“This opportunity helped me set my foot in this city and understand the market. It also helped me develop many contacts, many of whom I am still working with today. I was confident that this industry will always have the potential to flourish since it falls under necessity and not luxury.”
In about four years, Thakkar decided to venture out on his own. “It was always my dream to become an entrepreneur, and once I was confident about my market knowledge in this city, I decided to take the leap of faith.”
Thakkar’s colleague, a technical expert in the same field, decided to join hands and together, they started Delmont Fire & Safety in Ras Al Khor Industrial area in 2016.
Entrepreneurial beginnings of a fire and safety business owner
Hailing from a middle-class family, Thakkar’s entrepreneurial journey began by learning a few critical lessons from his father – a small business owner – and his mother, who taught him how to use and invest money wisely.
“In my growing years, whenever I asked for money, I would only get it if it was well within reason. I don’t think the term ‘pocket money’ ever existed with any middle-class family back then,” said Thakkar.
“My dad owned his own business, we have seen both the ups and downs, and so somewhere we were well prepared to deal with the success and challenges of business.
“My mother was very strict since I was an extremely naughty kid and would keep demanding new things all the time. But, she would give me Rs5 (25fils) every week to buy my favourite snack at my school canteen in Mumbai, India. What I learned from this was when you wait for something you love, the value only increases multifold.”
Besides that, there were also expenses for obtaining the trade licence. These include trade licence and office set up cost (Dh30,000 for the first year), visa expenses for the team (Dh40,000), machinery expenses (Dh20,000), and other requirements such as office van for transportation etc., which came to Dh50,000, Thakkar revealed.
Lesson #1: Don’t pocket profits in the starting years of business; instead, invest the money you earned back in your business.
Thakkar stated that one should not expect profits for at least the first three years from a new business.
“The rule I learnt from my father was to keep investing the money you earn for the first few years in your business itself. Set aside money for taxes and other unforeseen expenses. And keep your overheads as minimal as possible.”