Excuses or entrepreneurship?

Published: June 16, 2010

Pakistan can not see the change until we change our attitude.

The weather was nice in Islamabad. Clouds surrounded the Margalla Hills, while discussions went on about the economy, the deplorable business outlook and politics.

I was listening to these people speak about Pakistan’s worst business environment. They were saying that it is difficult doing business in Pakistan. Some of them were even planning to shift their businesses overseas.

I called them to stop. They were stunned. I remained quite for a minute and then posed a question. Can we ask Student Biryani and Dilpasand Sweets to close their businesses and shift to any other country in the world? They did not say anything but the answer was clear.

Today we have numerous points to advocate that Pakistan is not a great place for business. We cannot deny that we are in a severe energy crisis, we cannot forget that our governments have crafted chaos in economic policy making, we cannot ignore that the law and order situation in the country is not the best but is this a time to surrender? Is this a horizon whereby we can say it is all over?

Unfortunately we are unable to see success stories in this great land of ours even in this highly volatile environment. This is the country that made a businessman who sold 25 paisa Tasty Chhaliya (betel nuts) a millionaire. This is the country that allowed businesses like Student Biryani to sell their franchises for millions. This is the country that let Dilpasand Sweets grow exceptionally.

People, I am not quoting the names of inherent business families in Pakistan. Tasty, Student Biryani or Dilpasand Sweets are not the only names that have achieved such phenomenal success. If we travel through Pakistan we can see many examples where people are growing faster than they can in any other part of the world. Regardless of dangers to life in our country, some people work whole heartedly. They equally increase value and provide employment to the poor.

The only point is that we have two strata of people. One, are the people of excuses and other are the people of entrepreneurship. We are not ready to work in the flow of our excuses and we expect success. I remember when Vidal Sassoon stated the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

We do not understand that it is not enough to cry over policies of the government and the worsening law and order situation in the country. This is what we have and we cannot change it until we start working towards the revival of our economy. This can only happen if we develop a culture of entrepreneurship in the country. Entrepreneurship that is free of excuses.

It is really unfortunate that country’s economic performance is getting worse even though we have a large number of people graduating with business degrees. The basic problem is that our youth is more interested in acquiring jobs or immigrating to developed countries rather than bearing the hassle to start something themselves. I am sure that the owners of Student Biryani, Tasty and Dilpasand Sweets were not highly educated. They had the same level field as we have yet they made it and we live in excuses.

Thomas Edison once said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Do we have 10 ways that did not work in anticipation of success? We need to find solution for our economy. If we do not have great economic management at the macro level, we can at least make to start. Let us not wait. We can even start with nothing.

A wise saying goes people of accomplishment never sit back and wait for things to happen. They go out and make things happen. This is our time to decide whether we are a nation that is waiting for things to happen for us or will we go out and make things happen. Let us start living free of excuses and fear and start working. Pakistan can not see the change until we change our attitude.


Saqib Omer Saeed

A financial researcher, analyst and adjunct faculty in CBM, SZABIST, BIZTEK & University of Karachi and blogs at www.bizomer.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Erum Q.

    there is no doubt that people of Pakistan like to follow n not to lead. Since the time of down fall of the muslim mughal emperors to the date, some how or the other Pakistani’s are real good follower may it be Indian media, the landlords or may it be vague politicians. It is only education that can be an eye opener for the people but still there is no sign of improvement! Or perhaps the top people are happy with this illiteracy as it makes their job easier, riots, protests and the puppets to do what ever they wish to get done! ↲
    God bless Pakistan.Recommend

  • Callen

    It does not take a degree in Business Administration to become a successful entrepreneur, as a matter of fact several successful businessmen and women never had any exposure to business or related studies. Starting out with an MBA is encouraged but the situation tends to change when one graduates lucrative offers made by several companies distort the mind of a person from becoming a self-employed entrepreneur to a lousy staff job at a multinational company.Recommend

  • Erfan Afghan

    Entrepreneurship is the way to go. It’s time to be a job maker instead of job taker and there’s no doubt that we are going through one of the toughest period in fact we are going through crisis (Power crisis, inflation etc.) but with crisis there comes an opportunity.

    We need to come up with something remarkable to be successful in the current environment. We have to be C R E A T I V E .Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed

    I wish we would stop talking the economy down. It could become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Lift the contraints holding back growth, starting with energy. The economy will grow, create jobs and reduce poverty. It has great resilience. Good policies take time to be felt.Recommend

  • Tauseef

    I think I like what you just said. Guess I am too lazy and surrender too early and too often. Need to get some balls. :)Recommend

  • Arslan

    I really appreciate your thinking Mr. Saqib. i am going to start my business from tomorrow and the only thing i have in my mind is i have to do it and do it best and smartly…i figure out that our course is killing the creativity of our generation..the fear raised in their mind to disobey the line is so strong that they become reluctant to take risk and initiative.

    i have started working on this issue and my focus is to prepare some stories/short dramas and documentaries which can be shown to our young generation so that fear can be minimized. your suggestions will be helpful for me.Recommend

  • Arslan

    as my teacher said we have to bring innovation to be successful and innovation comes from creativity and knowledge…:)Recommend

  • Sulaiman Dawood

    Asalam o Aliekum Everyone,
    The article is a gem for the ones who own intelligence. Infact, most of the culture of our society esp after the students graduate from university is immediately looking for a job somewhere… pupils go door to door and drop their CVs inorder to get a job. I know one guy who didn’t get a job for 1.5 years and just got employed recently.

    After my graduation in mechanical engineering I was making feasibility for my own engineering business when I got a call from an organization to join in. Thinking that the experience would help me to learn and get a hands on experience to set up my own organization, I joined in! When I got into it, I saw a totally different world. The staff is involved in so much office politics that the learning environment is totally distroyed! Infact, they feel themselves insecure if we get trained.

    What I realized that what we learn in our engineering is not being applied in Pakistan. Maintenance can be even done by a Matric/Inter Pass, when they know that we have to replace a component if it gets damaged. ENGINEERS ARE WASTING THEIR POTENTIAL!

    Moreover, if an organization is earning in millions you get only peanuts…

    After completing this month, I will be resigning from job and start my own bussiness related to new product development. I would like to get some suggestion from you that how to start, and how much cash required should be decided, how should I market my organization initially and afterwards?

    Though starting a business is a risky thing, I’ve decided to take it. I request the people out there to pray for it being its successful. (Ameen)

    Thanking you

    Sulaiman Dawood

  • Arslan

    @Sulaiman Dawood:
    Sulaiman Dawood very best of luck and best wishes for you in your new business…..if you need any help regarding management issues just send me an email at [email protected].
    i have also completed my graduation also planning to start new business..Recommend

  • Saad

    Totally agreed,
    but their is something more which i like to add,
    i’m a business student, last week i attend the conference and the topic is enterpreurship.
    The person who present the conference ask students to tell him about the business which is start up with a single person and now it is a succesful business, everybody said about Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and such other huge firms, but unfortunately no one said about Gourmet bakers, Student buryani and other such small and succesful business in Pakistan.
    The problem with us is that we tried to run a business with million of profits due to which one can’t be able to establish a business in present environmant of Pakistan,
    so from my piont of view we should start from a small step and then go further and then i’m sure with a strong business plan one can have a succesful business.Recommend

  • Sulaiman Dawood

    Dear Saad

    I like your suggestion, every business starts from one maker and one customer. Be positive and have faith in ur abilities and Allah as well.

    Wish u good luck in ur career


    Sulaiman DawoodRecommend