ADNAN KAMDAR from Toronto writes about how he started a business while in university, transforming a simple idea into a successful business venture.
I picked accounting as a major in university. Thinking it was a pragmatic choice. But as time passed, I found my self zoning out in my accounting classes; it started to get worse, and I began skipping the classes completely. One day, towards the end of our second year at university of Toronto, a friend of mine and I were driving and I said to him, LETS START A BUSINESS! He n I studies together since high school he had worked a few sales job in the past, and he has always been at the top of his sales team, so I knew he would make a good partner into any kind of business.
My idea was to sell toner cartridges for printers, fax machine and photo copier I got the idea because my father had purchased a franchise foe selling a toner cartridges about 5 years before, n I had worked with him for the entire time that he was in business. But the franchisor bankrupted a few months after we had started, n we lost our entire investment. my father eventually went back to work n the dream dies. However, I still maintain the knowledge on where to procure the products n how to sell them.
There was an obstacle in our way though; we both had full school schedule to deal with. We were both unwilling to take the risk of dropping school completely, forgoing our degrees-that precious paper that we give all our younger years for. Finally we decided it was time to start our business venture. As a start we tried to make some time during the week to market our products through telemarketing.
My partner schedule was so bad that he could only come in on Fridays (he had classes n working another job) and I only had a few days a week to work my self. However to keep our business alive, I kept my focus n kept motivating him. We didn’t have a lot of support from anywhere else. Many of my family and friends thought that what we were doing was somewhat of a joke. It bothered me but I tried to not to pay too much attention to it because I had my goal in my mind. NO ONE WAS GOING TO GET IN THE WAY OF THAT.
We started marketing in October of 2004 but didn’t make a single sale until February 2005. we started without any capital; we just had a credit card which we were purchasing material on and we would collect cheques from customers upon delivery of the products (we didn’t have the ability to process credit card either). During April of 2005 when our school year had ended, we started to market on an everyday basis and our sales finally began to increase. They say that success is its own motivation. We now started to get orders every few days and that kept us going, marketing and trying to move forward.
Our angle in marketing was that we were a small company able to provide low prices (due to lack of over head) and excellent service (because we had so much time). In addition, people have a tendency to root for the small guy. Eventually that summer we landed a couple of medium size businesses, and got our first big break supplying a major fitness chain with 30 + locations. At that time we knew that business was going to be our top priority and school would fall in second. As time passed, we found better and lower cost suppliers. We also expanded our products and services, including paper, office supplies, furniture, IT products (computers. Printers, related products), and on-site tech support (using licensed technicians).
Now alhamdulillah we are a well established office and IT Products Company with a steady foundation of clients. It took a lot of patience, a lot of dua and prayers, but eventually if your work hard enough, you can get to where you want to be. All praise to Allah and Moula (tus) for his dua! Without that, you cannot get anywhere…
THE WRITER IS 24 YEARS OLD & LIVES IN TORONTO, CANADA.