“Social capital is more important than financial capital,” said the successful and striving real estates entrepreneur Om Rajbhandary.
Sharing his personal and professional experiences, he reflected on his achievements and how he reached his current state.He was speaking to the audience at Dwarika’s Hotel in Battis Putali, Kathmandu, on Thursday, August 25.
Rajbhandary was the speaker for this session of the “Last Thursday with an Entrepreneur,” a program which is jointly organized every last Thursday of the month by Entrepreneurs for Nepal, and Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation.
Last Thursdays is a networking event and is aimed at providing knowledge about specific entrepreneurial opportunities in Nepal. It invites a successful entrepreneur as the keynote speaker at every session.
Rajbhandary is a pioneer in the housing industry and is the man behind Comfort Housing, Comfort Cares, and Brihat Investments, among other ventures.
Addressing the audience, he said that he was present at the program to share his journey, not his success. He talked about how he started his career as a medical representative way back in 1985.“I was pressurized to go to the United States but I always had the feeling of doing something in my own country,” he said.
It was because of his marketing skills that he opened the CE Construction in 1992 with modest financial resources. “We started with seventy five thousand Rupees, and for us CE stands for ‘committed entrepreneurs.’”
At a time when the concept of community living was still not developed among the Nepalis, his company took the risks and brought this idea and launched the project. During this period, he did a lot of research and also had to deal with the public a lot.
“I sacrificed my personal life and focused on self-discipline, and this is how we started Comfort Housing,” he said.
Rajbhandary himself used to visit the building site to give a tour of the houses to prospective buyers a number of times in a single day. “I worked as a marketing person, as the CEO, had to deal with customers and took care of everything simultaneously,” he said.
This was how he started, and it took him two years to sell the concept of community living. Then his second project was in Budanilkantha. When he looks back, he feels that it is due to the success of real state and Comfort Housing that he got recognition.
“If you do something innovative and important, though it may take time, eventually you’ll get the due recognition. But for that, people need to be patient,” he suggested.
Rajbhandary further talked about how it is important to have a comprehensive knowledge about the venture that one would like to begin.
“You can’t just say that you want to be a business leader. For that, you have to be responsible and get involved with both social institutions and professional institutions and balance it, as both aspects are related to business.
“After looking at all the ventures, what I’ve felt is that to be a true entrepreneur, one has to be innovative. In my case, I was also lucky to have a supportive team,” he elaborated.
A man of conviction, he also feels that it is also important to maintain a corporate culture. “An institution is run by its team members, not by the CEO himself only,” he added.
He further puts in that knowledge is not a private property and it should be shared, so that we all have a learning experience.“I believe in transmission of knowledge and it’s a most powerful tool. People will trust you if you have it.”
He explains how younger generations are mostly frustrated and have a lot of problems. “One shouldn’t lose hope, and the key to happiness and the solution to problems are within us,” he added.
The program was followed by a question-and-answer session. One from the audience mentioned that though it has had been a year since he started a travel agency and now running in its second year, it still hasn’t picked up. He was also facing financial constraints. How could he solve this?
Rajbhandary answered that one should not feel shy to share one’s shortcomings. If we do, we will never be successful.There are many booming travel agencies but we should be able to bring positive changes through the competitors and not be intimidated by them.
There’s always that 90 percent of uncertainty, so one has to be committed and should have in-depth knowledge and should be trustworthy.
He added that business is a game of profit and loss, but social capital never goes to loss.
“We also need to promote young people and bring awareness. Also, unless we contribute to the society, a business venture will never be successful.”
source: Rayamajhi, Nistha(2011),"Real estate entrepreneur shares experiences ", republica,30 August 2011
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