‘In Kashmir, businessmen must never lose hope’

Mukeet Akmali
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 16 2018 11:08PM | Updated Date: Jul 16 2018 11:08PM
‘In Kashmir, businessmen must never lose hope’

Quest to do something better and grab the opportunity at the right time has been the success mantra of the top-notch businessmen. Same way 35-year-old Tariq Bhat, the managing director of Master Arts, with his business acumen and hard work, made his name in otherwise difficult business environment of Kashmir by introducing top brand mobiles such as Apple and Samsung in the Valley market.

Tariq has a peculiar thing about him, he believes in investing in those things where others shy away, and that opens a window of opportunity for him. Diversifying the family business, Tariq has donned many caps, from a mobile distributor to a hotel owner. He plans to keep on venturing in unexplored business fields of Kashmir. 

 Hailing from a business family, Tariq had a showroom in prime location in Lal Chowk vicinity started by his grandfather. “We were doing traditional handicraft business of import and export. But since childhood I had a rebellious thinking. After studying upto 10th standard in a missionary school here. I decided to move to Mumbai for further studies where I did MBA.”

“During my MBA, I developed an inclination towards business. My mind was clear that I will venture into something of my own. Despite getting on campus job offers, I came back. First thing I did was that I switched over from my family business activity of handicrafts. There were reasons to it, one our handicraft is not doing well globally second there is lot of fake items in handicraft trade which is giving this sector a bad name.”

“When I took the decision to change line of activity, it was a herculean task to decide what to do. In 2002, I was the first person in Kashmir who introduced Delongi gas heaters. This concept was new, so huge was the response that I sold a truckload of gas heaters in a day, earning estimated profit of Rs 5 lakh.”

After successfully trading gas heaters, there was sudden spurt in number of dealerships selling the same item. So he again decided to change his business activity, this time he got a dealership of BSNL Wll phones which were hot favourites at that time. 

After this business, Tariq says his visit to Mumbai shaped up his destiny. “I was staying in Mumbai where I saw mobile phone markets. It was not a common sight in Kashmir those days, given the fact that mobile phones were recently introduced in early 2000. After exploring market, I decided to invest in the mobile handset sector. Though there was opposition from well wishers to this idea, but I went ahead given its huge potential. Here I am today selling mobile phones of all brands.”

“With each passing day, business of mobile phones is gaining further momentum,” he said.

When asked about the total volume of business done by mobile distributors in Kashmir, Tariq said that it must be more than Rs 500 crore. “On an average, we have witnessed, youngsters ranging in age group from 18 to 25 years, change their handsets within six months.”

“So much is the craze for mobiles that even hartals have no impact on our business turnover. If there is hartal today, meaning we have no sales, next day we will have double sales recovering last days loss,” he said adding that smartphones have become game changers for the mobile handset business in Kashmir. 

Besides, running a mobile handset distributorship, Tariq has now invested in the hospitality sector and since 2016 he is successful managing a super deluxe Hotel Master Residency at Posh Rajbagh area. 

“There is no doubt that tourism sector has a good potential. But after managing a hotel I have realized that we need to bring professionalism in this sector, which unfortunately is lacking at this moment. I am now devoting lot of time to tourism sector because it needs attention as it is service oriented sector where a happy client means good business.”

When asked about his advice to young and budding entrepreneurs, Tariq said, “In Kashmir businessmen must never lose hope. We know we are working in difficult situations, but for that we must keep ready different plans to propel our business towards success. Therefore I always say develop an idea and work on it.  It is an idea, which can make or break your business. Money is not everything in business but it is how to approach your work that will decide whether you will succeed or not.”

Tariq Bhat, 35, MD Master Arts

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