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Interview

with an
Entrepre
neur
Mr. Aadi Rana
(Owner of
BLAZON Salon)
Group 10

Context and Background


Mr Aadi Rana is a self-made and successful Entrepreneur who currently owns one of the
most popular salon chains in Lahore named BLAZON. At a young age of 29, he owns 5
branches of Salon in the most sophisticated areas of Lahore; earning him millions of rupees. As
we got a chance to interview him, we got to know some of his personality traits and were
consequently introduced to his approach towards running a successful entrepreneurship. His
welcoming attitude and hospitability allowed us to ask questions that required more depth and
were sometimes sensitive. His impressive personality was reflected in his compassionate
behavior towards his staff. His refined interpersonal skills, affectionate and caring behavior
drives customers towards him. This behavior gives him an edge over other salons both in terms
of having efficient staff as well as a renowned reputation in the market.
The accomplishment and success that the BLAZON has achieved today is because of a
ten year long journey of hard work and struggle by Mr. Rana. He was loaded with the idea of
achievement by doing something unique and different from the early days of his youth. This
indicated his ability to succeed in an ever changing and increasingly competitive marketplace.
When he was in his intermediate(2nd year), the realization that it took 5 to 6 years to graduate and
12 to 15 years to stand on feet, started to bother him. Therefore, he decided that waiting this
long, to be something you could be right now, was not worth it. He was more inclined towards
the opinion that the age that the people spent in college and universities is the ideal age in which
they can do something remarkable, take new initiatives and risks.
Rana dropped the idea to pursue further studies during second year of his Intermediate
exams, despite being somewhat of a nerd and a bright student (according to him). Although,
initially he did face some resilience from his family, his willpower and intent convinced his
family into giving him an investment to start his own journey of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship requires having strong convincing power and winning arguments mostly on the
basis of reason and the inner beliefs, this was accurately reflected in Mr. Ranas case.

Job VS Entrepreneurship
He left college due to his belief that there is just more to being successful than aiming for
getting a job. He believed that creating jobs was more important than getting one. This belief
is especially absent today in core beliefs and values of many of our colleges and universities.
Also, the current education system encourages students to focus more on getting marks and
positions rather than to learn and implement new concepts. Rana found a similar pattern of
pointless beliefs in his college, and realized that continuing his education would not aid his aims
of becoming an entrepreneur. He took his chance and quit his education. This highlights another
difference between an entrepreneurs lifestyle and a normal persons lifestyle; that entrepreneurs
are willing to take risk and believe in themselves rather than resisting change. According to Mr.
Rana, Fear is just an illusion and the only way to get past it is by taking risks, it is then only
that we can realize how far we can go.
Running your own business is always better than being run by someone else. A job that
pays three times more than what an entrepreneur earns will never carry the benefits of being
your own boss. Entrepreneurship as defined by Mr. Rana was a badshahat that is it was at his
own discretion of how to run the business, make decisions relating to each and every step of the
business at his discretion. Entrepreneurship may carry with it a lot of stress, but that is
outweighed by the benefits that one reaps from it. Starting something from scratch is a lot
different than running a company that will continue to exist without you. There may not be much
stress in those jobs, because of the lesser risks involved, but it is exactly these risks that make an
entrepreneur come up with the best possible solution for the business, not the solution that will
just get the work done. Therefore, entrepreneurship may not be an easy road, but the benefits you
get from walking on it are immense than if you are working on a job. Mr. Rana quite explicitly
said that even if he was given three times the salary he was earning, he would not give up his
job. In, economic terms, his utility was far greater than an earning, triple the size of what he
had currently, this goes on to show, that although a tough journey, entrepreneurship carries with
it a lot of rewards. There are risks attached with everything, every decision that an entrepreneur
takes, carries with it some form of risk. In Mr. Ranas case it was every branch that he opened
was a risk, but he had to ensure that those risks were lessened by working towards finding a safer
but rewarding solution. Yes sometimes I failed, but I looked past that failure and tried harder the

