So I just finished reading this book, which is written by Sadruddin Haswani who is a prominent businessman in Pakistan. Reason I read this book was to learn from a successful businessman. Here is the summary of things I learned from the book:
- His first business was to help his brother in law in one of his businesses. That was his first business and he worked really hard at it. Profit margins were low and there was a lot of inter-province travel involved. He was working on this relentlessly, even then he had this "growth" mindset as he wanted to grow even more and never settled whenever he reached a certain milestone. He setup goals and he wanted to achieve those no matter what. He always he had this desire to improve his performance. Unfortunately because of some personal issues he had to quit this business and leave everything he built. That was kind of sad.
- His next business was to sell bailing hoops. Very soon in this business he realized that he needed to do something unique to stand out from the rest. He improved the payment cycles and also focussed on quality. He, then, diversified into different other products. He always wanted to know more about this business. He also worked on accumulating cash. Then, a very big order came knocking his door to export cotton to Russia. Banks weren't willing to finance so in order to fulfill the order he partnered with a company.
Also, he realized that he needed to build his business on few foundations e.g. a)- low profit b)- fast delivery and c)- low expenses. For his customers his reputation and price were important to him. He worked very hard at this business e.g. he would start as early as a 8 am and stay till night.
- He became the number 1 exporter of cotton. There was a point when he needed to pay a big amount and he felt totally helpless but then a manager of a Bank of China helped him with the payment. Probably that is a true reflection of "where there is a will, there is a way".
- Then because of his reputation Louis Dreyfus Group started buying rice and it proved really profitable for his other businesses. Later, he ventured into building hotels all over Pakistan. He even bought a hotel in US at some point. Rest is history.
From what I can tell after reading this book, as a business man I find him hard working, intelligent, determined and a smart guy. He also faced a lot of political pressure but he stood his ground. He didn't have a degree in business administration yet he bootstrapped multiple businesses in multiple industries which I find really amazing.