“Success is not just good luck: it is a combination of hard work, perseverance, good credit standing, opportunity, readiness and timing. Success will not last if you do not take care of it.”
Taking a business from its modest beginnings as a single outlet and growing it ten-fold beyond national borders requires tenacity and determination. The founder and Managing Director of Nazmi Textile Mall, Nazeer Ahmed Mohamed Zakariah, is the personification of persistence, having honed his skills from his beginnings as a humble salesman to now owning and managing a textile business that traverses the globe from Brunei to Dubai.
Nazeer learnt the basics of business from having served as a salesman at a textile shop in 1978, clocking up 14 years of experience in this role before garnering the confidence to open his very own first textile shop in 1992, in the Bruneian capital of Bandar Seri Begawan. The shop sold fabrics of quality, incorporating exclusive designs, imported directly from Italy, Japan, Indonesia, India and the Middle East, among others. Nazeer understood there was a need in the local Brunei market that reflected Bruneians’ preference for textiles, fabrics and fashions that were reasonably-priced.
Despite the challenges of limited capital, Nazeer was armed with simple but strong principles that reinforced his faith in business: that loyalty to your customers is as important as excellent service. Together with keeping prices reasonable, he managed to win a place in the competitive textile market. This and the belief that small profit in the beginning was a small price to pay for the greater goal of long-term sustainability were principles which drew him onward to greater heights.
Eight years later, Nazeer opened his flagship outlet in 2000 at the Delima Jaya Complex, the upmarket and high-end mall dedicated to merchandising textiles and fabrics.
Learning continuously from customer feedback, as well as from suppliers and employees has helped Nazeer shape his body of knowledge and insight into the often-fickle and competitive world of entrepreneurship. This on-the-job research helped to bolster his confidence and guided him when he was expanding his business. He believes that “many things in life grow out of needs, and to meet these needs, you develop determination.” This determination, he believes, helps an entrepreneur to take on challenges and to also find different ways of tackling situations.
This determination helped Nazeer to open the Nazeemah Department Store at Medan Tanjong Bunut in 2011. This achievement was the culmination of a journey of almost two decades from his first outlet in 1992. This perseverance in running a business empire that encompasses ten outlets – nine in Brunei and one in Dubai – is supported by Nazeer having a solid team of employees which he still captains. The textile empire employs close to 100 staff and generates revenue to the tune of 15 million Brunei dollars. Each outlet is managed according to principles that Nazeer has steadfastly held on to, such as placing customer satisfaction as the utmost priority. His marketing strategies evolve according to the changing nature of consumers’ buying behaviour and habits. And as it is with evolution, Nazeer keeps his retail empire thrumming with innovation as he ensures new products are constantly introduced to keep the retail experience fresh for his customers.
Determination and discipline form the backbone of Nazeer the entrepreneur whose business now includes home décor and fashion in addition to textiles and fabrics.
Business success is even sweeter with peer recognition, and in 2004, Nazeer was elected as President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Brunei Darussalam, and later in 2011, as Vice President III of the Brunei-India Friendship Association. An active philanthropist, Nazeer is known to be a regular benefactor to various charitable organisations and a generous aid donor to the underprivileged.
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