One, he felt that just buying and selling doesn't comprise of business- there's so much more to it. And two, real business isn't part-time, it has to be all the time. Thus he ventured into manufacturing as well, establishing Tibet Knit in Bir, H.P.
Rabten is 36 years old, an ex computer teacher at TCV Gopalpur, and dreams of owning a company like Yahoo- easy to use, you get what you want, and thus a one-stop shop.
Three reasons why Tenzin Rabten entered into his own business:
• I look upto my Dad, a successful businessman
• I don't like diplomatic company jobs
• I want to be my own Boss
Where do you want to be 5 years from now
• Want to export excellent quality of sweaters
• Take care of family, for which success in business is critical
Rabten's idea to start manufacturing has great success potential because of a tremendously large market size, even if he focuses only on North India to begin with. He has already developed his visiting card and started pitching to leading schools and monasteries. He already has won some quick orders here. He will also be focusing on manufacturing commercial sweaters.
Hiring labour has been a challenge for him, even after trying to recruit from Tibetan Career Centres. Ludhiana seems the best bet, though rising costs are often a problem.
Getting legally registered and having a company profile and letterhead helps him establish credibility in meetings since he is already registered. He also proves that legal registration of Tibetan refugees is not difficult, even in a remote area.
Business Planning is very important, Rabten says. With his mentor, Rabten worked out a production model which factors his various cost components and helps him analyze exactly how much is labour accounting for his product cost, what effect does it make if labour cost rises, etc. Most importantly it helps him fix a profit margin and price his products. Understanding the business in-depth also gave Rabten the confidence to go meet CTA Home Department for Machine leasing.
Although the modest and humble Rabten believes that he is getting there, the very fact that he started as a pioneer in the community makes him a successful, visionary, leader! His advice to young Tibetans is 'Follow your heart and passion. Do research and gain knowledge before starting up'.