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Fahim Mojawalla, owner of the Island Ship Center on Whitehaven Road, said his business is “pivoting during a pandemic.”
When the whole world seems in chaos, Mojawalla said e-commerce fulfillments at his self-described “spa of shipping” were up in June.
He said, “I’m probably gonna be up in July in sales compared to last year. How does that happen? It happened because of 10 things. And that’s the qualities that we look for when we’re hiring: passion, patience, persistence, politeness, grit, gratitude, generosity, grace, empathy and collaboration, hashtag #FahimFix. And I’ll repeat it slowly for you.”
“It’s the best that you can get,” Mojawalla said, calling it “the perfect 10.”
“These 10 qualities are really what we strive for in our team. And if you look at all of our Google reviews, I’ve done more shipping in the past three-and-a-half, four months to Canada than I have all of last year because of the border being closed. Why is that? That’s not because people have a lot of money and they want to throw it away. It’s because we’ve built trust over the past 14 years in working for our online presence, in working for our Canadian clients who are stuck. And then they’re like, ‘You know what? Call this guy; he’s gonna respond to his emails; he’s going to be respectful; and he’s going to be responsible in getting your package.’ Those three things are essential. Two of them are the Viking Values, right? Respectful, responsible, and then the third one is responsive. That’s my own because if you’re not going to reply to an email, why bother even.”
It’s not to say the pandemic wasn’t worrisome at the Island Ship Center.
“Yeah, it was scary. March, April, May were absolutely scary,” Mojawalla said. “They were insanely scary. We’ve never been in those unchartered waters, but we did what we had to do. We stayed on. We kept our team. We didn’t lose anyone. We made do with what we had. We cut down on our expenses extremely. We’re still cutting down on our expenses in terms of spending. But now at least we have a team that is on board and realizes that we’re here for them, and they’re here for us.
“They do amazing things for us.”
Rumor is the employees still get unlimited snacks. Don’t get Mojawalla started about energy drinks. And the delivery drivers who go in and out of the Island Ship Center are offered bottled water from the loading dock refrigerator. Free? Oh, they pay him back.
“In the summertime, our fridge is stocked. That’s great. Guess who goes miles for us at Christmas time?” Mojawalla said.
“If the owners of any small business are not working on their business as much as they’re working in their business, they’re going to go out of business. Hashtag #FahimFix,” Mojawalla said. “And the people are so busy working in their business, they’re not realizing how to work on their business, and working on the business means you have to step away from the calendar, step away from the front and go back and look at the processes and how it’s gonna work. And most people don’t have time for that, or they hire the wrong people, or they say they’re fine. A lot of people say they’re not finding the right people. Well, they may be not using the right processes, and maybe they’re not the right people. Their mentality is 20th century, not 21st.”
Mojawalla described how a new, prime competitor in the e-commerce shipping game is helping raise the bar for everyone.
The new trucks have been in “South Florida, Texas, all these other places in the past 18 months, but they have just come on the Island,” Mojawalla said. “They’re fresh new trucks. The drivers are responsible. They’re respectful. They’re responsive. They’re amazing drivers. They don’t make any faces. They’re forcing FedEx and UPS to raise the bar in terms of the character of the drivers and in terms of their delivery. And you see that online on social media everywhere. And there’s a truth to that. And I’m witnessing it here at my place.
“Let me tell you something. All these people pennywise and pound-foolish. That’s why they go out of business. … And a happy team is an efficient team provided that you hired correctly. ... There’s no ego in the game.”