Hakan Bahceci, Founder – CEO – and chairperson of Hakan Agro has found success in the agricultural commodities business over the last 25 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and received an MBA from Wollongong University in Australia. From 2011 until 2017 he was a chairman of the Turkish Business Council in Dubai. Also, he has served as a board member of the grain and feed trade association, was the President of the Global Pulse Confederation between 2011-2015, as the President of the International Agri Food Network, and as chairperson of the private sector mechanism at the UN committee on world food security.

Hakan Agro was founded in 1989. The company specializes in the supply chain management of agricultural commodities. This includes everything from edible oils to frozen meats and packaging materials. They ship these commodities from their offices and processing facilities in 24 different countries, to 1000 different customers in 82 countries.

How do you make money?

By providing a good service to both buyers and sellers.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

From day 1 because I started as a broker.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I never doubted that it would work. I couldn’t think of any other options as a contingency, so my only option was for it to be successful.

How did you get your first customer?

In those days there was no online route to getting your customers. You were limited on how you could get information. I think the first customer came from a shipping line that introduced me to the client. Even back then I was leveraging good relationships. I say the most organic way to increase the number of your customers is being able to cultivate good relationships.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

Before I approach a client, I make sure that I can add value to them. We think about what we can give them that they don’t have, or when we can do differently from them.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

We’ve not had any in the past few months, but in general, I would always be unhappy if we had to shut down a business or sack people because of business failure.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

I like to be successful. But it doesn’t mean the best money-making deals make me the happiest. It could be something quite simple, like a member of the team pitching a new idea. And this business being successful has allowed me to build up my philanthropic activities.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

I am excited by the new generation showing interest in the company, such as the children of long-term employees who have now come to work for us. A key consideration for an entrepreneur that has grown a business is to think about your exit strategy. It could be selling the company to employees or going public. Because then you ensure you have a legacy plan for the business you started, have put so much effort into and have built.

Hakan Agro On The Web

After completing our interview with Hakan, we found these pages of interest on the web:

  1. http://www.hakanfoods.com/ – Hakan Agro’s company website, Hakan Agro DMCC
  2. https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/company/9763561Z:UH – Bloomberg profile of Hakan Agro, with detailed history of the business
  3. https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/hakan-agro-commodities – Hakan Agro’s crunchbase page where it’s ranked 119,378 as of Feb 2020
  4. https://www.accesswire.com/559799/The-Hakan-Agro-Group-is-Set-to-Attend-the-25th-Annual-Gulfood-Exhibition – news article about Hakan Agro attending Gulfood Exhibition
  5. https://www.gulfoodmanufacturing.com/exhibitors/hakan-agro-dmcc – Hakan Agro exhibitor profile (with company address)

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