Sometimes in life, especially when you are young, you get very anxious and you face with a double bind. This is a question which afflicts more in those moments when even by yourself you don’t know what you want, every once in a while you want everything and still wanting nothing. You are facing yourself and must challenge it.
Trust me, this is the worse feeling that you can experience, it can even go so far as to hate yourself and everything around you to seem dark, with no light anywhere, and with the word “hope” that does not exist in the daily dictionary.
But my way was enlightened while I was watching an autobiographical movie. It was a brilliant, motivational and incomparable expression of this film, that lifted me up, made me more focused, which I quote: “A successful businessman never uses his money”. It was so meaningful and motivating as to put me into movement and at that moment another thought came up in my mind: “Two things are certain in life, “taxes” and “death””! Up to this moment I didn’t know I had an ambition to do business or to become a businessman. In our country doing business was more difficult due to many reasons, one of them was unfair competition and the difficulties of the democratic system in those difficult years of transition. “I am an economist”, I said to myself and very capable, because I have proven myself, but that is enough for today, sleep a bit and think more tomorrow.
I used to go out early in the morning, in general I sleep less and work more. So I did that day, came out early in the morning and while walking and chuckled to myself “Where would I go”, said often and whispering “anyway”, I didn’t know that, ” Walking I will find the way of life”. And so I did, I started to gather information everywhere and anywhere, as I was convinced that the information was absolute power anywhere. A lot of ideas came up in my mind, then I decided to do business taking foreign patent exclusivity of different products. The market was eager to innovation and qualitative products. A market that grasped the new varieties and the fresh ideas was immediately implemented and embraced but for a moment I was a little scared after I met some entrepreneurs, they seemed distracted, dispersed in ideas, stressed, tired and mentally exhausted, “I will not end like this”, I told myself so often, “You know how they look”? As a perforced businessman. But I already had an ace up in the sleeve. I was well informed on fiscal legislation in my country. I knew the weak and strong points. I knew to interpret correctly the law, and the spaces allowed, as I said I had more information and this for me was one of the great strengths, even I can say it was half of the work done. Beginning looked promising, auspicious and motivating for me even I repeatedly thought I didn’t have anything else except ideas, information and inquiries made by email to companies, by giving the impression that I was now a serious company and respected even on
the market. In fact this strategy was a way to understand their policies and to create a bridge of communication until the moment I was ready.
Thereabout, stumbling across a pencil in hand, came to my mind something, “I have to trade consumer products but that have no expiry date, which enable the avoidance of the risk of loss and bankruptcy”. Browsing fiscal legislation and various laws, I thought that supplies should be from Europe and Balkans because the standard was different and was no required to be marked expiration date because they were products of this nature. And, I was right in this point. For a moment I was convinced of what I had to do, I was convinced of my strength and main features of doing a profitable business. I thought where I would find the money, certainly not in the bank, bank credits on business were too expensive and restrictive, variable from day to day, contracts were not promising and I was afraid more that the interest of loans exceed the expectations of profits which would will have sent me in the collapse of unavoidable bankruptcy and numerous penalties.
I offered cooperation to two close people that had money profusely, even usable cash by the bank in addition to ridiculous interest rates, I was sure that my ideas will extremely seduce them, in fact it was really a promising one though drafted in a record time, but I was pretty sure that the most dangerous decisions are taken at an early age and without thinking over to much because the ideas risks of fading along the way and the decision moment is also the key to this entire history. I left the ball of their area, so they would be masters of everything against some of my conditions, to the benefit of everyone.
“I will do everything”, I told to my new partners, from the common work to the most important one, and you will simply enjoy the profits. This was my disadvantage due to lack of cash. The first condition was that we had to be all equal partners with equal quota, the other condition was that we were not going to distribute the dividend in the first year, so we had not to pay dividend tax, but to invest in adding our capital. In this case we won twice for the acquisition at the time that was invested and also we wouldn’t pay the tax on personal income, that was not less but 10 % of the incomes. Up to now we agreed with the first condition and for the rest of the cooperation we had to decide during the road we took together. They were supposed to think over this cooperation in detail but the next day they were decided to cooperate under the conditions we agreed upon. I spoke to them for a group of articles, on the advantages and disadvantages, and challenges waiting for us.
