Currently owning and operating six outlets in the UAE, Purple Honey Group (PHG) develops, operates, and invests in F&B brands. With three original concepts, Coriander, Biryani Pot, and Zaytinya, the co-founders of PHG, a husband and wife team, also provide catering services for corporate events and private occasions. By 2020, Shalini Gangaramani Dosaj and Akshay Oberai Dosaj hope to have an ambitious 30 outlets up and running, and they’ve already secured the financials to make this roadmap a reality. PHG’s two MDs come from very different backgrounds: Shalina is an engineer with a MBA and a major in finance and Akshay is a lawyer. The Dosajs put their corporate backgrounds to work for their business, with Akshay acting as the group’s General Counsel in addition to his other areas of responsibility. We’ve asked these co-founders to share their five tips of successfully running a co-founded enterprise without crossing hairs.
1. TRUST YOUR PARTNER “This is the most important factor for a successful coenterprise. If you do not have complete trust in your fellow co-founder the venture is almost certainly destined to fail. It’s not possible for both founders to always make joint decisions -as this would slow down the enterprise- so it’s vital that you trust the judgement of your co-founder. As a husband and wife team, it goes without saying that Shalini and I have complete trust in each other, and I feel working together has actually meant that the trust has grown even stronger.”
2. HAVE MUTUAL RESPECT AND KEEP A COOL HEAD “Business can often be stressful and tempers can rise; it’s at these times that it is of utmost importance to remain calm and respect each other.”
3. CHANNEL SHARED PASSIONS “Passion is one of the most important factors when running a business. The journey will present many challenges and if both founders don’t have a passion for what they are creating, it is easy to lose heart and become disillusioned. For almost five years, Shalini and I ran Purple Honey Group as a hobby and focused on the business in evenings and on weekends. We would complete our day jobs and start work on the restaurants from 7 p.m. until midnight. It was our joint passion and love for what we do that allowed us to continue in this way.”
4. ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE A CLEAR AND SHARED VISION “Although disagreeing and challenging each other is healthy and often leads to better decision making, it’s important that fundamentally the co-founders agree on the vision for the business and the direction in which they want to take it. Shalini and I are very fortunate that we almost always see eye-toeye on important business decisions.”
5. EMPLOY DIVERSE SKILLSETS “It’s very helpful if the founders come from different professional and even cultural backgrounds, as this diversity means that they will approach challenges differently and it provides multiple perspectives. Shalini is a mechanical engineer with a MBA, and I’m a corporate finance lawyer with an undergraduate degree in economics– we both approach problems in a very different way. Shalini takes a very direct approach to resolving the problem, and is extremely effective at cutting through the noise and getting straight to the point. Being a lawyer, I naturally tend to consider every angle and analyze all potential risks involved in a decision. As you can imagine, both approaches have merit.