A serial entrepreneur is a person who starts a new business, scales up the business, and give the responsibility to another person before moving on to a new idea and a new venture. Serial entrepreneurs are typically successful in growing their businesses, and often start a new business in a different industry.
Famous serial entrepreneurs who have made successful businesses in different industries include Elon Musk who founded PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla, and Richard Branson who founded Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Mobile.
If anything, serial entrepreneurs create success in their businesses. So we wanted to find out more about how they achieve such success.
We spoke with Faizan Ali about how to start a business, scale it, and also on new business opportunities during the pandemic.
Faizan Ali started work by starting his own business. His first business was in IT which he then sold off. His next venture was in a music studio before selling that off too. He then ventured into several other businesses, as co-owners in several restaurants in Malaysia. He also has an investment company that has invested in several businesses.
He has since left Malaysia, and was working in Uzbekistan as a public relations specialist and editor for UzReport, an Uzbek media company. Currently, he is a freelance football consultant trying to fulfill his childhood dream of being in the football industry.
We asked Faizan for his tips on how to start a small business before it can become successful.
“The most important thing I would say is the resources I have. When I say resources, I don’t mean money. I mean what do you have?”
“If I want to start, let’s say an IT business, what do I have in IT? Am I a programmer? Do I have people close to me who want to work in the IT business? Do I have any sort of connections in selling my business?
“So these are the resources that you should be looking for. If I open a music studio. Do I have the equipment, or do I have to buy the equipment? If I don’t, then I have to invest my money [in the business]. So if I buy the equipment, do I have enough capital to buy new equipment, or is it secondhand equipment?”
“Before you even venture into something, you need to see what you have first. “
“So you have to do a lot of research on yourself first. What do you bring in for this business? And then you see what is around you. And then you try and make the most ideal decision and then how to sustain the business.”
“Any business you start, you cannot expect to make money within one or two months. You can’t rely on generating enough income to have your own salary next month.”
“If you are a business owner, you can expect three to six months to actually take a portion of it as your salary. The rule of thumb is normally to wait one and a half years [before getting a full salary].”
Faizan had also spoken with a technical director of a football club. According to Faizan, the director said,
“Nowadays, sports will not remain the same as it was. We don’t know when fans will come in [to the stadium] and because of that, we have lost almost 75 percent of our revenue.”
“Because there are no fans who come in, there are no ticket sales. People are not going to pay EUR40 per month to pay for subscription packages. If there are no subscriptions how are clubs going to earn money? If fans don’t come in, they also lose sponsorships. If you lose sponsors, what are you going to do?”
“So while the sport itself will remain, financially it will take a big hit. It won’t remain as lucrative as before, and the players won’t be highly paid as before.”
“Now the manager will take a 50-75 percent pay cut. Governments will not be able to support the sports industry like how it was. So what can they do?”
“The next thing is just media and technology. “
“So if you can bring in something relevant to small clubs because big clubs have money. They [the big clubs] can still survive. But what about small clubs?”
“Small clubs can’t survive without technology. They can’t survive without money. because there are no fans. So the only way to bring in the money is to help them through technology, as they can’t afford in-house technology.”
“So people who are in IT., in digital marketing, they now have this opportunity to develop a platform technology that can support multiple clubs. Instead of clubs investing millions of dollars they can actually rent the technology for a few hundred dollars or euros.”
“So this is the kind of industry that people should be venturing into because there’s a lot of demand for it. Due to the pandemic, people are going on a contactless basis. “
“Right now, in any industry, you will find a market for digital marketing, as well as technology. You can incorporate technology in any business. Even in the food and beverage (F&B) industry because people still need to eat. “
“We should target industries based on their needs, not wants.”
“The sports industry [use of technology] was a want, but it became a need because the changes were so rapid.”
“But people can still survive without watching football or any other sports. But people can’t survive without food or clothing. “
“The world is becoming global. You need to find some skills, otherwise, you won’t be able to survive. I feel that everyone can benefit from learning new languages or just any skillset. “
“For business people, without having any skills, is becoming very difficult. Even if you graduate from business school, you need to have that one skill that you can say is your specialty, or you won’t survive. “
“So I would suggest people to learn some sort of skills.”
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.
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