Real life stories are the best coach. Inspired with this thought, I requested my friend Abid Beli, owner of Sadia’s Kitchen, a small business run by husband and wife to allow me sharing story about his entrepreneurial experience. I am grateful to him for providing me information that some might consider confidential.
Sadia’s Kitchen is a popular brand for home made food. Abid and his wife Sadia started this business in 2009 with 10 customers. The business has grown to over 550 clients in two years.
To me Abid is spiritually an entrepreneur. He says that “I have been taking risks, and this is my key to success”.
Throughout his entrepreneurial journey, Abid kept tackling stiff challenges. He was amongst the first few South Asians who started an online business in 2001 by launching an online website beliscity.com. The website focused at information related to information technology. In 2003 orkut came into being where he made a group by the same name and initiated various business related activities. Business leaped in 2005 with the launch of Facebook. Belicity was now a renowned name. Abid is selling hot stuff at hot prices and making money. The business took a sharp turn when Abid lost every penny he earned over the last eight years in a business deal.
Again his faith on his entrepreneurial spiritually played its part and in 2009, he and Sadia came with this unique concept of providing home cooked lunches to offices and household customers. This is a 100% online business.
Menu is preset. One lunch contains two vegi and one meat item and his delivered in hotpots, and enough to feed two people. Sadia’s Kitchen Facebook page now has over 2,900 fans. Lunch can be ordered via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by making a call. Cost only $2.56 (Pak-rupees 220/-). A business that was started with a total investment of $ 140 only!
Considering the size of the market in Karachi, you would think that the growth has been slow. But remember, there is stiff competition with low quality street restaurants that provide sub-standard unhealthy food at a much cheaper price.
Sadia’s Kitchen is an excellent model with hardly any promotional cost and minimal overheads.
Abid says “I take online business seriously. Facebook, twitter and my blog are my marketing tools. I never market or advertise myself or my business on any other form of media. And I never will, reason is simple this is digital age and my USP is my active online presence”.
I asked Abid, how do people find you? He said, “simple – google me, or search tweets #homemade #freshfood #dailyluch #spices and you will find me”
There are four key lessons from this successful small business:
1. Entrepreneurs have courage to take risks at a very difficult situations. Perhaps most people fail to start their entrepreneurial journey because of their fear “FAILURE”.
2. For an entrepreneur, there is no failure; they only know the word “Learning”.
3. Small businesses can compete only on quality of product or service and by keeping their overheads at the minimal level.
4. Online presence is an essential element for small businesses.
Isn’t that inspiring?