Entrepreneur: Zuheb Khan
Business Name: First Venture Hotels
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 64
Born into a family of business people entrepreneurship came naturally to Zuheb; but it took vision and courage to diversify into avenues that seemed promising and profitable to the entrepreneur’s eyes.
The many journeys he had made across the globe gave a new perspective to this young man who decided to apply it into his businesses and create a new path. “If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary,” says the man who practices what he preaches.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
Design, architecture and style always fascinated me. Every beautiful hotel had something different to offer and one day I had a discussion with my brothers regarding it, and the idea of making a boutique hotel popped up.
I was very confident of it since I travel a lot for business, and understand the need and importance of getting decent accommodation at affordable prices. At the moment, India is running short of hotel rooms in every category across every city.
I come from a family which was primarily engaged in metal export business for generations but to think out of the box is the need of the hour, and that’s how this hospitality business kicked off for us.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
Tourism has now become a significant industry in India. It is a sunrise industry, an employment generator, a significant source of foreign exchange for the country. Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner in India. The booming tourism industry has had a cascading effect on the hospitality sector with an increase in the occupancy ratios and average room rates.
Due to the boom in tourism and increase in the number of foreign and domestic tourists, hotel sector is bound to grow. There is an emergence of budget hotels in India to cater to much of the population who seek affordable stay.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
My family has been very supportive of the idea of entrepreneurship. They always supported me to do what I wanted since I never followed the usual rules and regulations and always did things the way I wanted to, but they also warned me of recognising the right opportunity carefully as it involved funding, decision making and economic risks.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
During my younger days I was very impatient and wanted results too fast . However, I came across a quote which read, “Impatience, unsurprisingly, is a common byproduct of the entrepreneurial mindset.”
I know that I certainly used to fall into this category. It was only after several years of working that I came to realize that in business, patience truly is a virtue. I would strongly suggest other entrepreneurs to have a lot of it!
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
Since hotel industry is large capital intensive business, there’s always challenge of funding.
We want to grow and reach out to more cities, but capital introduction and funding will remain our biggest challenge in future.
However we will look for franchising mode in years to come and look for raising cheapest capital options available. Another challenge I always face is hiring people in tier 1 and tier 2 cities, and training them.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Success only comes when you take the initiative to try and not worry about failure. Without trying you will never know anything.
Also be confident about what you are doing. You can’t convince your customer until and unless you are confident about what you are selling. I am also keen on maintaining honesty and transparency in business.“ if you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary”
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I would try to make more refined spaces in a guest-friendly way and probably list my company if there was a chance available,
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“ DREAM BIG “
9) Where do you find inspiration?
I get ideas and inspiration when I travel. Every new place has something different to offer.
10) What is your favourite book?
YOU CAN WIN
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Work hard and stay focussed
Entrepreneurship is never easy. Zuheb Khan however was lucky to have been born into a family that taught him the nuances of the trade at a very young age. We all have our passions from where we draw our inspiration, for Zuheb it was traveling.
Ideas are where it all begins from and ideas can come from anywhere. Businesses are best nurtured when they are loved. Zuheb’s love for design and luxury helped him create Hotel Amara, a one of a kind boutique hotel in the heart of Moradabad.
Startups are all about doing what’s never been done, or rather doing what nobody had the courage to do. The idea of plunging into a business might scare you, but having that desire and not doing it might end up becoming more painful than you imagined. If you know what you are doing you are half way there, you can pick up the other half during the journey.
Don’t dive in blindfolded. Get your facts checked, your finances counted, your support structure in place and a mental note prepared for the worst-case scenarios that might come your way. Entrepreneurship is for those who understand that it is now or never. It is for the ones who have set their heart on target. Zuheb Khan did it, so can you.
You can connect with Zuheb on Instagram here.