next time. Successful entrepreneurship carries with it a trade-off, between either high amount
of work or high amount of risk. Therefore an entrepreneur has to make sure that his hard work
outweighs his risk.
After dropping from college, Rana gathered some fuel money and started to analyze
different markets in order to choose a potential path. Initially, he decided to go for the Real
Estate Business which he thought had a growth potential. So, to get familiarize with the Nittygrittys of Real Estate business, he started his first job. But he recognized he didnt have the
necessary capital to carry forward and, as a result, he abandoned his job. He then realized that he
had something to start with, it was the barber shop that was on partnership between his father and
Uncle. Soon after he joined the shop, there was some misunderstanding between his uncle and
father. Ultimately his uncle left the shop and it landed in the hands of Rana alone. The reason he
pointed out for joining the shop was that he would get at least some kick start and he thought that
there was a potential for success and growth. One issue that we noticed is that many dedicated
entrepreneurs choose businesses with no growth opportunity, and hence face difficulties and at
times, ultimate failure. Whereas, entrepreneurship requires complete assessment of the market
and to weigh certain costs and benefits.
Ranas goal was initially to start a business in a non-traditional way. He wanted to build,
improve and expand continuously, irrespective of how successful (provided he doesnt faces any
losses) he would be. What we find nowadays in some job-holders as well as some
businessmens lives is that, although they aim to be successful, they stop improving when they
are content with their success. Continuous improvement is the road to ultimate success. Rana
was so dedicated that he was ready to adjust his own necessary personal requirements for the
sake of starting his business. We found that dedication is another important factor to any
entrepreneurs success especially, since if you are not dedicated then who else will be.
Learning and Leading
Before Rana started operating the shop, he carefully planned a business plan. The most
important point was that he decided to replace his staff completely as he declined the concept of
Ustadi Shagirdi and since his previous staff was totally uneducated, used old techniques and
resisted change. Surprisingly, hirring of new staff initiated positive customer relationships. A

point to be noted is that, a business plan is quite important in laying down your objectives and
strategies for almost any sort of business. Also believing in your strategies is critical to their
success, and taking risk early in entrepreneurship is just a stepping stone. What people do at
times is that, they doubt their tactics and strategies, and cross them out before they are
implemented. If Rana had abandoned his strategies he would never have been an entrepreneur
for more than a few months.
Rana knew that he would not be able to run a productive task force unless or until they
are impressed by him and his skills. So, he improved his managerial skills by using internet and
reading different Human Psychology books and Management books like Winning by Jack
Welch. Additionally, he took opportunities to work and assist some renowned brands like Wella
Professional, Wella international and Lakme. From this experience, he realized that there were
some good texts like Milady Standard Cosmetolgy and Habia Level UK which teaches
quality cosmetology education. Somehow, he gathered some money and got enrolled in these
courses. He also thought that in order to build and promote a high class salon, he must offer
photographic services. Due to this reason, he joined National College of Arts and completed
some photography courses. During all this time, he never sidelined his business.
Entrepreneurship isnt just about managing business with the skills that you possess, but also
about enhancing your talent and abilities to get enriched managerial skills. We learned that if you
are not willing to change yourself, no one else will.
Rana decentralized his workforce in some matters, for example, he gave the staff the
authority to replace some of his equipment. This helped him to concentrate on other matters. We
can see that learning new skills stands useless if you cant use them well. Entrepreneurs
implement new tactics and techniques whenever there is a need to.
Another surprising point was that Rana started his business form a small amount of
money which he spent in buying new equipment. We noted that being an entrepreneur doesnt
require you to have a large amount of cash in your hand. Rana realized quickly that in any
business of any sort customer service and content was a key to success. He started engaging
customers in talks and engaged other activities in order to gain customer satisfaction and provide
a high level of service. Our businesses at times focus too much on product//service rather than
the customers, which leads to failures. We have the tendency to neglect other factors for the sake

