Simon Mohan, Co-Founder & MD at Global Business Consultants, 02 January 2017 – 2 min read
Denim Jeans: The Start of My Entrepreneurial Journey
I recall at the age of 10 scrimping and saving to buy a pair of denim jeans for the year-end school dance. Four bucks is what I needed. Now everyone who was someone was going to be at the dance. No way was I going to show up in my worn-out, tatty old school greys. I knew that no-matter what I wore, I was never going to hide the fact that I was poor. Nonetheless I was determined to get a mustard coloured denim jeans for the dance. I know, I know…’mustard’. It was style back in the late 80’s. It was during this time that I first unlocked my entrepreneurial instinct.
Living in a low-income government barracks meant one thing to me…lots of people. And where there were lots of people, there was always going to be a need for a service of some sort. An abundance of customers I recall. The old lady that would not step out of her flat, the man that was just a lazy old beggar and the middle-aged mums that couldn’t leave their homes to buy their bread during dinner time. I orchestrated my first service offering to this target market.
I would firstly make myself available to the neighbours. Just strategically hung around between 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm and waited in the wings for their requests. They knew that I was a fast runner and I was reliable. I would quickly run to the shops to buy their bread and milk, and not forgetting cigarettes for the lazy guy. Now, my services weren’t advertised, as such. My profits were the change, never a charge upfront. Almost 9 times out 10, the “customer” would say “keep the change”. That is what I was after – that was my business model – that was my denim jeans. There were times when people would not give me a penny and that frustrated the hell out me. But here’s the lesson. I quickly worked-out who were my “blood-sucking” customers. These customers would never let me keep the change. They weren’t customers, they were just users in my book and I wanted nothing to do with them.
My strategy had to change so that I was never available to them. I was polite a lad and would never say “no”. But I knew that I had to change my tactics if I were to make 4 bucks in six weeks. That was a lot money back then. I worked out who my paying customers were and capitalised on that. There were many lads on the estate that could do the same however I was fast and I was reliable. The same could not be said for most of the other lads. Every trip to shops earned me at average 5 pence. That Sumer by merely focussing on my objective I made 8 bucks in 6 seeks. I learnt an important lesson that Summer. Having a great idea is half the battle. The other half was providing a trouble-free and efficient service. Mine was fast and reliable.
That was my first well-thought-through idea to make money. I loved that challenge and I loved the success that followed. I owe that start of my entrepreneurial journey to that summer. I did get those mustard coloured denim jeans. The dance sucked but I enjoyed every second wearing those denim jeans.
Simon Lee Mohan
Co-Founder & MD at Global Business Consultants
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