Starting your own business is not a piece of cake. Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, especially if one compares it with having a tediously mundane office job; not to mention scores of glorified success stories of SMEs available on the web, tempting one to take the plunge and start a business. But there is more to the ‘free’ entrepreneurial spirit than meets the eye. It is definitely all about the proverbial saying one percent genius and 99 percent hard work!
Every successful business has a story of its own: a singular thing that clicked! One way or the other, there are lessons to be learnt from those who have created a place for themselves in the market or are busy striving to attain one.
Bitten by the business bug
Working for various IT companies in a senior capacity, before actually taking a leap of faith and establishing his own UAE-based IT firm, Muzaffar Jamil acknowledges that the road taken is rocky and laden with challenges. “It is difficult in the beginning especially if you are solely relying on yourself. The downturn has indeed made us all wary and the less liabilities you have, the better.” Adding, he said: “Experience has taught me that tools for success is a focused business plan and intelligent money management. I also think a product-selling company fares better compared to a services-oriented one. That said, I began by offering IT consultancy services, mainly to create the company’s name, strong business relationships and goodwill. And now we’re in phase two, where the firm has begun receiving orders for tech products as well as services.”
Creating a niche
Manou’she Street, a trendy eating outlet serving Middle Eastern cuisine, is a fine example of creating a niche and that too in the daunting food business in Dubai (UAE). Competing with the likes of fast food giants such as KFC, McDonalds and so forth, the restaurant is well received by local as well as international food connoisseurs, so much so that the firm not only has eight branches across Dubai but also established franchises and outlets across Europe as well as the MENA region. The secret to success is not only serving a delicious, traditional cuisine with a modern twist, but by providing its customer a healthier fast food option.
Services beckons customer loyalty
Merely having a great product does not necessarily mean your business will take off. Shrewd marketing tactics are imperative. There may be millions of inventions out there, which have not seen the light of day and probably never will. In an interview for a UAE publication, leading SME in the Middle East and a paper trading organization, MEPCO Gulf’s CEO Fadi K Baaklini had commented: “Possessing knowledge about your business is fundamental. You will not be able to sell if you don’t really know what your products or offerings are. Services come next. We are traders but at the end of the day, we also provide services. It is our job to find the finest quality, great price and combination as well as the best deliveries to the client.”
Shrewd talent acquisition
Employee retention and loyalty is another critical factor influencing a company’s growth. Business will only boom if a firm boasts a formidable team of go-getters who are passionate about what they do. And even before that, it is important to remember that merely recruiting people will not get the job done. It is all about hiring the right person for the right job. In other words almost clinical talent acquisition, where one is hired based on three major competencies: knowledge, attitude and skills. Then it is up to the hiring authority to place that talent fittingly in the whole scheme of things.
Making the most of a bad situation or environment is a talent only some possess. Many a company drowned in the stormy sea of recession, but there were those who managed to stay afloat. To a very small extent, it is a leap of faith but it largely depends on how buoyantly one can wade through rough waters during high tide and also retaining composure in the aftermath.