Ritesh Keswani talks about his dream to launch a business that is related to the tech-savvy, 21st-century consumer.
Business dream just a click away
Ritesh Keswani is the managing partner of Shafqa.com, an online shopping portal he recently launched with his brother-in-law, Sagar Balani. In the second of our two-part series on the entrepreneurs, Mr Keswani says the website was born out of their desire to move away from their family businesses and set up something that related to the tech-savvy, 21st-century consumer.
How would you describe your financial journey so far?
Well, I always wanted to join my family business and aimed to diversify it. My parents have always supported me. My dad has been a driving force in guiding me towards ensuring I have taken the right decisions considering his many years of experience in the consumer product industry in the UAE.
Are you a spender or a saver?
I am somewhere in the middle. I feel that one should try and know your limits and manage your funds accordingly. Anything in excess is not a good idea, which also applies to both spending and saving my funds. In this aspect, Sagar and I have the same level of thinking and I think this will make Shafqa.com more successful.
What's your philosophy regarding money?
Without the correct "money philosophy", it's easy to get lost. Your money philosophy should help drive decisions in your life. When I create my money philosophy, it's important to think long term. Don't let the obstacles of today dictate your end goal. Don't be afraid to dream. Some facets I focus on in terms of money; I make sure to control my money and myself. More importantly, I march to the beat of my own drum.
What's the idea behind Shafqa.com?
Before we launched Shafqa.com, we both were handling our respective family businesses and decided to diversify our business portfolios, which are related to consumer products and heavy vehicle transportation. Both of us were very keen to start something together that would not only interest us, but also that would have the potential to relate to today's customers. Thus, the concept of online retail shopping was the best step, as we all know how tech-savvy every person is today.
How can online stores compete with malls?
I feel that today, serious shoppers do not have the time to visit malls and go through the hassles associated with it unless they want to try out something different. In my case, I am a brand-loyal shopper, so I know the perfume I want, the mobile accessories I carry or can't live without. I know a lot of people out there who are like me. So for them, online shopping is the best option.
Did you make any financial mistakes along the way?
Yes, we both have tried to understand the special financial considerations that need to be addressed throughout the different stages of Shafqa.com. We ensured that our financial plans were well organised and communicated between each other to avoid any mistakes or mishaps.
Do you believe in planning for the future?
I am not much of a planner, to be honest. I take my decisions as the situation demands.
Is money important?
Money is very important. You have to give it your best shot and then leave the rest up to God. With some luck and good effort, I am sure money will follow.
What is your idea of financial freedom?
Financial freedom for me would be to have full access and complete control to all the funds. I've never been an employee and working my way gives me a great deal of fulfilment from what I do, and I feel that I have so much left to accomplish. I feel free and independent.
What do you enjoy spending money on?
I love spending my money on clothes and accessories. Changing my mobiles is another weakness, as I am a gadget freak. Other than that, I do like to shop at times for myself. I'm loyal to a few brands that I can't live without.