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Change is the law of life

Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar
Filed on August 26, 2021


Initially, we managed our shops with a traditional viewpoint. The customers would ask for things they need from across the counter. The salesman would then fetch the products from the shelves, hand them over to the customers and finally prepare a bill. The products were neither arranged systematically nor displayed attractively and only we knew where a particular item was placed. The customers didn’t have the chance to handle the groceries themselves. Even the billing was done traditionally using a calculator. People would form a queue in front of the cashier and wait for their turn to pay.

One incident proved crucial for me to transform my business. My sons were studying in secondary school then. One day, I noticed that my elder son Hrishikesh was delaying a haircut. I asked him to accompany me to our usual, reliable salon. He declined by saying, “I am not coming to that old fashioned salon. All my friends visit a modern men’s parlour. The parlour is always crowded and admission there is only by prior appointment. I have also booked an appointment there and am waiting for my turn to come.”

I casually enquired about the rates in the parlour, to which he replied that they charged thrice more than the traditional salon for a single visit. I was shocked and asked him why it was so expensive and what was so extraordinary in that parlour. Hrishikesh smiled and answered, “Come with me and see for yourself.” I was curious as to why this parlour was so popular — so I went with him and realised that he was telling the truth. The parlour looked less like a hair salon and more like an air-conditioned corporate office. The interiors were well-conceived and aesthetically decorated. The employees were hospitable and prompt. The salon section was amazingly clean and equipped with state-of-the-art machines and technology. They had the facility of showing each customer his face on a computer and suggesting which haircut perfectly suited him. No wonder customers were ready to pay more and making a crowd there. It was the result of modern amenities, a comfortable ambience, and excellent customer service.

I grasped the message quickly and abandoned my orthodox attitude. The first thing I did after the experience was to refurbish my shops and turn them into aesthetically built superstores that were modern and spacious. I arranged the merchandise neatly and attractively on the shelves. The customers were provided with baskets and carts and also had the chance to select and handle the products on their own. The billing became faster with the help of computers and barcode scanners. This modernisation helped my business to take a quantum leap. The chain of Al Adil superstores began to expand rapidly.

A quote by John F. Kennedy is worth remembering — “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”





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