People often ask a question, “Why don’t you move to US or Europe and earn and grow much more than you’re doing here?” I tell them that this is a choice available with every professional. There’s a price of living and settling in West and there is a price of living and doing a business in Pakistan. Life in developed part of the world is smooth, better quality and more rewarding financially. Life in this land of pure, Pakistan, is rough and tough but is more rewarding, may not be in dollar terms, but definitely more in social and contributory terms. Whatever we do in our country, is directly contributing to our own economy and society.
How to sail through this rough and tough environment? There are many entrepreneurs and businessmen who openly admit of getting their right and wrong things done by greasing the palm of government officials. That path is easy. If you adopt that path, then there are no problems. Money buys loyalty of majority of decision makers in this country and if you have the skills, you can go from rags to riches in a short period of time. But this is a short term success.
If you want to build long term success for your children and grand-children, then this is not the right path. You have to adopt the other path – the right path – which is rough and tough and that’s doing the “right” things only. This means that you would get a lot of troubles, from regulators, from government authorities whether in tax, labour department, utilities and so on. Since money buys justice as well, you would be threatened by the competitors who are large and have more muscle power than you. To succeed in such a hostile environment and without using “under the table” tactics, you need to be strong. How can you get strong without being rich? You need to be strongly linked in the society and build friendships based on sincerity and trust.
If you’re an aloof and selfish person, then you cannot succeed here. It’s better to migrate; otherwise you would crib all the time. That’s why I always suggest to young entrepreneurs to team up with one or two like-minded friends and start a venture. A single person would soon be bogged down by troubles. If you’re in a team that is built on long lasting trust, team members will boost your moral when you are down and you will succeed. Foremost reason of our success is that we three friends, con-founders, started our venture about 16 years back and we are still together. Make friends in the community and society. Help others, do community and social work in any area that you like and when time comes, people will gather to support and help you. Join a community organization or even a good political party. That builds good and long lasting friendships and expands your social circle. You should target to make at least ten friends on whom you can bank in turbulent times. A simple test is that if you encounter an accident at 2:00 a.m. and call your friends for help, ten friends should be able to reach the site of accident on an hour’s notice. If you pass that test, you’re poised for success.
Team up with positive people and don’t waste time with negative people spreading pessimism and complaining all the time. Complainers never get to the top and they suck your energy.
Once you’re in a good team, then second step is “work, work and work”, golden words of great Quaid. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. You can beat many talented people with your hard work. As an entrepreneur, you should be first man in and last man out from workplace.
It would take you at least ten years of hard and smart work, honesty and resilience to build a business and brand on which your customers would trust, but the rewards would be enormous and greatly benefiting. Ten years are not long enough in a working life of almost half a century given the fact that life expectancy in Pakistan is increasing every year.