Hedging your Bets for successful entrepreneurship

Testing the Waters
Although gainfully employed, Suhail Ahmad wanted to ratchet up excitement in his life, so he decided to ride two boats in his 20s: Full-time employment but starting his entrepreneurship journey on the side.

Q Why did you become an entrepreneur?

A: Life was static and I felt I could make a difference. Once you are an entrepreneur, you have to make it work because you do not have any other options. This is where your whole mindset of being static on a job is changed and another person is born with an entirely different mentality. You need to look at all matters, from starting the initial conversation and making the necessary arrangements to successful completion and receiving payment. Everything must be very clear in your mind, if it is not then you are in big trouble. It is stressful but at the same time if offers you what no other job can offer. It offers you the freedom and there is no limit on what you can achieve. You are the hero of own company and you have to act like one.

Q: Did you become an entrepreneur immediately after school?

A: No I was first an employee. I was responsible for Information Security and I was leading the Information Security Department (Corvit Networks). During this time I was testing the waters for my own business venture, namely providing training courses with particular emphasis on IT systems. I was a full-time employee and a part-time entrepreneur. Now it is the other way round, I am a full-time entrepreneur but I am also doing part-time lecturing at the University of Education, Lahore in the Network Design and Management field. I wanted to see if entrepreneurship could work for me and with the minimum investment. I was nearing the end of my 20s and I felt it was now or never.

Q: What are the greatest challenges a new startup in your field faces?

A: In the training and consultancy business, the hardest thing is to kick start it. People do not know your brand name and why would they trust you for training and consultancy?

Q: How did you kick start your training and consultancy?

A: We had to start on personal references, plus we came up with the unique idea to start training of Mobile Application development. We are pioneers of Mobile Application training in Lahore and this uniqueness really helped us. Our client portfolio now includes multinationals.

Q: Where did you get your clients from?

A: I met everyone personally and offered what others could not. I was personally present at all the initial training sessions as an observer. In addition, we have been flexible in our delivery methods and once up and running, satisfied clients have spread the word.

Q: What is your marketing strategy?

A: Mobile Application development training is relatively new and not a hot-cake training here. We had quite a challenge to create awareness. We used social media, free seminars and marketing activities. Once people know the value of this training, they joined our training classes. Some of our students have started their own mobile application development companies and are doing well now.

Q: What would help startups get a leg up?

A: If entrepreneurs can get some mentorship in their early days then it will be a great help not only to them but to society as a whole (more jobs and more opportunities).

Q: What limits your growth?

A: The biggest challenge we are facing is electricity. Every time I am planning to go big my single and the biggest concern is stable electricity. You cannot teach students without electricity and the cost of your own power generator will make it very difficult to stay in business. If the electricity issues is resolved here in Pakistan then it can make a huge difference.

About Suhail Ahmad

Suhail Ahmad runs Ken Consultancy.

His professional background is IT and business.


Author's Bio: 

I am an English specialist with I CAN READ. I have worked for major British institutions: British Council, British High Commission, British Railways Board and Linguaphone. I am a London-trained lawyer and have been the public affairs officer at the British High Commission, Singapore, as well as an editor in an international book publishing house and a national magazine. I am also co-author of two law books: English Legal System and Company Law, published by Blackstone, Oxford University Press. I am an Ambassador of Peace (Universal Peace Federation and Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace). Connect: Email susanmckenzie2003@yahoo.co.uk http://sg.linkedin.com/in/susanmckenzie https://twitter.com/#!/abetoday http://www.facebook.com/pages/Teacher-Su-McKenzie-English-Expert-Total-L...