Influential people have an incredible ability to get you leaning toward their way of thinking. They get you to like more than their ideas – they get you to like them. For the 35-year-old founder of Inspire Cafe Group, Ismi Azhan portrayed excellent persuasion abilities. The ability is further proven when he shared the story of how he convinced his parents to support him in making a huge turning point in his life. It wasn’t an easy task, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
Convincing his parents
Brought up in a family that emphasised on academic, Ismi Azhan was privileged to be given access to better education. “My dad is a professor, his mindset is different than mine – we both are different,” he said.
As the youngest sibling, his parents’ wish was to see their son become a doctor. But medic wasn’t in his blood and it caused a great argument in the house when he refused to study medic. “I’m a stubborn son (laughed). I don’t like to follow the crowd but my parent seemed not to understand the rebellious part in me.”
Robert Kiyosaki played a huge part in his life
He never thought a single book written by Robert Kiyosaki would change his entire life. From just a casual reading, the book developed serious thinking about life and money.
“I was 18 years old when first introduced to the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. After a few months reading the book, I started to question what I really want to do in my life. I couldn’t picture myself as an engineer for the next 5 years. I found my true passion, to do business. I want to be rich” he explained. After an intense discussion with his parents, they both finally came to an end. They did an agreement to allow him to changed the course and furnished him with a small capital to do his own business.
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good”
When business is in the blood
With the small amount of money that his father lent, Ismi together with his brother planned on opening a hardware shop. The hardware shop was a huge success, they expanded from one chain to having 4 chains in total focusing in Bangi area. Location-wise, the shop was located strategically in the residential area, and they earned a solid RM3,000 – RM4,000 a day just by selling paint.
Sadly, all the chains closed down after several years due to stiffer competition. Thus led him to explore a new market. He was thinking about online business and the idea to start Inspire Cafe popped up.
Inspire Cafe aspires to be a giant brand
Ideally, Inspire Cafe’s first and only ‘child’ when they first started was a coffee brand since it’s widely accepted by the consumers and the target group is huge. The sale was fairly okay but the margin wasn’t there, so he worked out more plans in producing more products.
“We aspire to be a giant group company producing a range of brands and products under the parent company – just like Nestle. Currently, we have several products which are a supplement for kids, perfume and tea.”
“Every failure that I did in the past is a lesson for me of not repeating the same mistakes”
The supplement, CeliQ Minda derives half a million sale per month and it’s a hot-selling product in the market. The founder of Inspire Cafe targets to hit RM1mil sale per month for the supplement and it seems achievable with their solid marketing plan on getting Datuk Dr Fadzilah Kamsah as the brand ambassador.
His truest achievement
Asking about his biggest achievements, Ismi Azhan emphasised on the progression of his team. “My philosophy is simple, I want everyone who enters this company to be a better version of themselves. I’m proud to be able to help my staff in term of providing job opportunities. In return, they help me in securing the sale,” adding that Inspire Cafe earns RM5-6mil sale annually with the profit growth 55-60 per cent.
“Success is about you making achievement and progress. You can’t measure a success based on achievement alone”
The future of Inspire Cafe
As the founder of Inspire Cafe, Ismi Azhan has set the benchmark high for the company. He strives to market the products in major retails and pharmacies. “Before we go on the ground and approach the local market, we would like to increase the awareness first. For this year, we are planning to put up 30 billboards along the major highways for branding purpose. Besides, we are planning to add more physical offices probably in Penang and JB to smoother the logistic service,” he ended.