I am the daughter of expatriate parents who have created a home and world of their own in the UAE. Here, I saw the relevance of success by implementing innovation in products and service and putting passion and hard work before all else. I learned resilience, perseverance and empathy from my parents.Shafeena Yusuff Ali
Dubai - Being a woman never made me hesitate from working towards my dream
I learned that your team becomes your family and your family is what leads to your success. Making difficult choices and tough decision were also lessons to be learnt when opening my business. Trusting my gut and team were learnt the hard way. Being a woman never made me hesitate from working towards my dream and I see no reason why anyone else should hesitate as well. This is my five cents to get started from dreaming to making your own dream a business reality.
This is the first and most important step of the process. The dream should not be financial gain. If it is, then you need to find a new one. The dream has to be a new idea. A product or service or a different approach to something that already exists in the market that you truly believe you can do better than all or any competitor. The more bizarre or fanciful your dream, the more passionate you will be about it and the more you will have to work with.
Dream big and be ambitious. Be as creative as you can. Power through any obstacles that come your way. Let no one stop you from dreaming, not society, not your colleagues and absolutely not the world. Believe in the dream. Take a deep breath and get started.
Learn, research and study
This is where your logical brain comes in. Before every major decision that we make, we do extensive amounts of research. Learn more about what is out there, what is it that is available around the world that you could bring new to your own community. What is it that you could offer that is new, innovative, beneficial and valuable.
Create a vision and a mission for your idea. Analyse your competition and create a point of difference for your offering. Research your target market. This could be in your own community, city, country or even a particular segment around the world. This step in your process is what will form the foundation of your business and it has to be as strong and well researched as possible. This process should make you an expert in your field.
Define the process and method
Find the process to create your product or service, do the gap analysis. Argue, debate, brainstorm and sample test your offering. Ask the question 'Who or what do you need to implement your business'. Do you need bakers, manufacturers or accountants? Look for people who share your passion and have them on your team. Exhaust hours on the Internet or on the phone talking to suppliers, producers, market experts and learning and refining your process as much as you can. Remember that this could be your edge, giving you a firm foothold in the market.
Financing your business
This is the step in the process where you dig in your heels and stay firm on your ideals and dreams. Funding is a long and strenuous process. But it is also the one that will challenge your dream head on. It will start to question not just the processes and the people in your business, but yourself, your principles and your idea itself.
My tip is to believe in yourself and your 'big idea'. If your research is valid and up-to-date, you should have an answer to every question an investor may ask you. The source of your funding may be your family, a bank, venture capitalists or even crowd funding. Whatever the source may be, what you have to remember is that there is no such thing as 'a free lunch'. Create multiple financial models before reaching a decision. As an entrepreneur, strict fiscal discipline will help you achieve more with less.
With all the dots connected, the only thing left to do is to start. Even with almost all plans set, expect some surprises on the way. Prepare for them as best as you can. The right people in your corner will help keep you on the right course when these happen.
As women, we play multiple roles of mothers, daughters, sisters and more. The juggle between these roles are real and difficult. On some days, expect to drop a few of them. My advice would be to accept, forgive oneself, pick them up and start again.
Continue to learn and innovate. As my husband keeps reminding me, if you are not willing to disrupt your own business to reinvent, then the market will eventually disrupt and discard you. Challenging status quo is key. Learn to accept the failures just as much as you love your achievements, both teach you valuable lessons.
We as women have the ability to nurture and mentor intelligent individuals, looking beyond the shallow perceptions of gender. We are able to create work environments that are empathetic to strong and powerful women who need not put work over family or vice versa. We have the strength to look beyond the short and the long-term goals and to see real people who work with us. It is time that we embrace our superpower.
The writer is the CEO of Tablez Food Company. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.