Coming from a big family, Abdul Rahim Bin Mohd Sabri learnt much about teamwork through a family that functions in an organized manner. Speaking to Top 10 of Malaysia, Abdul Rahim Bin Mohd Sabri, CEO of QR Apparels Sdn Bhd shares on his strong family bond, determination, past challenges and vision for his company.
During his growing up years in Ipoh, Abdul Rahim Bin Mohd Sabri’s mother ran a tuition business while his father was in civil engineering. “There are eleven of us. We paired up to be in charge of a particular chore so teamwork is ingrained into me since in my early years as the family functions like a corporate entity,” he shares with a laugh. Working at a car wash with Bangladeshi friends when he was nineteen, Abdul Rahim learnt how to speak Bangla fluently. Then he realized that there was a demand for t-shirt printing in the university and he seized the opportunity. “I helped pick up orders as I was travelling often. A student body then asked a friend of mine to source for cheaper lab coats for a bulk order so I helped and we got the contract for two years. That’s when I first thought of business seriously,” he shares.
Abdul Rahim knew he had to grow up quickly and to save enough money as he wanted to marry young so while at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS in Perak, he persevered. “I had class in the mornings, meetings in the evenings then I’d drive to Kuala Lumpur for business and reach university around 5am to get ready at 6am for classes again,” Abdul Rahim explains. Although QR Apparels, the company he started, has come a long way, Abdul Rahim says it can achieve more. “I finished studying in September, graduated in October and my first child was born in November 2015. My final project in Kuala Lumpur was tough as I travelled back and forth a lot for everything,” says Abdul Rahim. As a family man, he looked after his wife during her pregnancy and maintained his commitments before focusing back on business.
Specializing in the printing and embroidery of clothing, QR Apparels’ internal processes were refined last year “I’d say we are 80% autopilot now but the goal is to be fully autopilot. I believe we can go further focusing on growth this year,” he adds. “Though simple, staff training is important to ensure errors don’t occur and job sheet details are crucial because if written wrongly, jobs need to be redone,” Abdul Rahim elaborates. QR Apparels is now able to fulfil orders for 6,500 pieces within thirteen days.
As for milestones, he is happy with the autopilot status. “We have big clients and sufficient experience and now is the time to expand,” he adds. Furthermore, he believes learning contributes to QR Apparels’ growth as it had to bear the costs of re-printing a few times when fine-tuning job sheets. “Once, an employee messed up a big order but that person is still with me today as I believe everyone learns valuable lessons through mistakes and should be given a second chance,” says Abdul Rahim.
On his leadership style, Abdul Rahim believes he has an open door concept. “If anyone has problems, I will offer my solutions. I don’t believe in scolding but I expect productivity, a mindset for growth and critical thinking,” shares Abdul Rahim. He is also quite satisfied with his well-balanced lifestyle. “My business is almost fully autopilot so I have more time for the family now,” he says. Likewise, his marriage at a young age and family are his greatest achievements, inspiring him to reach for greater heights. “No doubt, I have sacrificed much by getting married early and bearing the cost of my wedding as a business owner and scholarship student. But I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for those sacrifices,” says Abdul Rahim.
His advice to those wanting to go into business is to take risks. “You cannot score if you don’t shoot. Theory and reality are so different and if you’ve done enough research, just do it. Remember, there is no failure, just feedback,” says Abdul Rahim.