Abdullah Saqib is a telecom engineer by qualification, a Marketing Professional in Telenor Pakistans Digital Services team by profession, a freelance writer and a career coach by passion.
He is the founder of Rangle Career Guide-Pakistans first strengths-based career coaching platform, which strives to identify talents, convert them to strengths and drive performance. Saqib did his BS Telecom Engineering from National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences. His diverse range of activities may seem confusing at first, but when his areas of interest are focused, one will find everything fitting into place. In a recent interview with Technology Times Saqib discussed his practical and innovative ideas about starting up an enterprise.
Q: What is needed to start a company?
A: Abdullah Saqib: I think passion and drive are the keys to starting a company. When it comes to creating such a ripple, one must know how to expand, which requires a lot of planning and processing. If an idea strikes and manages to consistently consume your thoughts, you should start. If not, there is no harm in letting it stew some more. Aspiring entrepreneurs should always try to learn from the corporate sector rather than distancing themselves, as this sector helps in understanding complex processes, the problems and issues that may occur when starting up and offers invaluable learning and experiences enabling you to save time and excel.
To start an enterprise, the most important thing is the core idea within the entrepreneurial mind that intends to analyze the problemand execute the solution. In order to ensure long-term success, SWOT analysis should be conducted regularly to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in a project or a business venture. Then execute your project practically. As evident, analytical skills play a pivotal role here. Remember to always define your unique value proposition as this will help customers to understand how your product is distinctive from others. The Vision and Mission are the essential ingredients in starting a business.Refine your idea and work on its foundation and make the best use of mentoring. This will ensure a smooth trajectory into the future.
Q: How to be innovative?
A: First amake sure that your business idea is implementable for the country/ regime and the world. What problem does it solve and how comprehensive is the solution? Which other initiatives are working to address the same issues and what are the gaps or deficits in the market? The more well-thought and practical the idea, the more chances of it being innovative and meaningful to the target segment.
Q: How resources can be managed?
A: As far as resource management is concerned there are two types of resources in this regard i.e. financial and non-financial. You should start with non-financial resources with pooling of expertise. It is recommended to start with a low-cost small scale pilot or a prototype (whichevers applicable). Then consider revenue streams: will you generate your own money or explore seed funding or other investment options? When it comes to the team, a co-founder with a different perspective and talent area would make the startup more resilient.
When we glance at the Pakistani environment, usually seed funding or angel finance is limited to elite universities whereas innovation is typically at play more often in less known universities. Wherever a resource shortage exists, students will be inclined to think out of the box while being driven by competition. We need to focus on the hidden gems within these small universities. The “we cant get it”myth has been busted with the rising trend of incubation in universities and successful funding of innovative startups. One cannot ignore the role of HEC in helping to bridge the gap between education and entrepreneurship. More and more Pakistani success stories are creating a wave of aspiring entrepreneurs hungry for impact.
Q: How to achieve sustainability?
A: Its not necessary that things will happen according to your desires. Typically after 2 years of starting a venture, things will start shaking, this would be the critical stage where you will need to balance survival and innovation. The innovation process is very much important at that stage. If the effort is driven by the mission and vision of your company, you will be able to not only motivate yourself but lead the entire team. Talent retention and management by making heroes in every role and rewarding them is critical in this stage. Quite often young entrepreneurs suffer from an ego disease for which humility is the best cure.
Q: How to cope with failure?
A: As entrepreneurs we should remove the negative connotations associated with failure. Failure is just another way of saying wisdom gained from experience, and the earlier you gain that experience the better it is for you in the longer run. If you do fail to achieve what you set out to do the first time, you’ve learnt what not to do the second time round. Eventually, you end up with a fail proof recipe for success.
Q: Anything you would like to add?
A: Youth and seasoned professionals need to realize their talents, skill set and knowledge as these are the most significant attributes for business initiatives. Skills and knowledge are transferable whereas talent is God gifted. In order to excel you must develop your strengths while managing your weaknesses through team work. Always believe in what you have and have faith in what you can accomplish!