If you are in business you must understand the value of time and money. That means you have to acquire the skill of controlling them. The first step is to take care of completing the planned work on time. For this, you should not be overly dependent on anyone but check up on the work regularly. When I was a novice in the world of business, my father had warned me not to be naive or take anyone for granted. He himself was a cautious and detail-oriented businessman. Once he had assigned the responsibility of writing the accounts of his business to a needy person, now since the man had some health problems he requested to complete the work from his home and also asked for an advance amount. My father trusted him and gave him the money. But even after eight months he could not complete the work. He started giving feeble excuses of his ill health and family problems. When reminded about the advance he had taken, he simply said that the amount was spent on medicines. My father got irritated and finally assigned the same job to a professional accountant and got it done very fast by paying extra money. He incurred loss of money and time for this. From this incidence, he learned his lesson and always kept the discipline of regularly checking in with every work in progress. He never relied upon a single person for a job.
I also had a similar experience but in a different context. My father had bought a plot in our native village and constructed a villa on it - but still a large portion of that land was vacant. When my parents passed away, I decided to utilise the portion for social cause. I built a marriage hall there and offered needy people its use without any rent. I assigned the management of that hall to a senior person who had prestige in the village. I fully trusted him. But after a couple of years, I faced some legal issues regarding the property. Since I was not a permanent resident in that village, the person whom I entrusted claimed the property. The property bought by my father with his hard-earned money was about to slip from my hands. There was no one on my side. At last I realised that I had to fight my own battle. I went there, stayed for a month, understood the problem, hired a lawyer and took back possession of my property. I then remembered the precious words of my father- how important it is to monitor our work and regularly check up on it.
In my business I never depend on a single supplier or a single service provider but keep other options open to keep the flow steady. I remember a quote by a 12th century noted scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah - ‘Don’t depend too much on anyone in this world because even your own shadow leaves you when you are in darkness’.
Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading
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