A coffee with the 20 year old Entrepreneur, Khubaib Amir, made almost everything in this planet possible to achieve. He is driven and dauntless, studying B.B.A at Middlsex University in Dubai and at the same time handling his business- Lean & Clean Restaurant in Al Mamzar. To us, it looks like a lot of work but to him, it’s all just a piece of cake! Business acumen comes naturally to him and we are about to unfold the secrets to his successful yet simple being.
Can u tell me a bit about yourself and your journey as to how you started making money?
“From a very young age, I was very enthusiastic about money. I always acted like an entrepreneur imagining that I’m giving salary to my employees.
That took me through different phases in life that bought me to where I am. For instance, when I was 10, I did a big garage sale instead of throwing my worn out clothes. When I was 17, I hosted an award ceremony. And now, having become fit from fat- the whole journey of losing weight after being declared obese and playing football to overcome it, I’ve learnt so much that I realized I could use my knowledge to open a new food business. So since we (Khubaib’s family) had a restaurant called Turmeric, in Al Mamzar Area in Dubai, a big gym opened next to it and created opportunity for us. I approached to them with my idea for healthy food and they really liked it. So we struck a deal to market each other and their clients that came to us would get 15% off. That was the scratch from where Lean & Clean got built into a successful business that it is today.”
What was your eureka moment that led to your launch? What were few of the obstacles you faced?
“In Uni I overheard two guys talking, and they wanted to book a table for a party at Nikki beach that costed 5000 AED. I thought to myself- A party!? if I had 5000/-, I’d make it 50,000/- instead! So the same day, I asked for an investment of 1000/- which I used to buy groceries the very next day. I had knowledge but I didn’t have any skills. I had to do everything from the scratch. For the menu and logo, I approached graphic design professionals but they were asking for the kind of money that I didn’t have at that time. So I did it all by myself. It took me a good three months to build the menu, build the recipes, count the calories and proper nutrition facts. I had to know my suppliers and help my chefs master the dishes to perfection. There was a point that my friends were doing my University work, and I was home working on my idea. They really believed in me.
After a while of working in silence, the gym called us asking whether we were interested in sponsoring an event they were hosting. I said yes right away to sponsoring 67 people without having any money. I went to Turmeric asking them to deal with me and help me sponsor this event hoping to get all the earnings back eventually. They gave me their kitchen and resources and within two days I had everything ready.
On 17th Jan, 2016 we had our official launch and it took off! People literally went crazy! They wanted our food right away and I remember having to stop them saying that our food wasn’t ready yet, this was just the launch. They couldn’t wait! From the very next day, when we opened our store, we had customers calling for delivery as the news had spread. In just 24 hours, the money I had spent for sponsoring the event, I got it all back and I could pay it back to turmeric. That was the moment I understood that this was for me!
Now we deliver custom diets according to our customer’s fitness regime and we have customers from all over the city.”
Is business an acquired or an inherited acumen according to you?
“A little bit of both; I had inherited the Turmeric restaurant so I trained in a course and became skilled to run the restaurant. But, because I saw an opportunity, I took it and tuned it in to a business. The fact that I saw a fitness gym open right next to turmeric and knowing that people worked out but didn’t have a proper diet plan, I filled out a niche there. A big one that gave our business way was the fact that the subway right there went out of business leaving us to be the only healthy chain there. Everything worked in our favor and right now, it’s a full-fledged running business!”
Since you are a business management student at a university as well, how do you balance out your time between business, school work and social life?
“Social life? When I was working on my project initially, I had no social life. If I had plans, it would annoy me because I really wanted to go, and at the same time didn’t want to go. The money I’d spend by going outside, I’d rather save it or turn it into something that would make me more money. So work was my play and work has always been my play.
Even when I do assignments and I see that good words drop into my head, my assignments become so much fun to do- almost as if I’m not working at all! My biggest addiction is seeing results, so when I work on something and see results in it, that’s my motivation. Be it assignments or businesses, I wanted results; by going out I was getting no results. But by staying in and working, I was getting some kind of result. This year’s school assignments were so easy but they were time taking, so my friends said ‘You know what!? When are we going to help you? – It’s time!’ I can never thank them enough for that.”
What is your strategy to run a successful business?
“When it comes to food and beverage industry, your commitment to the customer is important, obviously, and again, how good your product is. If it’s not good, it’s not going to sell. Hence a good amount of marketing too, is very important.
I think having a personality is very attractive. For example Virgin, it has its own personality, even its employees represent it’s personality. For us, we want a personality unique to Lean & Clean, which will intrigue and attract the young. All fitness food businesses talk about health, obesity and good food/bad food; we aren’t saying that; we never said that. We just say that if you eat our food, you are just more ‘Confident’. We sell in a different way. So having a clear vision, path and personality is of utter importance.”
What’s coming next in your pool of achievements? Any future plans?
“I have a lot of ideas in my head and I think it’s time to get them legitimized. (What are those ideas? Your fans want to know!) They are great ideas; For example, I have a question – If someone has given a 6-year-old some money, will he be able to have even a little piece of it by the time he is 60? I want that to happen one day, any money a student or minor receives should be theirs to claim-even if it’s a piece of it. I want to create a system that makes this possible and in this way we could eradicate poverty- I believe poverty can be eradicated.”
What are the 5 qualities it takes to be a successful business person according to you?
- Habits – you can have good and bad habits, but are they contributing to your goal?
- Routine – I am a product of routine. If I do not wake up at the right time, I could not get things done; I couldn’t have me time- and that is very important for me to generate ideas. Also, if I don’t give time to building myself, how can I ever build great businesses and great people?
- Spirituality – Being spiritual helped me a lot; I have always trusted God with everything. When I came to Dubai, our family was really affected by the economic crunch. Seeing my dad walk through the struggles, I learnt a lot. I chose how to be and how not to be. Hence, I found a whole new trust and connection with God and I think that is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
- Eagerness to learn – If you master three Universal Laws- First being patience i.e. the fact that you will get there someday, second being that there is ease after hardship, and the third that learning how people work is very important. Reading people helps you more than reading books ever could. But in order to even speak to people you should know yourself and who you are and then use these laws as the key to getting there.
- Consistency – Things are ought to break you down; people will break you, people will criticize you, people will challenge you; In my case I was very lucky because people who showed me down gave me more confidence- My strong belief in myself helped me make it through the tough times. Therefore, if you stay consistent, I can guarantee that good things will come around.”
Describe yourself in one word: Ambitious
Fave color: Black
Morning person or night person: Morning person
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Favorite quote: There is one I wrote down, when I was analyzing my life- ‘If you manage your time, things will manage itself’- That’s the motto of my life
Favorite emoji: The red dancing girl
Favorite entrepreneur: Richard Branson
If you were not a businessman today, what would you be doing instead: I think I’d be in sports, or maybe engineering since I really find the field interesting.
Khubaib is a living proof that younger generations are capable of tremendous creations and that If one doesn’t master themselves, they are unlikely to master their lives. A coffee with him really gave me an insight into what’s important in one’s life and how no hurdle can ever be too big! Thank you Khubaib for your time!