“When you are passionate about something and believe in yourself, there is no stopping you!” That, in a nutshell, defines Ashima Makkar, who was unstoppable when it came to achieving her dreams and goals. Ashima Makkar is the director of SAR Retail Pvt Ltd and runs around 30 to 35 stores in North India. She is also a Master Franchisee of various brands including Lotto Sport Italy, one of the biggest sports lifestyle brands in India.

Without further ado, in this Women’s Day special, HerMoneyTalks brings to you the journey of an entrepreneur whose capabilities were questioned by her close people, who experienced failures, who fought against all odds gracefully and built her empire in the world of entrepreneurship.

Listening to the inner voice

Ashima entered the business world at the young age of 26 with her husband. Speaking of her inspiration to start her own business, she gushes, “While we were working, before we started our venture, we came across many people and small groups, who had bid goodbye to their jobs. They had started running their own business with minimum investment.

I have had experience working with various international brands. A thought struck me – if I can handle these brands, I am certainly capable of starting and handling my own venture.

Working with them made her realize that even with little investment one can start their venture if they have the positive energy and confidence to enter the entrepreneurial world. “I have had experience working with various international brands. A thought struck me – if I can handle these brands, I am certainly capable of starting and handling my own venture.” This inner voice turned into reality and today there was no looking back.

“During my job, I had worked with Lotto Sport Italy for many years. Being in the product team and being a merchandiser for them, I was aware of the potential the brand had. As an international and pocket-friendly brand, the potential it had was very high. That’s the reason I joined hands with them and opened a store with the belief that together we could make wonders,” adds Ashima as she talks about kick-starting her journey with Lotto Sport Italy.

Racing against headwinds

One of the major struggles every entrepreneur faces is related to finance. However, for Ashima, the major challenge was to make people around her believe in her. “There were a lot of questions and doubts surrounding me and my husband. In the initial days, we weren’t taken seriously by our close people and they believed we were just burning our money. It was tough to create a space in the entrepreneurial world.” It became tougher when there was no emotional support from the important people in her life.

Ashima is a woman entrepreneur filled with great deal of zeal and passion. She is one of the strong partners who has contributed to the expansion and growth of Indian business of Lotto Sport Italy.

– Mr. Dharmendar Khanna, India Head of Lotto Sport Italy

“In those times of struggle, I never lost hope. Self-belief and patience are keys to overcome challenges. I believed in myself and my capabilities and didn’t stop. Never be let down by your failures – they will keep happening and all we have to do is to keep trying!”

“Ashima is a woman entrepreneur filled with great deal of zeal and passion. She is one of the strong partners who has contributed to the expansion and growth of Indian business of Lotto Sport Italy,” praised Mr. Dharmendar Khanna, India Head of Lotto Sport Italy and Mentor at IIMB women entrepreneurs program.

Money Lessons: Going higher, farther, faster

Through her 15 years of journey in the corporate world, Ashima believes women are more than capable to handle their finances. She shares the 3 most important money hacks for all the aspiring entrepreneurs:

(1) It is impossible to earn profits from day 1. Healthy cash flow is necessary to run the business. Rather than concentrating on profit in the initial stages, it is important to maintain healthy cash flows to run the business.

(2) It is better to have syndicates rather than approaching banks for loans in the initial stages of business. Try and collaborate with like-minded people and create syndicates as they share the finance as well as the working responsibilities.

(3) Save your money, work on minimum expenses at the beginning.

As a woman entrepreneur, Ashima has one exclusive piece of advice for all the women out there: “Come out of your self-limitations and do not restrict yourself. Just enter the game, play it with confidence, and you will succeed”.

With the huge potential Lotto Sport Italy possesses, Ashima looks forward to opening around 100 to 200 stores across India and script an even more compelling tale of accomplishment.