Find opportunity to start a business

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Published: Thu 31 Mar 2022, 9:19 AM

Last updated: Fri 1 Apr 2022, 5:32 PM

What is most important to start a business? The answers may vary. The popular and common answer is money or seed capital. Some will favour a particular skill set or business sense, some will prefer hard work or prolonged experience and some will link it to professional training or guidance. But in my opinion, to start a business, you need to have the habit of grabbing the opportunity as soon as you see it.

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My father, Mahadev Datar, saw an opportunity to step into business when he was actually about to retire from his job in Dubai. He had no business background, no training, no experience, no entrepreneurial skill set, and no financial support. He had only a monthly pension income from his previous job and savings, which were enough to meet his post-retirement expenses. Still, he made a daring and risky decision at once, when he saw an opportunity. He sensed the need of the Indian community, who had migrated to Dubai for jobs. The Indian community in the UAE wanted Indian foodstuffs and spices of their choice and there weren’t enough grocery stores at that time to cater to them. My father started a small store named Al Adil Trading in a rented space. He took every care to give his customers a warm and a hospitable service. He faced a lot of challenges to keep the business running, but ultimately his idea yielded fruit and his business grew multi-fold. He would tell me smilingly, “Son! Opportunity knocks at your door only once. If you don’t open the door and welcome her, she goes somewhere else and you have to wait for another opportunity.”

I have witnessed another example of a person who turned his fortunes by simply catching the opportunity at the right time. I own a residence in one of the Mumbai suburbs. One day, a poor person met me at the entrance of our society. He was selling cut and packed vegetables. I appreciated his hard work and gave him the same advice my father told me. I forgot the incidence and never saw that person in front of our housing society again. After a year, the same person came to my residence. This time his appearance was completely transformed. He was a proud small businessman now. He told me his inspiring story. While selling cut vegetables, he found the opportunity to sell knives and slicers also. First, he sold the items standing on the street. Later, he started a small business of selling cutlery and kitchen equipment. He acquired a loan from the bank and took a rented space. After some months, he approached a kitchen equipment manufacturing company and acquired their sub-dealership. Thus a street hawker turned into an entrepreneur.

Friends, there is a proverb which says — early bird catches the worm. It means, the one who grabs the opportunity first has the best chance of success. As far as business and opportunities are concerned it is totally relevant.

Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading.

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