expanding your operations.
However, even if you're careful, there will be times when you need to borrow money for unexpected expenses. Having a solid financial plan in place will help you avoid taking on more debt than you cannot afford.
“Don’t believe in debts, one should not depend entirely on bank loans. You should start with your savings. It's okay to take support from a financial institution but it is important to plan the business in such a way that you make sure to close it in 2-3 years. Don't depend too much on debts, as any business will have its ups and downs.”
Why India Needs More Women Entrepreneurs?
First, women entrepreneurs in India can help to address the gender gap in the workforce.
According to a 2022 report by the World Bank, women's participation in the Indian workforce is only 24%. This is significantly lower than the global average of 49%.
By starting new businesses, female Indian entrepreneurs can create jobs for themselves and for other women as well, and help to close the gender gap.
Second, by increasing the number of women entrepreneurs, India can further boost its economy and create a more equitable society.
Third, women entrepreneurs can bring new ideas and perspectives to the table which can help solve women-centric problems. This can lead to the development of new products and services.
Finally, women entrepreneurs can serve as role models for other women. By seeing other women succeed in business, more women will be inspired to start their own businesses.
Rameshwaram Cafe founder, CA Divya is a prime example of those women who are an inspiration to other aspiring women entrepreneurs. The rise in women entrepreneurs will surely create a more inclusive and entrepreneurial society in India.