WHAT happens when a man is down and out? Should he take to the ...well, the highway, and dig in his heels. There's this man who actually did that. Took to the highway, stationed himself right next to it. And reinvented success, with just an idea for company - Value for Money!

By Sushil Kutty

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Published: Sun 1 Feb 2004, 10:34 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:34 AM

Not very original, is it?

Wait, there's more to come. And in that is where there's 'Value for Money'. In the "more to come". Like in "Eat As Much You Can ...10 Dhs Only' - the legend on the banner that all but overhangs Shaikh Zayed Road in Al Quoz .

In frank red, it proclaims not just ready wholesome food but also food that's a "whole lot more".

It announces the Highway Inn Restaurant, a venture born out of defeat-resurrected-into-grand-succcess.

To begin with, there was a debacle. But the debacle was not of his making. More a "hit" from fate.

"One day, I was on top of the world. The next, out of business. I was a dealer of Sanyo photostat machines. Then Sanyo stopped production. There was no product to sell...," says the man who was in one fell-shot brought to his knees, on the highway.

The "support structure umbrella" that kept him upright gone, he had to begin all over again.

Stories like this abound in the UAE. Of a business going bust. And then rising again, like a Phoenix. There are lessons to be learn't. What are these lessons? What does it take to reinvent success.

First and foremost, accept the altered situation. It is in man's nature to ignore reality, if it doesn't suit him. To live in a dream world. Sort of keep on fooling himself that "all's well".

All is never well. There are always ups and downs.

Second, it is time to regroup resources.

Third, the desire to keep going.

"If earlier, everything was taken for granted, now it was to look ahead. The orphan has to find his feet. The entrepreneur has to change his mould of thinking. Decide where to place himself. Accept the challenge. Adapt to the new environment. Find that alternative," muses Alexander Pothen, the man behind the success that's Highway Inn Restaurant.

Then again, there's another requisite - the good advisor, the sounding board. Alex realised reality. That the onus was on him to chart a new path, which he did, with help - from his sponsor.

"My sponsor stood by me through thick and thin. Held me on to the right course. Helped me capitalise on his and my experience. There were difficulties. It was a new environment. It required the development of expertise in an altogether new area. I also had to find new resources. That included finance. I had to work on a new business idea with a team of people not necessarily from within the structure," recalls Pothen.

Fact is, the formula for success is more or less standard. With a minus here. And a plus there. The other ingredients are not very much different. Apart from those already mentioned, a man intending to be on the move should also be seen to be in the company of those already on the move. He should associate with the successful.

The challenge of the reality accepted, the next step is to break up the uncharted path into activities and give each a time-frame. Thereafter, keep assessing the goal constantly. Make the required detours in the path, if called for. The attitude should be positive.

Finally, only that man succeeds who has that "extra-something" in him. Not the management specialist who writes a best-seller on How to Make a Million Dollars. His mind is fossilised. He does not have the daring. Only those who dare win. Take to the highway. And station themselves right next to it. That's the winning way.

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