Sunday, August 9, 2020

Be an Optimist and an Opportunist by Dhananjay Mahadev Datar

I consider myself fortunate as I always got valuable advice from senior traders. I still remember the day when I earned the first profit of my life. I would purchase the spices at a wholesale rate from Deira Dubai and sell them later in retail at our shop. Once, an experienced Bangladeshi trader named Mullah Chacha insisted to me to purchase a bag of quality red chilli powder. Since I had no money left to buy it at once, I declined his offer. Then Mullah Chacha gave me a valuable business tip by saying, “Son, I know your struggle. All days are not equal. You will also overcome the challenges, but always remain an optimist and an opportunist. Don’t let good things slip out of your hands.” I followed his advice and purchased the chilli powder on credit. When I sold it to my customers, they liked it and demanded more. I got a considerable profit which boosted my confidence.

I remember an anecdote from an Indian businessman in the 19th century. His name was Panchanan Das. Those were the days of British rule in India. Panchanan was a poor orphan living in a small village in Bengal province. In his early youth, he shifted to a small port town named Khansama and began his career as an assistant to a tobacco trader. Once it so happened that the prices in tobacco market had fallen heavily. Panchanan’s master started worrying as he had a huge stock stored in the warehouse. Panchanan kept reassuring his master. One day he had gone to the port as usual and saw 2 ships anchored there. He came to know that they were loaded with a large stock of tobacco. Panchanan knew the price volatility in the market very well. He purchased the entire stock at a throw-away price on his master’s name.

When he returned to his office, his master happily told him that the rates of tobacco in Calcutta market had begun to soar. Panchanan immediately rushed to the port again and sold the stock he possessed at a higher rate. He earned a huge profit of Rs. 10000. He honestly gave all the money to his master and told him about his adventure. The master was so pleased with Panchanan, that he awarded the entire amount back to him and said, “Young man, I see an able businessman in you. You should no longer remain anyone’s servant. Business favours adventurous people, who smell and grab opportunity well in time. You are one of those. I relieve you from my service. Go and start your own business with this money.” Panchanan obeyed his master’s advice and started his own business. Later he became one of the richest traders in the entirety of Bengal. The words of that tobacco trader or Mullah Chacha are time immemorial.

A quote by Winston Churchil is worth remembering- A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.

By: Dhananjay Mahadev Datar, CMD, Al Adil Group, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia & India.

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