We had to confront with a great deal of difficulty, we were against a company that produced our main product, a product that we imported from abroad with limits due to European Union policies and barriers for non-member states. Our competitor was manufacturing, we were importers, and we were far away with expectations regarding the price market, which was very sensitive and fragile. We had high transport costs, we had disfavor time of arrival at the customer due to fluctuations in demand in the basis of the forecasts that I have done. 20 % VAT that had overwhelmed is increasing the final cost of the product and that of the security risk of starting. Calmly I started to find weaknesses for its nodal points where I will be competing in order to reinforce my arms and one of them was that his factory was in town which was accompanied by higher taxes and local rent was high or the facilities, a number of these problems that I have to avoid in a vary short time because the products would arrive in my warehouse more quickly. Too much thoughtlessly I decided that storage has to be outside the city, a few kilometers away from it, in the village area where taxes and workforce were promising, even from a simple calculation due to heavy traffic costs for fuel for our competitor were very high. At first glance it was not important, but I was convinced that he had not noticed this due to the volume of work and the monopoly that had created in the market.
I found very fast financing and sales resources and I was convinced that they were the right resources to succeed in relation to commercial opponent and my strong competition will cause him headache.
I already had some of his weak points, as my strong points: diversity and flexibility in the market, no cost of machine amortization or technology renovation. With that technology he could have got just a product shape, but I had the product ready and I had to give his own form. After a cavalcade of intensive and tedious days, of finding resources and best offers, everything was ready. The price was very mobile because of raw materials to final product preparations quoted in stock market, but I had a contract with fixed prices for the next two years. That was what I needed to understand if I was successful or not.
Once the warehouse was full, I calculated the costs and taxes for 1 year, approximately assumed. The price was not in favor because it would be charged with oil distribution costs which was growing day by day. But I was positioned away at an intersection that was near to the north and south of the country. I was very fast and flexible, I began with great zeal and only two cars, and didn’t knowing where I would be able to go. The beginning is always very difficult, especially when you are faced with a competitor with tremendous capital. Costs were exceptional, acquisitions and dismissal of workers upseted me. I thought a technique that would result effectively, I launched the product and blocked a substantial portion of cash. By a technical marketing through repurchases of my product to clients to convince them of future efficiency. I determined a price by placing a 20 % profit marging, thinking that the repurchases will be with 20 % loss for the business, having in mind that my clients will sell at a price suggested by me, and I was close to go out with loss but I was not paying any profit tax, which was 15 % and growing.. The second phase of the distribution was with high intensity and I decided the invoice price to be discounted. What I spent to repurchase the goods, I classified it as a marketing expense item. The first fruit came, there was high intensity sales of cash flow. Now marketing belonged to the business unit that had bought from me, for his cash blocked with my products. After a long time after the incidence of difficulty in profiting the next maneuver was that, those who already approached as distributor to invest and become owner of themselves. Each of them will have a warehouse, a car and would pay taxes themselves.
In this way they would be owner of themselves in a sales area and space defined by me. With a lot of difficulties, but I already found the solution to avoid expenses that wracked me. I become a kind of financial intermediaries and agent big market. It was working perfectly and I sold all assets. I calculated costs, product came ready, I had no warehouse and worker costs.
My procedures become very easy, simply by submitting to each distributor a considerable amount of any goods. From so much stress, inventory fatigue, employees turnover, I had only one office management and control. It was the moment where I had to scatter a couple of millions responsibilities with 0 money in the pocket. I became intermediary between other companies for other products in order to depreciate and collate costs. I already won my battle. I was only in the market because my competitor was swamped by taxes and expenses. There was no raw material, oil had risen and its assets were amortized and were devalued in a very quick time. He lost because I redistributed every expense and income and invested the gains. Office is well advanced, only paying taxes on commissions earned.
“All my partners feel happy because I worked in group”.
By Olsi Shahini from Albania