This post has been contributed by Mr. Hasan Jamal, a longtime veteran of Pharma Industry. The Guest Blog Posts are also published on https://pharmaveterans.com . You are welcome to contribute. You may write your own story or about some memorable events of your career or about Pharma Industry. Please send your posts to email@example.com .
Experience of Exploring a New Business Avenue
End of 1984, I was transferred to Rawalpindi to supervise the sales team there. It was an uphill task details of which I had mentioned in previous blogs.
For couple of months initially, I was busy addressing basic problems and getting the work rolling according to the plan. The next assignment that I set for me was to explore new business avenues. In fact, results had already started coming in by getting the work organized and having the team to start working in line with the plans and company’s objectives.
After thorough analysis with Mr. S.H. Javed and the team, Gilgit and the suburban towns (now Gigit-Baltistan) were identified as virgin potential markets which could add premium to the existing turnover.
The initial difficulties in venturing with this task were:
- We had very limited knowledge about the potential of that territory as there was virtually no business and nobody had ever visited the area.
- It was a long journey. One-way travel to Gilgit was about ten hours from Islamabad non-stop by car. It was a difficult and rough terrain.
- Travel by motorbike was out of question.
- Few buses were plying on Shahrah-e-Karakorum, which was the only economical way to get to the area, but travel was extremely tough and time consuming.
- Air travel was weather dependent, unpredictable and expensive too, for regular visits. As such it was not viable to start with.
Mapping the situation carefully, I and SHJ decided to undertake an exploratory tour. One morning, we both set-out on a 4-5 days rather freak expedition tour, on the meandering Karakorum Highway on SHJ’s car. The drive on this tract was imbued with calmness, serenity and a sense of adventure.
It was quite an unnerving and tiring journey with pronounced physical wear and tear but gave us good insight into the area and the market.
On the way, we visited small towns Pattan, Dasu, Chillas and few more till we reached Gilgit. I was making detailed notes of every town and village that we visited and the people we met.
At Gilgit we visited the only government hospital there, few private hospitals and clinics along with some GPs. We also visited the market, chemists and the only available two whole-sellers.
We got very warm welcome from the doctors and the market. The obvious reason was that very few companies were visiting that area and that too seldom.
Working tirelessly for two days, the following strategy evolved to tap the market in the most economical way which ultimately gave dividends and reasonably added to the turn-over. As the time passed the business from this territory increased to a good level
- Towns on the way were excluded from the visit plan for the time being.
- A whole-seller was appointed as stockist at Gilgit, with additional discount.
- It was agreed with the party that they will send a demand draft along with the order; and goods would be supplied through the bus cargo at the company’s expense.
- Some 20 doctors were selected who were to be sent literature and sometimes samples, once a month, by post, of the products on promotion.
- Telephonic follow-up was maintained at least twice a month by me, to confirm if the material had reached them, for brief detailing and to respond to queries if any.
The plan clicked and gradually the area became so viable that after few months a representative started vising the area once a month by air or bus.
The general tendency in most of us is to avoid stressful and difficult initiatives and resultantly we miss out potential opportunities for our organizations. Such unpleasant and difficult ventures sometimes result in the discovery of a market one may not expect and which becomes a sizable addition to the business. These workings do demand physical hardships but are worth it.
As somebody said and I quote, “If you try, you risk failure; if you don’t, you ensure it”
The hallmark of successful professional and even personal life is never to avoid difficulty, brave it, fight-out, win over and capture it. It is great to lead a life with the feeling of accomplishment and achievement, free of guilt of defeat and regrets. Be a role model for those who look-up to you.