In Order Of Integrity Part 1 Jeff had shared a bit about God had helped to start his business. In part two he continues, starting with a trip to China.
A TRIP TO CHINA.
It was then that Jeff was invited by a business friend to come over to China to help him manage his restaurant there.
“I went there without expecting much. But when I arrived, I was completely taken aback by the way F&B services were run in China. They were much more advanced than us, especially in terms of delivery. Everything was so automated and efficient and was operated by individuals. I felt that you can literally survive there without leaving home. It is so common to work from home in China.
“If you wake up today and you don’t feel like going to work, you have just to call your office and tell them that you are working from home. So, everything you were supposed to accomplish in the office for that day will be sent to your house. The office will get the service of a delivery agency to send the materials to your home immediately and after you have done your work, the delivery guy will come and pick them up and send them back to the office. It was instant delivery.
“Even drinks like Starbucks can be sent to your doorstep. That’s how I got the idea. Delivery isn’t limited to just food only. You can deliver whatever you want with the China delivery service provider. So, I thought to myself, why not bring this kind of business back to Malaysia. So, I returned to Alor Setar, and tried my best to develop upon the idea,” Jeff added.
He started off with home-cooked food delivery, helping those working mothers or mothers who have no means of transport and who needed to take care of their young children’s sustenance, by sending food packages of their mothers’ choice to them.
“After a while, I started to expand my business by approaching small business food outlets and selling them my idea as a way to expand their business without incurring extra resources or cost to hire people to deliver their food to customers, such as small food orders like a packet of rice with mixed dishes, wantan mee and chicken rice.”
The cost of delivery is to be borne by the customer. The food outlet owners, both from the big and small ones, liked the idea and would gladly call him whenever they needed people to deliver their food orders.
“In this way, people are getting to know my service and see how I treat them – with respect and courtesy. It is very important to treat them with respect. I dressed properly too as I want to show that I am very professional,” Jeff said.
He elaborated further that it wasn’t smooth sailing at the beginning since the people in Alor Setar are not accustomed to paying an extra RM 5 for the convenience of getting their food delivered to their doorstep or paying people to deliver things for them in particular. This is because Alor Setar is quite a conservative and small urban centre.
“When I first started, I could only earn around RM 5 to RM 10 per customer, and on some days there wasn’t even a single delivery. I was earning very little and there were times I would decline to hang out with friends as I only had like RM 2 in my pocket,” Jeff added.
It was during these times that Jeff had to depend solely on God.
“I always reminded myself that I must hold on to this faith in depending on God, especially through hard times. So I keep telling myself, ‘God since you opened this door for me to come back to Alor Setar, I am sure You will lead me on.’ I kept reminding myself that God knows this is something He wants me to be, so He will bring me through,” Jeff added.
During these trying times too, Jeff said he was able to see who his true friends were. Those friends stood by him and were willing to treat him for a meal, despite knowing he did not have any money to pay for the food.
“I started doing everything solo. I did the sales promotion, the photoshoot of the products, the advertising, and the delivery. I kept the starting modal as low as possible and did not get an office since everything I did was online. It was just me, and one worker,” Jeff said.
But as Jeff persevered, more and more customers came. News spread about his dedicated and trustworthy delivery service. It took about a year for the local customers to pick up his business modal, and another year for his business to be financially stable.
“When the people I deliver the goods know that I am a Christian, they asked me questions relating to Christianity. How and what answers we give to others will show them what kind of Christian we are. They can see my personal life through my WeChat posting where I posted the church ministries that I am involved in. Some of them will ask me about some of the things I posted. I build contacts and friendships with them. Most of my customers will become my friends,” Jeff added.
He also explained that he is just building up his business. As such, he has to start it right, with a fine balance between work and ministry.
“I try to balance my work and my time for ministry. Sometimes I could be late for church events because of an unavoidable last-minute delivery order. When people call me for delivery, I will let them know how long it would take to deliver and try to be punctual. The delivery fee will be kept as low as possible. My main business goal is to connect the end-user with the product owner.
“When I taste any nice food, I will immediately take pictures of it and post it online. In a way, I am helping to promote the outlet business. Then when my customer sees this, they would make an order and ask me to do delivery to them. Orders can come from as far as another nearby town, so it helps the outlet’s business to expand, as well as helping the customer eat and taste delicious food that is of value to their money. Also, for mothers taking care of young children, this delivery service helps them a lot,” Jeff added.
Jeff’s delivery service has now expanded to as far as over a 20 kilometers radius, to the outer districts of Alor Setar like Simpang Empat, Tokai, Kota Sarang Semut, Jitra, Pendang, and Pokok Sena. Sometimes, this would go even further like special orders to Universiti Utara (UUM) in Changloon.
“Florist shops have also used my service to deliver flowers. I have delivered goods and money even to Penang and Kuala Lumpur. When it comes to money, the customers must trust me enough before they can ask me to collect their cash and/or cheques to deposit into the bank for them,” Jeff added.
He testified that through God’s grace, his business has grown and he is able to even pay off his debts.
“With a lot of patience and faith, I am now financially stable just after two years of starting this business. I am earning enough to even pay off my debts, including my outstanding debts that I was owing to the now-defunct cafe’s shareholders. They were pleasantly surprised that I was able to send them money to settle my debts with them.”
Jeff still has plans of building his delivery service up to an even bigger scale. But he is wise enough to wait for the Lord’s timing and leading. His advice for those young ones who want to venture into this heartless field of business is to have patience.
“Patience and perseverance will push you through, no matter how difficult the journey looks. I always believe that when God puts you through a trying situation, there is a reason for it. You will never know until you push through and you will understand.
“If you give up you will never know. It’s only when you push through then you gain understanding and knowledge. Just be like Job, then with time, you will look back and realise the beauty of God’s way of building your character to be more like Christ.”
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