Hyderabad: Some people harbour doubts about the scale-up prospects in traditional business. However, entrepreneurs like Rajesh Dadu have proved them wrong, with their successful business models, which could teach a lesson or two to investment gurus.
Mr Dadu showed that all that you need to make a business successful is not degrees from business school, but just common sense to listen to what the customer wants and deliver it better than the expected.
‘I spent my initiative sweet-making years in Bengaluru. After a considerable amount of time, I moved to Hyderabad and set up an 800 square feet shop at Himayatnagar in 1993. The capital was Rs 30,000 and the blessings and expertise of my mother,” said Rajesh Dadu, the founder of Dadu’s Mithai Vatika.
The success, however, wasn’t without hardships. “During the initial days, I could afford only two employees. I used to start my work at 4 am every day, some customers used to ask for hot samosas in the morning as early as 7 am. Since it was difficult to travel to and from my house in Malakpet, I used to sleep on the pavement outside my shop.”
In the lighter vein, he revealed that some philanthropists, who donate blankets to the poor during winters, have given such blankets to him twice.
According to him, the secret for the success in his business is meeting customer’s expectations and timelines. “A marriage cannot be postponed or a festival will not celebrated on another day; the customer’s timelines are the only timelines which need to be met.”
After a decade in 2003, Mr Dadu’s brother and his father joined him to start an outlet at Secundera-bad. The third store was opened again a decade later at Jubilee Hills in 2013, by Mr Dadu’s son for the up-market customers.
While most traditional sweet businesses had the ability to only produce only about 40 varieties at any point of time and did not innovate much, Mr Dadu constantly focused on the customers’ changing demand and conjured over 200 varieties to offer a new taste to the customers. “This helped increasing our footfall at all our outlets. Variety did the trick for us. We are constantly innovating and listening to our customers and they constantly taught us,” he explained.
In the first decade of the business, they were constantly ploughing back profits in modernisation and innovation. I had set up their main kitchen at Uppal, which was planned to cater to at least five outlets. However, higher demand forced them to start work on yet another kitchen in the city.
From a small team of just two chefs in 1993, Dadu’s has 400 employees now, and supplies sweets to who’s who of the Indian industry.
Dadu’s evolution continues. The chain has adapted itself to the changing times by joining the onli-ne bandwagon. “Today we are actively promoting on-line sales using Facebook and Twitter, and offer gift coupons to encourage purchase,” he said.
What lies in store for the future? Pat came the reply: Exports plans and the opening of ten outlets are in the pipeline. When asked about the variety, Mr Dadu’s quip was that they travel to all parts of the country and the world and on these trips check out the stuff they can replicate or better here: Localising global flavours
yet keeping it traditional is the way to go.
(In association with jobs-dialog.com of TMI e2E Academy)...