From opening doors for others, Basheer opened the door for himself. He wears his laurels with grace and ensconced in the post of Chairman of 35 outlets and 1000 plus staff. His gentle nature and his roots make him accessible and a ‘Bhai’ to all… Asian Lite’s Kaliph Anaz meets Blue Mart Chairman Basheer NV. FROM DOORMAN TO A CHAIRMAN
When there is no lift to the top take the stairs. In the case of Mr. Muhammed Basheer, more affectionately known as Blue Mart Basheer to those who admire his sagacity and his business acumen, this is incredibly true. There was no lift but it did not stop him from reaching for the stars.
From a tiny fishing hamlet in the 19th century to one of the most cosmopolitan city in the world makes for a story with a special texture of guts and courage and conviction that nothing is impossible. In many ways it is the story of Dubai because it shows the power of commitment and being able to achieve what people say you cannot achieve. .
From being a delivery boy in small mart to owning a chain of supermarkets was a long journey for the boy from Koyilandy in Kozhikode, Kerala. On the way up he was also a swimming pool attendant and a doorman even as his ambition drove him forward, making every hour count.
From opening doors for others, he opened the door for himself. He wears his laurels with grace and ensconced in the post of Chairman of 35 outlets and 1000 plus staff his gentle nature and his roots make him accessible and a ‘Bhai’ to all.
With a turnover of 200 million AED, Basheer is firmly grounded in the values he was taught by his parents to Nekkunnam Veetil Ahmed Haji and Fathima Ahmed. He was born on Sept. 18, 1971 in Kerala. His father was running a hardware business in Koyilandy near Kozhikode. After local schooling and graduation in arts from Koyilandy Arts College, Basheer started exploring his options to exercise his business sense. He honed his business skills by assisting his father and learning the ropes.
He arrived in Dubai in 1992, when Easyway supermarket offered him a visa as a home delivery boy.
Basheer took his job seriously and delivered water, kuboos and other essentials door to door. After a year, he got a break at Forte Hotels as a swimming pool attendant. He proved his work ethic and bagged the employee of the year award. That gave him a trip to visit London and Paris.
On return, he was promoted to the post of a doorman.
Without any hesitation, Basheer opened and closed door to visitors from all around the world. But unlike others, Basheer was closely observing the powerful business magnates, decision makers in various sectors, diplomats, ministers, government heads and how they; worked. He absorbed the nuances and he knew he could break through the ceiling.
“Every door is a window to opportunity,” Basheer told Asian Lite. “Rubbing shoulders with the mighty encouraged me to become big. I wanted to be one among them. I want to change my career. But every job is a tool to gain experience to hone your skills. There is nothing called a small job or a big job. A job is a job and that is the only road to becoming a professional, you give it everything.”
Basheer’s dedication prompted Gerald Lawless, President and CEO of Jumeirah Group, to invite him to make a move when he became the boss of Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Through his hard work and his popularity Basheer lightly changed the name of the hotel in his friend’s circle – since guests and fellow staff all liked him it came to be known as Jumeirah Basheer Hotel. If there is any problem, Basheer will find the solution. More accolades and more visits – like ITB Berlin and he began to grasp the methodology of commerce. After 10 years at various roles, Basheer quit his job the start a business venture – Blue Mart in 2009. You could say he literally jumped into the deep end of the pool.
After 10 years with 35 outlets – spread over Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, Basheer is targeting a turnover of half a billion AED by 2020 when Dubai hosts Expo 2020.
“Dubai is a city of hope,” said Basheer. “The Rulers are wise and their visions are far reaching. It is an inspiring story. We are just riding on the success of Dubai. By 2020, I want to set up a network of 75 Blue Mart units. We have already established our units in upmarket Dubai localities like Marina, Tecom, Jumeirah Village, Sport city, Motor city etc.”
“This is a truly happening city,” stated Basheer. “The shopping trends are also changing and we have to keep these changes in mind. Online shopping is of the essence. Blue Mart is the first one to introduce an App for shopping. We are also quite active in online shopping and home delivery. We want to make every shopping expedition a pleasant different experience.”
Basheer encourages more people from his community, especially Keralites, to grab the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.
“As the jobs in the market are shrinking and the pay packets are getting delayed, it is always an option to launch a business,” said Basheer. “You can help yourself and your close circle – besides the community through job creation.”
“Business is always a chain of challenges,” he become philosophical when asked about the hardships he incurred to reach at this stage. “Success is for people who dare to take risk. But you have to be prepared to face the challenges and prepare for failures and setbacks. Without that resilience don’t do business.
A market study is essential for every business. Business calculations are not mere adding up numbers. In some cases, 2 plus 2 is not 4 but 5. You have to add the business factors like the demography, people’s purchasing power, accessibility, competition in the neighbourhood. A strong foundation is essential to build a strong structure.
Basheer emulates the business practices of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
“The Holy Prophet is a role model for business,” Basheer said. “There are lessons to learn from the struggles and sufferings of the Prophet.”
And what of tomorrow?
“I want to provide high quality products and services to customers across the Middle East. We are a self supporting organisation with all its operations in-house. In a very short span company has achieved rapid growth, which was only because of our commitment, professional approach, time management and quality. We stand on four major pillars – Quality, Reliability,Commitment & Punctuality.”