Start of his trading is said to be in a humble way but he was quick to scale the opportunities he found and turned them into a fabulous career of business success.
Abdur-Rahman started off with some dried butter-milk (yogurt) and butter, and then he realised horse trading had a good volume. As he started to trade the horses, he quickly found the profit margin to be very small due to high supply and demand. He soon started to sell the saddles for the horses, which was lot more profitable compared to just horse sales.
As he bought and sold different commodities, saddles and horses, due to volume he turned over, his profits grew rapidly.
When your heart is clean, you conduct your business with sincerity and you know how to scale – the brighter future becomes a reality fast.
From day one since Abdur-Rahman (rta) began his own business in the market of Qainuqa in Madinah, Allah (swt) blessed him with bounty beyond his most daring expectations. It was not long before whatever he touched seemed to bring him instant success.
This constant growth didn’t take long before he was sufficiently well off and was able to get married. After his marriage, he went to the noble Prophet with the scent of perfume lingering over him. A perfume, which smelled very nice.
“Mahyarn, O Abdur-Rahman!” exclaimed the Prophet – indicating pleasant surprise.
“I have got married,” replied Abdur-Rahman.
“And what did you give your wife as mahr?” “The weight of a nuwat in gold.”
“You must have a walimah (wedding feast) even if it is with a single sheep. And may Allah bless you in your wealth,” said the Prophet with obvious pleasure and encouragement.
Imagine the best person who walked the earth is happy with you and gives you Dua like
May Allah bless you in your wealth”.
With a dua like this and that too, coming from Prophet (PBUH), there is no way eminent success will not touch the grounds you walk on. Thereafter Abdur-Rahman grew so accustomed to business success that he said if he lifted a stone he expected to find gold or silver under it!
His wealth touched a number of different industries. He was a merchant by profession. Besides his business, he owned agricultural farms as well.
This makes sense since camels were mainly used for transportation then, and to be able to import and export, you would need them. These camels would need to be fed and the agricultural land can be a source for that. Having his own farm also allowed him to cut out the middlemen and become his own supplier.
What is the main lesson from this?
Lesson from this is that, you must be able to realize the opportunity by first seeing it, then capitalizing on it and be able to scale it. Once you scale it, you must look at the efficiency of the entire process and see how you can best utilize the supply and demand.
His farms were at such a large scale that a single unit of his farm needed to have twenty camels just for watering.
This also shows the ability to be efficient, had he watered the farm with just humans, the time it would have taken and number of manpower he would have needed would have been a lot. To make the process streamlined, efficient and fast, he utilized both men and the animals.
When you are good at what you do and when your business thrives, you also get support from others. He was so good in business and what he did for the Muslims, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) gave him a big piece of land. He was able to use all the lands he owned and was able to grow his wealth while providing job opportunities to thousands of people.
When Allah blesses you in your business, nothing can stop you in becoming the wealthiest person around. He himself used to say that I benefited from any investment I made and any project I started.
This also tells you, the roadway to wealth is not a job but being able to make money from money (business), he did this by making wise investments and growing his business income instead of earned income. He didn’t find a job, instead he provided jobs to others.
He was so good at finding good opportunities and being able to profit from them, that, he never tasted failure in any of his business ventures. When anything you start can’t fail, imagine what will happen to your wealth. One of the reasons his business success might have been rapid is because he was good at figuring out what is in demand, finding out ways to acquire it and be able to supply it to people as or when they needed.
Scaling a business
This is inline with his importing and exporting expeditions, he figured out what was working and he took the steps necessary to scale it.
The hardest part in business is being able to survive the first year, which is why most businesses fail in this time-frame and those which survive the first year, most of them fail in the following year.
[Talk given in Niagara Falls by Muhammad Al Shareef]