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‘Hard labour spurred me to success’
Chairman UKPCCI and Chief Executive Super Save Stores Chaudhry Mohammad Sadeeq had arrived in Britain with his father at the age of 13 years and started work at a Halal meat shop. Later became the area manager of his maternal uncle Sir Anwar Pervez’s first Bestway Store and on his suggestion opened a shop at Hendon Central with the investment of £1000 and today owns multi million pounds business empire. He attributes his success to his hard work, his parent’s prayers and encouragement from his wife. He has one daughter and three sons. The daughter is a doctor, the elder son is barrister, the other accountant and the youngest is University student.
Ch. Sadeeq’s family belonged to Azad Kashmir which left its place and settled in Rawalpindi at Peshawar road due to construction of Mangla dam. "My father was a farmer and lived in a village. He came here in 1968 and started working in a factory. I still remember that one day my father took me and boarded a plane telling that we were going to London. I was admitted in a private school at Gloucester road. I learnt to read and write English. As soon as I grew up started working at the Halal Meat shop of my uncle Sir Anwar Pervez at Earls Court. My job there was to pack pulses and rice. When in 1972 my uncle opened his first Bestway Cash and Carry shop at Brampton Road I started full time working with him and continued till 1982. On the advice of my uncle I opened my own shop by the name of Super Save in Hendon Central. Today there are over 25 branches of my store throughout Britain."
About the initial days of his business, he says: “In 1982 when I became area manager of Bestway Cash and Carry, my uncle advised me to open my own shop. At that time I was controlling his three units and some 300 workers were working under my supervision. I started my business with 1000 pounds and today I own a business empire. I think if one starts some work with the well wishes of his parents and honesty success is guaranteed. Instead of moving fast one should work with steady pace and wait for the result with patience. It took me over 20 years to reach this point. My wife also has a big hand in my success. In my difficult time she always advised me not to lose heart and continue with complete confidence and determination."
In those days starting a business for an Asian and a Muslim was very difficult. About his early struggle Ch. Sadeeq said "I used to work at my uncles’ for 14 hours a day and seven days a week and was paid £6 per week. There is vast difference of prices between now and then. During the early days of my business when I returned home depressed from my shop, my parents and wife would console and encourage me that one day my struggle would bear fruit. I had at my credit only the experience in convenience and grocery business. I saw the word ‘super’ written at some place which I liked and adding the word ‘save’ to it I named my shop as ‘Super Save’."
Economic crunch and strong competition have made business comparatively difficult while business modus operand has also changed since then to a great extent. "At that time competition was not that tough as it is today as there were fewer shops and no concept of super markets and convenience stores. Rent, prices and wages were much low. Today the rate of profit is the same but rent, prices and wages have gone up. In early days, banks would not extend loans easily. Finding a hard working and honest staff is also a problem and in absence of any support and backing one has to bear the burden alone in case of loss. I understand that had I been in Pakistan I would not have achieved this much progress while this country is full of opportunities and if one works hard success would be his. I am not much educated but with hard work have reached this position.”
Some 40 years had passed since Super Save was launched. “Economic recession had cast little impact on my business. We have more varieties in our stores compared to others. We provide the best service to our customers. Keeping in view the demand of a certain item we made it available at our store the next day and our prices are also lower than that at super stores. The big brands sell their items through brain washing and earn profit only because of their big name.”
About charity works Ch. Sadeeq said that "I had done a lot of work at the time of earthquake in Pakistan and built many villages, schools and mosques. In my own four schools in Pakistan orphan girls and boys are studying at my personal expense. I also worked in fund raising to help flood victims and provided homes to them. I also tried to help as much as I could at the time of tsunami, earthquakes in Iran, Bosnia and Haiti. I support many charities from the platform of Alif Din Welfare Trust I have set up after the name of my parents."
The business community does not seem much satisfied with the government’s policies. "The economic graph also shows negative trend instead of any upward improvement. The economic crisis has engulfed the entire world. Some of the policies of the present government are good such as extending loans to small business. But at the same time its immigration policy is very tight and is being made stricter every month which I don’t consider proper."
Law and order is being presented as an excuse for non investment in Pakistan. Is there any programme to open Super Save branch in Pakistan? “I am already having many businesses in Pakistan and am netting more profit than in this country. Here taxes are heavy. So far as problems are concerned I would ask ‘is there any country free of them?’ Here competition is tough as people from different parts of the world come here for business while Pakistan is still undergoing development process therefore it offers more opportunities to progress. Labour in that country is also cheaper. As chairman of the UKPCCI, I would suggest that this is the proper time to invest in Pakistan”.
“I think that we should also move forward in the field of education. I would suggest to the newcomers though at a small scale yet they should do their own business and if they have some experience of that field they could see how fast it grows by adding a bit of hard work."