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Saturday February 3, 2007

Prudent path to success

Tan Sri S.M. Nasimuddin S.M. Amin made his first millioBy applying for Approved Permits for bumiputras. 


WHEN he was 21, he had RM80,000 in his bank account which he saved from his remunerations from helping out his contractor father. A year later, he made his first million. 

Business acumen: Nasimuddin decided to import used Japanese cars at a time when Japanese cars were popular with Malaysians.
It was 1975 and he did it by applying for government-issued Approved Permits (AP) to import cars for bumiputras. 

In retrospect, Naza Group of Companies boss Tan Sri S.M. Nasimuddin S.M. Amin felt he did it because he was already married at such a young age and was keen to venture into business on his own. 

His advantage was that he was, and still is, a prudent and simple man who saved every sen he received from his parents since his school days, and from what he earned helping his father in his construction business and later from his job as a clerk. 

“My family was not rich. I saved every little sum of money I earned as well as whatever my parents gave me and I ended up with RM80,000 in savings,” he said in an interview at Naza World. 

“I told my wife ‘why don’t we try this.’ I told her that at the end of the day we would still get our money back and there would be no risk in the automotive business. 

“With the RM80,000 I bought 20 APs and then I flew to Japan. I spent three months there and I brought in my first 20 units of used Japanese cars, which I sold in three months. 

“We started with a shoplot in Taman Maluri selling 10 to 15 units of cars each month. (In 1979) we opened a branch in Kampung Baru (Kuala Lumpur) doing retail and selling 40 to 60 cars monthly.” 

His rise in the auto industry was as fast as the cars he loves. “I have always loved cars since my teenage years. That is why I am in this business. My father’s construction business was not my cup of tea,” he added.  

During those years, Nasimuddin had already shown his business acumen when he decided to import used Japanese cars at a time when Japanese cars were popular with Malaysians.  

He faced some challenges, including financing and how to convince customers to buy used cars when many were then not keen on foreign cars. But his passion and faith in the business drove him to success. 

“To succeed you must love what you do and you must know what you are doing. You must plan ahead and have direction,” he said. “In business you must start from small, study everything and go step by step.”  

Naza has become the biggest and most prominent importer of luxury high-end vehicles in the country. 

Despite being a highly successful and wealthy businessman, Nasimuddin says he has not changed much. 

“The only difference is that I started off with five employees and now I have about 4,000,” said the former student of SM Tuanku Muhammad in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan. 

He turned 52 last month and is still raring to go. “There’s more to come,” he said.  


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