To inspire our young readers, the britishasianews.com initiates a unique column 'Story that Matters', which will include a brief interview with successful migrant entrepreneurs in the UK. Whether the achievement small or big it does not matter, but the journey towards success is what really matters for today's youth.
If you come across any such achievers in UK please notify us with the contact details, we will be happy to talk to them for a feature on this column.
British Asia News Network
London, Oct 8: He is just a 50-year-old, energetic and successful self-made entrepreneur in the wholesale meat industry. Hard work is his mantra for success. A college drop-out at the age of 15 owing to lack of financial resources, he learned the trade of butchery in a small London butcher shop around 30 years ago, and now, having learnt the lessons life teaches every successful entrepreneur, his experience, advice and tips for youngsters truly inspire others. Meet Mohammed Munir, known as Munir Bhai Baboo, hailing from the Azad (Free) Kashmir region of Pakistan, and now a British citizen, who owns Baboo (Wholesale Meats) Ltd in Ripple Road, Barking, Essex IG11 0RH.
"I came to this country (the UK) as a baby, but my father sent me back to Kashmir when I was seven to learn the Kashmiri language, tradition and life. I lost my mother at the age of 12, and at 14 I returned to the UK. When I came back I joined school, but later I could not continue my graduation simply because we did not have enough money. So I had to look for a job. Working with my uncle and cousin helped me learn butchery - unless you do the butchering, you cannot know the quality of the meat. So that's how I learned the trade. And that has helped me grow and brought me where I am today.
"After becoming familiar with the butchery profession, working day and night, time had come for me to open my own meat-selling shop with my brother. While we were both running the small business, the idea of selling wholesale meat came to my mind but my brother was not so keen. But I had to take the risk," he says.
Munir Bhai's dedication, commitment and sincerity propelled up his graph. He somehow managed to buy bulk meat and sell it wholesale. He struggled for money but managed to survive, and like every successful businessperson who finds a fortune-changing turning point, he too found something.
Selling meat in the market during daytime was a tradition here, and the wholesale meat market was completely dominated by native British citizens. Munir tried to find a way around this, and came up with an idea - he took the risk of supplying meat to his wholesale customers during the night shift! He started working from as early as 1 in the morning and managed to complete the delivery process by 6-7 am. This schedule worked to his advantage and he never looked back since.
Munir, despite achieving great success in his trade, even today arrives at his logistics warehouse at 1 am, supervises the work personally and ensures that delivery takes place by 6 am. His dozens of co-workers are his strength, his wife is not only his companion but a source of inspiration for him, and in his three sons, he sees a bright future as they could achieve everything in education that he could not due to financial problems.
He remembers each and every difficulty he had to face during his journey. "I was lucky enough to get a great English mentor Eddie Brooks, who joined me, guided me, helped me in this trade. I will never forget his contribution in my business and life. Sadly, he is no more today (he passed away a couple of years ago)."
To Munir Bhai, religion is personal, and he believes in following his religion Islam while respecting every other religion. "You know, religion is a very personal thing, isn't it? It is, but most people want to push their beliefs on to others, you know, regardless of whether they are Hindu or Muslim or Christian. One benefit in this country is that it respects multiple races and religions, unlike back home in India or Pakistan. Yes, so many different, diverse communities live here. I mix with all of them. Look how many people we have here - we have Pakistanis, Afghans, Indians, Egyptians, Iraqis, Kurds, Iranians etc, and all are our family members.
"Business is all about a triangle, where you have only three things - trust, quality and service. If you lose one, the triangle is gone. To gain trust, it takes absolutely years, and a lot of hard work. This is what I have always believed in," says Munir Bhai.
Munir Bhai is uncertain about how the proposed Brexit will impact his company 'Baboo', which imports a huge quantity of meat from Europe. But he is optimistic, and believes nothing much will change and life will go on as usual even after October 31.
"Stay away from the negative," he advises every aspiring and up-and-coming businessman. "Negativity will pull you down. Be positive, and things will be much better in business."
True to his religion, he offers 'Zakat' (the term for charity in Islam according to which 2.5% of a person's income should go to the needy). He is religiously doing that by helping the needy in his home country of Pakistan.
When everything was going well in business, he dreamt of owning a luxurious house, car and all the other things he couldn't afford before. He saved enough money to realize his dream and make his family happy. But something terrible happened. His family members whom he had trusted to run his business, maintain accounts etc became richer than him in a short span of time, bought luxury cars and many properties, even as Munir's company account balance started dropping drastically until he reached a point where he did not even have money to pay the mortgage, salaries or even afford his children's school! He caught the misdeeds through CC cameras, learning to his utter shock that his own trusted family members were making money behind his back while pushing his company into losses.
"It was most the difficult moment of my life, and to keep the business afloat, I had to pull out all the savings I had for my new house, car etc. Every single penny was withdrawn to run the business. I had to expel them from the company, but they tried fighting their dismissal through court because I did not have documentary proof. But I fought and won in both the tribunal court as well as in my own court of struggle. In these situations you learn lots of lessons, and I definitely learnt one," he says emotionally.
A big cricket fan who also plays the sport as a hobby, Munir Bhai compares business to the game of cricket. "When we achieve success, it's like playing a game of cricket. When you win, fine, you won. But you will not learn much. But when you lose, you look back and you say, why the hell did I lose? I should have won that game. And there are weaknesses in you - you look at them, you analyse them. The same thing happens in life."
Munir Bhai dedicates his success to his family and workers. "I don't think much about the future, I work for success but do not keep many goals. I want to maintain what I am today, and if I work honestly with passion, success will come automatically."
good work well done
Good story inspirational especially in today’s day n age when once again we meet that cycle of hard times. People did it back the. We can do it again
Well done, Asians in UK good businessmen/women work hard, achieve. They come with nothing and never eat from from UK economy instead they enrich it. Good work congratulations Mr Munir
Star man - I like Cricket matcha analogy true say you win you don’t learn you loose, you analyse and learn from your mistake. Good story thanks for sharing
I like that every successful businessman has had hard times and they have a mentor. Mentors are very important
A great achievement well done