Business Tips for Staying Open & Profitable

El Vaquero spoke to experienced businessman and CEO Rick Mirza on what businesses can do to minimize loss during the pandemic

Over the weekend, El Vaquero had the opportunity to speak to Rick Mirza, the CEO of the private equity firm Daulat and business owner with 17 Jack In The Box restaurant locations under his belt. In the midst of a pandemic that has small and family-owned businesses struggling to keep themselves open, Mirza shared with us his own struggles and hurdles he’s had to jump, along with his tips on holding onto your business and its profits. 

In his interview with El Vaquero, Mirza made it clear that even he is just as unsure of what will come in the following weeks and months as anyone else, stating that “the future is full of uncertainty & change,” but adding that he believes businesses that are strong enough to stay afloat through this rough economic period are those that learn to adapt and thrive. Of course, some businesses may be doing better than others nowadays, mainly major restaurant chains who were able to adopt drive-thru and takeout options early on. Thankfully, however, with Gov. Newsom’s new projections on how some retailers may be able to open again as soon as Friday May 8, a wider catalog of businesses now have a clear landmark goal to work towards as they adopt new safety measures required to reopen. 

In a previous interview with One America News Network, Mirza outlined what he called his “Mirza Mantras,” which he explained were created in the wake of the 2008 recession. Some of his mantras that are most applicable now include having a few months worth of business expenses put away for emergencies, forming a savings fund only to be used in situations like these and expanding your options away from just local credit or union banks. 

These Mantras have proven to be successful for Mirza himself, but given that the time to save is long gone for some business owners who could have never predicted a global pandemic, El Vaquero asked what tips might help those who may not be able to adopt the Mantras entirely. One of his biggest tips to current business owners struggling to adapt is simply to catch up and adapt to the changing market. Whether that’s by making your business it’s own website or adding a drive-thru component to your restaurant. What may be the most help he says, is remembering to “always speak with your creditors and landlords,” since forming relationships with the people who directly influence your business is key to navigating uncomfortable situations you may find yourself in. 

Although Mirza has seen success overcoming challenges brought on by Covid-19, through the use of drive-thrus and delivery options in his own restaurants, he made a point to establish that he does not believe that the state of California and the Federal Reserve are doing enough to help business owners during this time. Despite the relief funds available to help small business owners create a safety net for themselves and their employees, Mirza was quick to say that “they need to do more!” and that “the funding that’s been provided is just a drop in the bucket.” 

While some families are struggling to simply stay afloat, this period of economic downfall that will likely continue will present unique opportunities in the form of new investments to be made, and new businesses that might emerge. With that in mind, El Vaquero asked Mirza if he believed, like many others do, that some golden opportunities may begin to present themselves as the situation continues to develop. Contrary to this reporters’ own expectation, Mirza stated his concern for investors and new businesses looking to get a good deal in the future, stating that although the fruit seems ripe for picking, more risks exist now than ever that might have a long effect on business practices to come. Despite this word of warning, Mirza added his belief that businesses designed specifically to function with the pandemic in mind, have a much better chance at reaping the rewards this period of uncertainty will give. “Health and online startups are seeing huge spiking opportunities,” Mirza mentioned, “but I would still hesitate to pull the trigger.”

Regardless of the direction business owners may choose to go with so many new complications they’re facing, staying vigilant, nimble and keeping a positive attitude to the very end are the most important of Mirza’s Mantras. 


Eian Gil can be reached at [email protected]