The first step to success is a desire to succeed. Ask Rahim, the entrepreneur from Mambad in Malappuram district who has set up a modest business out of a unique idea.
Rahim wanted to support his family of parents and five sisters even as he pursued his studies. The family, however, wanted him to focus on studies.
Rahim refused to let go of his idea. He honed his idea and became an entrepreneur who earned about Rs 3,000 a month even as he pursued his post-graduation. He even gives a part-time job to another student.
“I wanted to manufacture a product and make it into a brand. I started my mirror business, called 'Onefive', when I was a second-year degree student,” Rahim said. He is currently pursuing a post-graduation degree in the Kerala Agricultural University. He has proved that strong will, willingness to work and good communication skills can help anyone do business.
“My family has no background in business. Yet I always wanted to be a businessman. I joined an entrepreneur club while I was a degree student in the MES College at Mambad. I later participated in a 'young entrepreneurs summit' organised by the Kerala Youth Welfare Board. The interactions with the businessman inspired me to start my own endeavour.”
He said he was not sure of the path to take. “Though I wanted to be a businessman, I was confused about what to do. That is when I noticed the huge amount of glass pieces being wasted at the glass and aluminium fabrication unit run by my brother-in-law. Thought I could use them. That is how my mirror-making business started.”
Rahim goes about collecting the mirror pieces rendered useless by merchants. He then cuts them to size and frames to make them handy for personal use. The packed mirrors are sold through supermarkets, general stores and fancy shops. Rahim's products are sold in about 75 shops. He also advertises his mirrors on social media. He does all these amid his work as a student.
He said that the business progresses on cash and credit. “There are some limitations on sale by credit. I limit credit to products valued at Rs 3,000 in supermarkets and Rs 1,000 in other shops. I supply them with more products only after I get paid in full no matter how great the orders are.
He started out by selling in nearby shops and later expanded his business to other areas. “When our products sell well they reach more households. People use them in their everyday life. I feel proud of it.”
Rahim said it was not a good idea to aim only for profit. “You have to have a passion for business. The real business experience you get on the job is invaluable. Your marketing strategies and ideas will prove to be an asset in your later life. You can get lessons no business schools will teach you.,” he said.