A diligent personality, Muhammad Asif is a serial entrepreneur and an investor with background in Finance. He is CEO of Main Course Associates (MCA). Born and raised in Pakistan, growing up, Asif dreamt of becoming a professional sportsman and follow his passion for cricket. However, a turnaround of circumstances led him to follow a much different path, one he is even happier with. Let’s learn more about his journey, leadership, firm, future goals, and more.
The Beginning of a New Journey
When Asif met with a severe accident as a very young man, it soon became clear that pursuing cricket as a profession was out of the question. Sometimes, a sudden change of events leads us in the direction that is meant to be. Asif made up his mind to do the next best thing – Business & Finance.
Intrigued by these two fields, Asif was a firm believer that a perfect blend of Business and Finance can have a positive impact on people and bring about lasting change. So, he decided to pursue his passion in these fields and was all set to start his journey.
Moving Abroad and Accomplishing a Successful Career
Asif, at the age of 17 moved to the UK for higher studies and a successful professional career. He finished his Finance studies and started working at Gordon Ramsay Holdings, which fuelled his love for the Hospitality Industry, and he has not looked back since.
With his determined efforts and fervent nature, he grew in stature and joined a Specialist Business Consulting firm, Main Course Associates which he has grown Internationally. The firm provides Financial, Operational & growth-focused solutions to Hospitality Industry.
Currently, he is focused on expanding MCA globally. He plans to own and run multiple businesses with amazing partners. I genuinely believe that anybody can be a CEO, but only a few are Leaders, and that is what inspires me – to empower my teams for leadership & positive influence.
About MCA, its Offerings, and Outreach
MCA aims to be the best Hospitality service firm. The firm is passionate about hospitality, food & restaurants, most of the team members come from this background. It understands the critical and delicate balance between customer and shareholder value. Its emphasis on ensuring laser-like focus on actual and underlying issues surrounding the business means that it’s financial data is not only accurate, on time but also defensible, and meaningful to operators.
The firm initiated the process of weekly flash reporting, which is a mini profit and loss account with relevant Key Performance Indicators for the businesses it works with. This helps the clients understand the problems right at the start of the week allowing them to fix them immediately as opposed to waiting for the data to arrive weeks later, which in MCAs view is already too late.
Being a value added service provider is at the heart of MCA and they put real passion and care for their clients.
There’s a balance between experience, such as knowing what a business’s profit should be in a given location, and expertise, such as understanding how to improve systems to maximize potential. The firm believes it can do both and that’s what makes it different along with attention to detail and not assuming that all customers are the same, rather looking afresh at every new client’s business.
Cherishing the Winning Moments Lifelong
MCA won the Investors in People and Great Places to Work award during the most challenging of times – Covid-19. This is proof of the firm’s culture and synergetic work environment. It also reflects how passionate Asif is about his people and focuses on empowering each one of them.
The Adaptability Approach: From Leader’s Desk
I have a set of tools I follow to remain calm, poised and measured after all, a true test of a leader is in times of uncertainty and a challenge. No one is ever fully prepared, the key thing is toremain adaptable, there is that saying by Darwin which I take a lot of inspiration from: It is not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent but the ones most adaptable to change. Remembering that (beingagile & adaptable) along with a few tools I use, helps me remain measured which helps me to lead better
Leadership Principles to abide by
Leadership is a tough job and the first and foremost principle of Leadership for Asif is to recognize himself as a leader. If an individual doesn’t accept himself as a leader and doesn’t believe in himself, the other tools will not help much.
Additionally, one characteristic that Asif believes every leader should possess is Persuasive Communication, because ultimately that is the key that will unlock many doors and pass on a leaders message to his people. The other few include empowering people, thinking and acting strategically, managing relationships and of course, bold decision making.
A Lesson Learned
In chase of developing people, Asif once promoted a manager in a key position who didn’t necessarily have the right skill set, hoping that the role will help him develop the missing skills. Sadly, this is not how it panned out and the person was not great with people. A bad decision can have far more consequences if not recognized soon.
Asif rectified this situation and learned that it is great to empower and develop people, however, we have to sometimes recognize as leaders that not everyone is cut for that.
Success is a Holistic Measure
Asif has achieved many titles in his name. With utmost dedication, commitment and sheer performance, he has come a long way in his career front and continues to achieve more day by day. And this is how he defines success.
The best definition of success for Asif is to be continually progressing towards a worthy vision, this means that the vision has to be worthy of you – as the individual. He further states that success should be an idea so big that you can not resist but move towards it and as long as you are moving towards it – you are successful.
One aspect of that is also to be making a positive contribution and impact in the world. Your impact and influence can be used as a gauge to measure your performance.
Building a Dream Team
At this moment, Asif’s key focus is to grow his team and train them to think like change agents. In the current climate, we also cannot get away from the fact that the world is constantly evolving and changing. We are headed towards technology and automation like never before and these will be the key components of a dynamic future.
Asif states, “The big idea that I want my team & people to know is that: Sky is not the limit, your mind is – so let’s continually be working hard towards our mission without any limitations.”
Additionally, here’s a sneak peek of what Asif’s team members, partners, and fellow mates have to say about his leadership style. They have defined him as Collaborative, Caring, Vision driven, Decisive, Peoples person, Motivational, and Measured.
The Ultimate Vision
For Asif, to know and see the impact he could be making in the world is really what drives him. He comes from humble beginnings from a developing country having seen some of the injustices first hand, he knows what it means to have a positive impact. He is on a mission to ensure that he uses his knowledge and skills to maximum potential for what is to come.
Moreover, the best advice Asif has received is, “change is inevitable but personal growth is a choice”. Hence, he is keen on learning, growing, and developing comprehensively.
Expanding New Horizons
Asif aims to expand MCA and its services to 20 offices globally to ensure his impact is multiplied. As a specialist hospitality service provider, the firm envisions marking its presence in the cities with a thriving hospitality scene.