of improvement of our product, but what entrepreneurs do is to keep at least a balance between
them. Rana even started to survey the markets to stay abreast of developments in the market, and
also started advertising his shop through billboards. He used to work day and night for
developing techniques and strategies to improvise his business. Rana believed in having
advanced techniques to facilitate his daily routine works. For example, he adopted the use of
security cameras and face detectors as well as a database to record the attendance of staff
members. Entrepreneurs prefer the use of technology over traditional ways to be proficient on
certain aspects of businesses. Also adapting to technology is necessary rather than an option for
staying in the business. Many companies have seized to exist due to their reluctance to
technology. Additionally, all these things wont make any sense if you dont have the capability
to work day and night for them. It is necessary for an entrepreneur to be open minded and be
willing to put effort without complain.
Growth and Team Building
Rana did built trust and confidence in his staff as his business progressed. This allowed
him to focus on other issues than just controlling. We can learn that to build your staff and
administer unity in them so as to build a team is crucial for entrepreneurs, so that they can utilize
some of their time to solve significant matters. Although politics and corruption is an issue in
Pakistan, but to some extent we can remove this issue by choosing the right people for your staff
(as Rana did) and by making your staff operate as a team to overcome issues within staff
members. Another strategy was that Rana built contact with suppliers of equipment and
cosmetics, key customers and outside advisors. Building contacts with suppliers gave him
valuable discounts and intimacy with customers helped to improve services. Furthermore,
interaction from outside advisors assisted him to select a profitable location to open his branch.
This shows that contact with major parties in your business and with external environment can
help you to critically to develop and expand your business.
Additionally, Rana demonstrated us that he took advantages of the strengths of his
business and identified his weakness early in his business days and rectified them. For example,
he realized that the immature manner of his young employees was contributing to the
sluggishness of daily transactions. However, he took strong measures against this by
decentralizing and empowering them. This made the staff more responsible and accountable. We

can learn that to recognize mistakes and weaknesses early in the business is vital to the success
of an entrepreneur.
Rana faced most of his problems when opening another salon. He said that it is easy to
make one salon successful but expanding from one salon to two is quite a different task and
requires a different dimension. After his uncle left the salon had become orphan and he was left
with a team that was not neutral. He emphasized that it was quite a learning phase for him, he
observed and experienced that those people who have had a handful experience and have done
practices in the market were resistant to change. Previous practices had been so engraved in them
that they did not have the desire to learn new practices and did not take initiatives to improve
their skills, actually they had become rigid. Therefore, implementing his learnings Rana
developed the criteria of recruitment and training in his salon he took those individual from the
market that were freshie, to whom it was not difficult to train or control. According to his
perspective those people just needed motivation and they would get on going. Mr. Rana has
developed whole criteria for hiring, which includes two interviews, after the second interview the
employee is tested in practical things and it is decided if he has the interpersonal skills and is
willing/ready to learn. He has hired such kind of people and then trained them. He also has
developed a complete training succession structure in which things are predefined. Thus, it can
be safely said that one of the key reasons for his salons success and rapid growth is Training
and educative environment that he has been able to develop in his salon.
Another important instance that he mentioned was that when he took taking corporate
trainings from Pakistan Institute of Management, he realized that whatever he did was right.
This realization enhanced confidence in him and prepared him to take more entrepreneurial
decision making. Ranas perspectives are quite different than the other salons owners. What
usually happens in the salons is that they do not give proper training to everyone because of the
threat that the same person may not become his competitor in the future but Rana has been
confident on his stance that technical training is quite different from doing a business. If
someone has strong technical expertise, then this does not mean that he can make a good
business out of that. Therefore, training and imposing a specific, learning-inducing culture is
quite common in his salon. Moreover, Mr. Rana also explained some basics of haircutting
techniques. There are 4 forms and each form has 4 subdivisions anyone who knows about these

16 forms in total can do any type of cutting in the world regardless of gender. Training was
carried out in is salon to teach employees these skills. Furthermore, Rana had quite a sound
knowledge about salons market, and to gain this knowledge he had been carrying out visits to
various salons in different cities and concluded that male salons lack technical expertise in
Pakistan compared to female salons. This trait of Rana signifies that it important to know what
your competitors are doing and you shall do better than them. He was also planning to go one
step ahead by starting R&D in his field.
Rana was happy and confident that his business has got a lot of potential and that is one
of the traits of entrepreneurs. He was confidently able to predict the cash flows of the business
and has been properly evaluating them. He told about the Y-Block branch of BLAZON (in which
the interview was being held) that in the first month it went in loss, in the second and third month
he was able to strike breakeven and since the fourth month it is generating profits. He got an
overwhelming response in the Y-block branch and it was the third time that he was making
extensions to that branch. At first he introduced that salon for male only but later he expanded it
and included the females salon too (which was managed by his wife). He was so enthusiastic
regarding his work that he said that he is going to bring his children too in this business and we
think that was also one of the motivation factor that led him to put so much effort and interest in
his business.
Even after years Rana still had the same drive that he had 12 years back (when he stepped
into the entrepreneurial world), he said It feels that if I have started now, now I am going to do
lots of things. His goals were yet to expand and grow. Ranas perspective on success and failure
was that you learn from every failure, each failure makes you better than before. This is one of
the basic traits of entrepreneur that they do not take failures as every normal person do, they are
pushed by failures and keep on doing the things. Even after getting his business on the large
scale he did not bind himself to the managerial side, he did not maintain that Bossy culture
rather he was able to create a learning and respectful environment throughout his structure.
Rana also opened a salon in Bahria Town on partnership but that did not work out. Rana
has the nature to invest more and more in his business, instead of harvesting the profits out but
the partner had different motives. Consequently, the partnership did not work out and it was
dissolved. Therefore, this led Rana to draw legal structure of the business and later on, he

