From his humble beginning as an employee of a grocery store, M A Yusuff Ali rose to dizzying heights with sheer hard work. He now owns a group of supermarkets and hypermarkets. He built Asia's largest convention centre in Kochi.
Yusuff Ali is an enigma to outsiders. During the course of his business life that spans four and a half decades, he positioned himself at the right place at the right moment. He made a reputation for keeping promises.
He is not just a businessman for the people in power. He partly owes his success to his smooth talking. He draws his inspiration from all quarters.
On the eve of a meeting with the Chinese president, Yusuff Ali was visited by a journalist. The journalist told Yusuff Ali about a Nostradamus prediction that suggested world domination by the Chinese and the Indians.
Yusuff Ali made a note of the fact and made his team do some research on it. He told the journalist that he was going to use it in his next speech. He later peppered his speech with the anecdote when he was addressing a gathering of personalities including the prime minister.
Yusuff Ali is always open to ideas. The pattern is evident even at work. He makes it a point to emulate any impressive developments he had found during his travels abroad.
Last month, during a meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain, Yusuff Ali was a confident man. He told the crown prince that he had kept his word of starting 10 hypermarkets in Bahrain within three years. He had also told the crown prince that he would employee 3,000 Bahrain nationals and Rs 1,000 crore in the country.
Yusuff Ali said he employed 3,020 Bahrain nationals in his establishments and invested Rs 1,250 crore. He is not one to make hollow promises.