“Lessons one learn from the early stages often help us to develop our philosophy on life” said Dr. Khalid Maniar. Throughout the life he practices a mantra “Positive attitude will lead to positive outcomes.” Armed with such positive thinking and an unusual commitment to diligence and service, he is a visionary leader with the ability to develop and implement business solutions including turn around strategies. Being listed twice in the Forbes magazine of top Indian Business Leaders in the Middle East, he is an inspiring example of where determination and focus can lead in the entrepreneurial journey. I welcome Dr. Khalid Maniar in my blog and share with you, my readers, our conversation.
- What kind of personality are you? Tell me more about yourself as an individual and as an entrepreneur?
We are chartered accountants and this is our audit and consulting practice here. I am here in Dubai since over 36 years now and this is the practice which I started myself. Now it has grown with multiple partners, directors and specialists in different fields and this I take it as a kind of entrepreneurship in myself and support of my dear partners who made this possible.
- Other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important professional/business decision you made that contributed to your success?
My father was a businessman, with the family who was in the same business enterprise, and he taught me one lesson when I was around 10 years old: “One can only be successful if there are 2 things in mind: first is determination of doing something what you want to do, concentration on your core competence as a professional and second is grace of luck on your side”. I was focusing on professional practice and was not distracted by any other opportunities that were outside my core competency.
Applying focus and determination in what you do will lead any type of business to success.
- Is there any formula of becoming a successful entrepreneur? Can anyone who applies this formula become successful?
Yes there is one formula which I heard from many entrepreneurs. Microsoft chairman, who surpassed all the top 10 world companies and put his company on top, once said “I am not an educated person but only my determination and my luck has made me successful”. If you are determine on doing something you are passionate about, you will get your competence. Running a business requires an education which can bring half competence in us and the other half will come from application of your knowledge into practice and getting experience. What you have learnt from your experience is always matter because there are a lot of chartered accountants but not all might become successful due to incorrect application of their knowledge and experience.
- If you were to start a business today in UAE and had a capital of AED 100,000, what industry would you choose and why?
With AED 100 000 you will not be able to do anything as the cost has risen up. However if to answer this question, I would again start similar thing in which I am competent enough. In UAE any business industry you take, has lot of players because there is no restriction in doing legal business. UAE has a free market for everyone who wants to establish business as long as they meet certain criteria of the licensing, crime free clean personal records etc. One must see his core competence and understand that there will be always competitors hence he should come up as a businessman who has unique idea, approach or product. For example, when I started my business, I was meeting a lot of people from business community and I was unable to keep in touch and meeting them on regular basis. So, I started a newsletter (A4 size paper then) which no audit firm was doing that time in UAE. In the newsletter I was writing articles which would interest business community here. Instantly I became very famous and started getting calls and it helped my business get established in UAE. Everyone has to find something unique as competition will be always there. Along with uniqueness, should be recognition which every businessman must build up.
- How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
In my own professional field I have never given up any idea. I have been struggling on the business ideas I had and I became successful. I did my study and understood what potential or current customers want and I provided exactly that service. I acted according to requirement of the business community.
- What are the major differences between a “good company” and a “great company” from your professional experience?
Great company plans ahead. There is a live example of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He is not just a good entrepreneur, he is the great one. He thinks ahead and that is why he is so successful. Great companies have great leaders who think ahead. And good companies will have not so great leaders, not so great thinkers, not so great persons with luck.
- What unstoppable financial & technology trends do you see in the next 5 years that can affect positively or negatively all businesses in UAE?
Technology and changes are coming on a daily basis. We have to be prepared and adaptive to it. In the future, artificial intelligence is going to take over our position and as auditors we need to learn how we can compete with it and enhance human element.
- How cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will impact accountants and auditors in UAE? What actions have you planned on adapting this trend within your company?
It will take over our position and that can be taken as a threat or opportunity so if there are 10 chartered accountants and you are the best adaptive person you will be more successful and nobody can challenge your position. But if you are slow in adaption of new technologies and living behind yourself in thought process then you cannot be that successful as the others will surpass you.
We have special department in UAE who takes care of all technological changes for ourselves and also we advise the clients on such changes.
- What businesses in your opinion will boost after Expo 2020 and what businesses can face challenges? And in general what businesses should be prepared for after Expo 2020?
Expo will give an extraordinary opportunity to everyone and then one should learn how they can sustain such growth after Expo 2020 ends. One must not limit himself with Expo 2020 platform and should keep their eyes open and see. For example, if today because of upcoming event your sale jumped from 10 million to 20 million, after Expo 2020 it might come down to 12 million. So the question will be how business can recover that 8 million gap which Expo has created. Businessmen should look at alternative markets, innovative products, unique approach within their own core competence. Those who are proactive and plan ahead, they will be able to sustain their businesses. It applies to any industry.