HAVING an idea to start a business is usually the first step towards a dream come true and it certainly has become a reality for budding entrepreneur Prabhay Nand.
He recently signed on to become a tenant at the Damodar City complex in Laucala, marking his debut into the world of business.
Although a pharmacist by profession, business has always been part of life growing up in Fiji and Australia. The enthusiastic 26-year-old had his father to thank for allowing him to use their family business name for his first venture.
"I was always destined to be in business and formed a great interest from a very young age. Helping my parents in their shop really helped set the foundation for the future," he said.
"My grandfather in Tonga was a general merchant store owner and the business is still operating in Tonga today. My younger brothers are also pharmacists so I guess I was destined growing up with pharmacy to carry on the family business.
"The biggest challenge I think is putting an idea into reality and how to go about getting started. I tackled this by surrounding myself with experts in the field I was interested in and ask a lot of questions.
"There's nothing like a dumb question. Have mentors you can approach for advice but they can also guide you in the right direction and learn from their mistakes."
With the right support, he pushed on to attain regulatory approval for his business licence but it wasn't exactly a joyride.
"I thought it would have been a very easy process because the media and government have been going on about investing in Fiji and how easy it is," he said.
"There is still a lot of red tape associated with regulatory approval, the civil servants have to support the government of the day.
"I know government staff purposely delay approvals and disrupt progress of the nation. The Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade are promoting small business in Fiji and it's a pity government workers don't have the same sentiments.
"There is no concern as to my time and monetary loss but I think Investment Fiji should seriously look at such issues. You are at the mercy of civil servants who have no concern about the impact on business and the economy.
"The challenges never stop. Every day is a challenge when setting up a new business. I just take it as it comes but I never let the challenges take me away from the big picture."
He certainly knows what he wants and what to do to achieve his goals but the bottom line for overcoming obstacles, he says, is to work very hard.
Prabhay said reliable and efficient services offered by banks ANZ and BRED Bank Fiji allowed him to realise his business goal which will provide employment for 10 locals.
"Once the pharmacy is finished, the total project would have cost above $500,000 but I am very confident in the new pharmacy especially with it being brand new. It is always exciting and I believe there is potential in Fiji which is why I decided to return."
At this stage, Prabhay believes healthcare should be accessible to everyone but he's taking it one step at a time if he intends to open other branches nationwide.
For now, he's put his efforts into opening his new pharmacy and gift shop. Presentation is everything and once the finishing touches are added, he says the public can expect them to be more than just ordinary chemists.