Have you seen children running behind a balloon-seller in the streets? If you have a family, are you being repeatedly pestered by demands to buy balloons by your own children? Then, you are right there. Balloons are one of those items that have wide range of varieties and offer business opportunities from very micro-level to a full-scale business.
Meet Entrepreneur Abdul Rehmanâ€”a balloon seller who has been selling balloons from almost last 45 years. He does not remember when he moved to Punjab from Bihar but it has been a long and arduous journey. I remember we bought balloons from him around 20 years back when we used to visit our village and we demanded from our parents to give us Rs. 1 coin. The scenes have changed but this man, riding his bicycle and having same equipments, has not changed: not in his appearance, not in his profession and not in his style of going around town-to-town riding his bicycle.
When asked about his business, he says he started when a village landlord lent him money to buy a gas cylinder and a bicycle. He managed to sell balloons, roaming around in villages and small towns on his bicycle. During nights, he stayed in Mosques and went upon for next dayâ€™s task.
He reared his four sons with this business and made them stand of their own feetâ€”they all have their own businesses now. He mentions that he procures the balloons from Ludhiana, a large and industrial town in Punjab. The capacity of cylinder he does not know. However, he mentions that he is able to fill around 50 small balloons that he sells and around 20 of bigger size. He keeps the material with him to prepare hydrogen gas on spot. I remember him asking for some water around 20 years back when he had to prepare hydrogen gasâ€”at that time, it was a sort of magic trick for us children who knew no science; at the same time, we cared less about the procedure but more about the balloons.
Balloons filled with air are cheaper because apart from balloons, there is no cost involved. However, gaseous balloons are bit costlier due to involvement of hydrogen gas.
It is indeed a wonder how a person can manage his family by selling balloons in and around an area of 60 Km rowing his bicycle with all the material, cylinder piled on it, wearing simple clothes and never complaining about anything.
This street vendor could not scale his business like a flourishing entrepreneur but still, he managed to rear his family and provide them the means to get on their feet.
What was the ingredient that he had before taking upon this task of selling balloons in a different state where he finds himself alone? He did not know the language of that state and had no one to help him; what made him sustain his family?
Share your thoughts and answers and feel free to share if you have noticed people with similar stories though coming from different business areas.