franchised that branch. Hence, it can be seen on different occasions that how Rana took decisions
and seized new opportunities even when he failed, he improved his work and himself at each
occasion in his carrier. He extracted insights out of every failure and came up with a solution. We
think that this is one of the vital things that every entrepreneur should possess and shall not fall
back after failure.
Traits and behaviors of an Entrepreneur
What defines an entrepreneur is his ability to take risks, even at times when the chances
of failure are high. This is perhaps the most important asset that an entrepreneur should have. But
along with this, there should be other sets of skills that he needs to earn to ensure success. Mr.
Rana, explained that according to him, the most valuable asset in his journey of entrepreneurship
was not anything material, it was in fact the skills he had learnt while becoming what he is today.
These skills can be learnt through many different sources. In Mr. Ranas case, they were learnt
through courses which he took from NCA and other colleges, these helped him to develop not
only a sense of managing the business, but have also furnished his interpersonal skills, which
according to Mr. Rana was most important. These skills, according to Mr. Rana, are so important
that even if an entrepreneur, has to start from scratch again, he can successfully form a business
based on these very skills. But an entrepreneurs success cannot be attributed one single skill.
Along with the interpersonal skills and experience, knowledge is vital. Knowledge and skill go
hand in hand. None of them are of much value without the other. Therefore an entrepreneurs
skills should be accompanied by knowledge. In Mr. Ranas case he explained that he was an avid
reader of books that he thought could help his business, which included many books that we
currently read in our University Syllabus. Another important thing he said was that he learns his
business mostly from his customers, and constantly keeps changing to satisfy their needs. The
customers teach you very well. They are always the source of knowing what is going wrong and
what steps should be taken to solve the problems in hand.
Lessons learnt
The journey of entrepreneurship is filled with failures, Mr. Rana too faced a hefty amount
of failures during his life, but he had to look past them, and continued to work towards achieving
his goals, according to him, a person who fails the second time fails better that is he goes even

more close to achieving his aims. Entrepreneurship may be defined by a persons ability to take
risks, but his ability to face the consequences of those risks and continue is really what matters.
Therefore it would be safe to say that along with the risk-taking ability of a person,
entrepreneurship is incomplete without the drive to fail better. When inquired that whether or
not he was willing to go through his journey from inception again, Mr. Rana replied The
journey was difficult but I enjoyed it and if I had to do it again it would not be that difficult for
me now were. This showed, he had the drive to succeed, even if it meant that he had to start his
journey from scratch again.
The skills required to become an entrepreneur are not instilled into selected people from
their birth, born leaders are seldom found. Entrepreneurship is an art that can be learned by
anyone and everyone who has got the will. Mr. Rana started to run a business when he had barely
completed his education; he learnt all his skills from courses he took later and books he was
gifted by his corporate friends. This shows that in actuality, there are no born entrepreneurs, all
of the skills required for becoming an entrepreneur can be learnt and taught. In fact, Mr. Rana
went as far as proposing to us that higher education was unnecessary as it only teaches
individuals knowledge from the book, which is only 20% applicable. He said that that real life
situations where the real teachers of becoming an effective entrepreneur. Anyone can be
entrepreneur according to Mr. Rana. The most important thing is dedication. People suffer when
they are starting the business, but that does not mean that you should leave the business. Initially
no business gives profit, you have to be patient if you are going to start a business. After initial
downfalls the world is yours.
All of the learning points that we learnt during the interview with Mr. Rana (the owner of
Blazon Hair Salons) can be summarized in this short piece of conversation that he concluded
with. Decide what you want to do if you are going to start a business. Take your time. Learn
about the business from different sources. Take training programs about the business from
different institutes. There are failures when you start a business, but I would not call them
failures. They are the mistakes from which you learn.