Clean Sweep

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It remains central to every innovation or enterprise. It not only rules in the domains of science and technology but drives the business world also. It differentiates an entrepreneur from a common businessman. Mir Javaid reports. 

Shafat Naqshbandi is the first person to introduce the idea of housekeeping services in Kashmir.

Shafat Naqshbandi is the first person to introduce the idea of housekeeping services in Kashmir.

Market gurus usually quote this parable.

A man, once, asked a busy Mason, “What are you doing”? The mason with a visible scorn replied, “Can’t you see that I am laying bricks”. The man quietly left the spot.

Just few hundred yards ahead he found another mason laying bricks for a wall and repeated his question. “I am building a mansion”, pat came the reply followed by a smile.

Both the Masons were doing the same work but had different perceptions about it. One of them took it as his routine labour while the second one was conscious of the ‘idea’ he was working on.

Similarly, it’s this ‘idea’ or ‘vision’ about one’s work that remains central to every innovation in business and hence differentiates an entrepreneur from a common businessman.

Same is true about Shafat Naqshbandi, 31, a dynamic entrepreneur from Nishat, Srinagar. He is the first person to introduce the idea of housekeeping services (providing personnel, equipments and all other cleaning materials) in the valley.

Just five years later “Glitters For Ever”, his firm, is a familiar name across the public, private and corporate sector of the valley. For all the professional back up and guidance, the firm is affiliated with British School of Cleaning Sciences (BSCS), New Delhi through their business partners.

Once, an employee in the leading English dailies of India (Times of India) for Rs 10,000, Shafat himself is an employer today. He currently employs 80 men, women, boys and girls permanently in the salary range of 1800-3000-4000.

The moment of his ultimate personal satisfaction comes every month when he disburses nearly Rs 2 lacs as salaries to his staff. This really lifts his spirits whenever he thinks about his business venture in retrospect, he says.

It all began in 2002. Inspired by his cousin, who is an established business name in the valley, he resolved to work on some new business idea like professional housekeeping in Kashmir.

But ideas do not work in a vacuum. So he approached J&K Bank’s Air Cargo branch to get the much-needed finances. Confident about his new initiative, he arranged some finances himself and bought housekeeping equipment like shampoo machines and fabric extractors to start his venture.

Convinced about the viability of idea and his enthusiasm, the bank not only sanctioned a credit facility of Rs 1.90 lacs in his favour but also gave him a housekeeping contract of Iqbal Park and Air Cargo branch.

“I asked for finances only and they offered to be my first client also; it was simply amazing. It was the perfect shot in my arm”, said a delightful Shafat. He continues to take counsel from his bankers (J&K Bank) about his business plan from time to time.

Initially, the new idea proved to be a hard nut, for it involved a lot of explaining here in Kashmir, as people hadn’t any concept of it. Still, he persevered and the idea began to click at a pace he never had even dreamt of.

Within two years he diversified his business portfolio and registered another firm by the name of NAQSHBANDI & Co. with KARCHER, a German-based cleaning equipment company, as business partners.

Two years further, Shafat managed to have a tie-up with another German-based firm IKRA-mogatec, which deals with the entire range of gardening tools. Both sales and services portfolios complemented each other well and his business scaled new heights.   Sales are going up. The annual business turnover of his firm stands at more than 1 crore.

Currently availing the finance of Rs 9 lacs Naqshbandi & Co. maintains an impressive client profile that includes J&K Bank, MetLife, Mahindra & Mahindra, Deptt Of Hospitality and Protocol, Gulmarg and Sonamarg Development Authorities, Srinagar Cable Corporation (Gondola), Grand Palace etc.

Having done his schooling at Musoorie and graduation from Poona University in Arts, he was always inclined to break his family tradition of doing Sarkari Naukri (govt. employment). His parents supported him and he did it successfully.

Buoyed by Shafat’s hard work, even his father Mr Mohammad Saleem Naqshbandi, a retired professor, soon joined Shafat and now looks after the office work of Naqshbandi & Co.

Shafat is currently in talks with SCHMIDT a German company that deals with Snow Clearing Machines and Adventure Tourism equipment like snow beaters, Snow scooters, and ski boats. When asked about the financial requirements for such heavy equipment he casually replies back, “J&K Bank is my answer to all financial worries. They have trusted me since I had nothing to back my claim except my self-belief. And I have proved them right, so far.”

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