For Sunday January 20th 2013
Between Us Only!
The Hidden Unexplored Potentials!
For perhaps those that do not know me – I write more as a passion and hobby! I am not a full paid or on the payroll Journalist – nor either an Investigative Reporter! I always approach my topics from a personal angle – and speaking to you direct from my heart! Now having that off my chest – we will continue with the column.
Some days back, I was cleaning my lateral cabinet where I hold all my personal files since the early 1970s. I found in one file this irate complaining letter from one European expatriate that he had written to my top boss about me booking him at that time in a national airline for his emergency travel back home.
He had wanted to travel in his own airline – but as per the policies at the time we had to go by the earliest available flight – and if possible cheaper too! Both categories were met in his travel. He was bold enough to say that he ‘did not trust local airlines’. Anyway, like I always say – what else is new in ‘biting the hand that feeds you’? Far years later – the tables were turned when the preference was on local airlines – because ‘they treat us better than even our own airlines’!
Example One – This was Gulf Air at the time. Now we have our own Oman Air – and from Gulf Air has come out very well doing others like Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia etc. One sits in wonder and in amazement that before it was only one Airline flying all these routes now – and making money and profits – whilst previously it was not so! So what happened? What changed things – on the ground and in the air metaphorically? It is a question of demand and supply – and how the new businesses and the modus operandi were being met! A good research study for anyone in economics or marketing!
Image – Oman Air New Jet
Example Two – In March 2005 – 8 years ago – I wrote on this topic ‘The Seagull Has Landed!’ – from the great film theme The Eagle Has Landed! The seagull is the logo for NAWRAS Q-Tel – the second telecoms provider that was allowed to come in to challenge the only one at the time. The business has now so bloomed and expanded that others came in – and Thank God are surviving and doing good businesses – with expansion plans on the mettle!
Example Three – When Al Jazeera Television was created – it was the butt of jokes and pun – especially in The West! From first encouraging its creation – to later criticizing and cursing it because of its freedom and reporting on subjects and topics that the previous giants before would never dare to touch! Or report on!
Image Showing Potentials
Due to inhibitions whether artificially or self imposed! To the extent that today in case of controversy of The Truth – even in USA and Europe people rely on Al Jazeera Television – including even Hillary Clinton who herself was all praise for it! Even today in some GCC countries people from even inside do not trust or listen to their own channels? There are not even English channels to cater for International audiences. Like we in Oman can easily be that moderate pragmatic voice the whole world is in need! Al Jazeera covers and caters now for almost everyone in the world north to south – east to west!
In My Father’s Suit!
Example Four – The state Universities from before only SQU – to now several – and including several colleges – all over Oman! Other examples are newspapers, magazines, NGOs, Road Safety, shopping complexes, trading companies, insurance companies, Islamic Banking – expected to do well! – SMEs – and still rising! – and many others!
People – especially the family run businesses should not see SMEs as challengers and adversaries – but as complimentary and supportive. There is wide and huge potentials out there for the pickings – for everyone! See how many new millionaires and multi-millionaires have been created so far – and still rising – from those that could only afford economy seat tickets – to now owning their own private jets!
All The Good Signs!
That is why I do hope and pray that the Editor’s Commentary and this planned SME Symposium will be successful and be fully implemented – as potentials for self-employment, others employment, raising the standards of living and in the local talents, skills, entrepreneurship and in human resources development in the country!
By Majid Al Suleimany