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Journey of early starters
Deciding to set foot into the business world that is full of liabilities and risk at a young age is not an easy job. To look into the journey of some entrepreneurs and their businesses, My City’s Nasana Bajracharya talked to three personalities who started early and are profoundly successful in their field of work. These men believe that a person’s age should not be the deciding factor to start a business. Those who want to do something big should be able to see the greater picture and enjoy the journey.
Adding feathers to his hat
Rabin Shrestha, CEO/Founder of Reef Restaurant & Lounge Bar
On the first look, you might not believe Rabin Shrestha is the owner of Reef Restaurant & Lounge Bar. If you don’t know Rabin personally, you might mistake him for any other staff or a party goer at Reef. But to one’s surprise, he is a dedicated business person.
He started Reef in 2012 after completing his degrees in Tourism Management and Film Making from Singapore. As soon as he came to Nepal, he started his research for the business and focused on its interiors.
Rabin, 36, has already worked as a travel agent. He also used to be a part of a band. He is a passionate photographer, and used to click customers’ pictures when Reef first started. As those photos were later uplaoded on social networking sites, it unintentionally became a marketing tool for Reef.
Though Reef was a success, Rabin wanted to grow more and invested in Karma Bar & Lounge as a partner. He has also recently invested in another hotel, and is producing a movie soon. Given the chance, he says he is interested in acting, but is waiting for the right role. Rabin’s next project is to open a Rock Bar to promote international rock concerts/artistes in Nepal in the next six to seven months.
For his daily routine, he juggles his time between Reef and Karma. Even if they demand his unfaltering presence, he doesn’t take it as a job. “I try to enjoy my way throughout the day as this is where I get to meet different types of people. I am never bored at my job. But, I do take breaks or travel whenever I can.”
Rabin not only started young, but also believes in promoting young talent. Reef has been a platform to aspiring musicians who play live/acoustic, while in some occasions Rabin himself can be seen jamming with the new artistes.
Stating that restaurant and clubbing businesses have a growing future, his suggestion for aspiring entrepreneurs is “Be passionate and work hard, but for pleasure and satisfaction, not money. Success will eventually come to you, just keep going.”
Man of few words
Chandan Kayestha, Owner of Roadhouse Café
Chandan Kayestha is a man of few words, but his success has spoken for him in volumes. He started the first Roadhouse Café in Thamel without much thought in 1991. Roadhouse has seen a steady business in each of its ventures ever since. Chandan says he dared to join the hospitality business when it was less explored, and proved that the business could be fruitful.
In 2001, Roadhouse extended its second outlet in Jhamsikhel, and now has nine outlets in total. Even if he is busy, Chandan takes time to exercise and meditate. He is a quick learner and an observer. An introvert, but equally open to constructive criticism and a music lover, Chandan says the name of his restaurant was inspired by the music he used to listen.
Forty seven-year-old Chandan runs the business with his brother, Ranjan, and has realized that patience is an essential virtue for the business. Even with multiple outlets, Chandan manages to keep them all well-functioning. He credits this to the capable staffs that are working under him.
Chandan was just a high school graduate when he first started. He shared about taking time to learn multi-tasking and efficiency. He later went to Austria to study Hotel Management and came back to handle the business with more experience and theoretical knowledge.
He started Roadhouse with a niche audience in mind, but it has now become a brand that is famous for firewood pizza.
Roadhouse is also the first Nepali chain restaurant to have an outlet in New Delhi, India.
Chandan believes that hotel business in Nepal is still growing and its scope will never cease to exist. “This business has inspired me and keeps me exploring. I’m constantly looking into ways to give my customers a fulfilling experience every time they come.”
Remembering his initial days, Chandan stressed that completing one’s education is very important. “Everyone has their own journey. Don’t compare yours with others. Get the skills, and be passionate about your work. Concentrate on your interest and don’t indulge your mind on too many things.”
Making his own mark
Shiwaj Neupane, Director of Ambe Group of Companies
Shiwaj Neupane had recently returned from the US after completing his BBA when he joined his dad’s business. At the age of 25, he started as a manager at his father’s factory in Bhairahawa, in 2014. Being under the shadow of his father gave him a hard time some days, Shiwaj recalls.
Despite having an international degree, Shiwaj believes that working in the business taught him lessons that the course books did not have. “Honestly, everything that I know about business today has come from my experience.”
He later came to Kathmandu. For a year he was lost, and would just sit in the office doing nothing. He felt like running from the job many times, and doing something new on his own.
He always believed that he would do something influential and wanted to leave a mark of his own like his father. “I started attending meetings, and after watching my father talk about his idea, I too got inspired and understood why he had started the business. I started enjoying my work and I think I have matured along the way,” Shiwaj added.
“If you treat people with respect, they will respect you. Listening to what others have to say is vital, while it is equally important to deal with them logically and with maturity.” Shiwaj is currently working rigorously for Jai Ambe Steels, which is slated to launch next year from Nepalgunj.
As someone who started young, Shiwaj advised aspiring youths to figure out their passion and work hard on it. Other than that, he said, “You must analyze where you’re spending your time. Young minds get distracted easily, so you need to have a strong willpower. Spend your time reading a book or interacting with someone new. You will learn a lot and it will help you in the long run.”
Shiwaj also believes that it is crucial for an individual’s character to have positive people around, and suggested youngsters to make friends with different mindsets.