Fida Hussain is an avid enthusiast and a rising cyber entrepreneur. He is an advocate by profession but also entails rich experience of cyber marketing who decided to start his own venture with the name ‘Bizcity Casters’ in 2008 that is the lead email marketing co of the country. Fida was the man behind the success of the venture and under his dynamic leadership the Bizcity went on to be a big database of over 500,000 corporate data. Fida shared his thoughts with Technology Times in a recent interview
Brief us about yourself, professional highlights and your interests?
Since my early days I had set my direction right to become a businessman. The rise of internet opened up avenues for many young people for smart earnings. The idea of email marketing rushed into my mind and I started working on the databases and eventually ended up creating Bizcity in year 2008. Over the years the listing of corporate database has increased remarkably and company has taken significant hike since then.
What is your inspiration, how did you get idea to establish yourself as cyber entrepreneur?
The internet has evolved the dynamics of the conventional marketing and is a convenient platform to promote your product. This idea led me to surface the beginning of Bizcity and which worked very well and we have many corporate and home based clients. The online business has much potential and does not even require hefty amount to start with. Just a good idea and a brain with management and analytic skills can take your average idea to greater heights.
What skill set a cyber entrepreneur must exhibit?
There is not much rocket science involved in the cyber business. The mainstream business having offline presence and the cyber business both require almost same amount of energy, skills, and time. In specific there is nothing particular about the skillset but in fact the idea and vigor to move forward are actually the main inspirations which push you to break the barriers and establish your online business to somewhat noteworthy.
We see many of e-commerce sites claim big but when it comes to quality only few meet the commitments. Do you think the scenario is hurting the web space of Pakistan and it is difficult to filter out serious contenders?
Well, actually we are not traders in fact we provide email marketing solutions. So, in our case we have direct relationship with our clients. But in case of e-retailers yes, you are right that there are certain greyish elements that tend to create noise in the cyber market but obviously they are unable to survive for longer time because it is the trust of customer that leads your business to grow and once it is shaken, it’s very hard to regain it.
How much weightage do you give to consumer behavior in cyber venture?
The internet users have increased rapidly over the years due to smartphones and 3G/4G broadband connections. People feel comfort using online mediums for selling and buying the products. So, frequency of advertisements also matter and the optimization is the key element in terms of online marketing. We ensure the upgradation of the emails database so that we send marketing emails to only active emails. The consumer behavior is certainly important and is also important not to inflict boredom to consumers so the marketing campaign must be engaging and consumers must be inclusive of it. The email marketing however, is a useful technique and every person now a days must checks his/her inbox more often than before, so it is working well for us and the boost of internet has also had a great impact on our business as well.
What are your main goals and how your online work is serving towards community at large?
The communities and especially corporate sector is being benefitted by our services. The consumers get information about their required products right in their inbox and similarly the information of products is disseminated to required target audience of the retailers. So, this indeed is a great convenience and the variable of Bizcity has worked very well in this regard in terms of community serving. The amount of psychological fatigue of marketing is divided by us and the corporate sector clients can focus on their operations more than the marketing.
What makes ‘Bizcity’ distinct from other email marketing companies?
As I said earlier, we make sure our email listings are upgraded unlike others that makes us more effective in terms of dropping the product info in right email id. The aspect is our cost effectivity; we offer services at much cheaper rate than other email marketing companies. So, reliability and cost effectivity are two of the traits that distinguish us from other competitors.
What are the variables that govern the dynamics of successful cyber business, in your experience?
It is not a hidden secret from the vault, it is simple as quality stands above all and if you could establish your standing in the cyber market through quality services you will become the first choice of the customer. Therefore, I vividly believe that no compromise on quality is the main variable that determines the success of your online or any other business.
What is checklist for young cyber entrepreneurs before practically stepping into online business? What is the necessary homework to be done?
First of all they should set their direction right, and focus on a particular product or service they want to offer to their customers. Secondly, a viable plan of action is mandatory to materialize the dream of becoming a successful cyber business owner. The success is gauged by the targets set by you initially, frequent self-assessment must be done so to strategize accordingly and hit the relevant quarters in most effective manner. The target market must be tapped in a smart manner and all the necessary homework about the competitors must be in knowledge of you so to devise your strategy accordingly. The rest depends on your operational facility and tendency to sneak through the rough patches as entrepreneurship is not an easy journey, it takes much of hard work to become what you plan for.
Is technology knowledge mandatory for cyber entrepreneur or any other professional and layman can make mark in it?
It is the age of technology and without the basic knowledge of technology you can start a business but cannot propel it to greater heights. Therefore, interpolation of technology is mandatory and one has to learn basic tools so to effectively grip the business and maneuver it according to your will.
What is the role of academia in cyber business?
The academia gives you bookish knowledge and does not train individuals for practical business. Especially when it comes to cyber business, there are hardly any courses or training sessions in most of the universities or colleges. So, when it will reach to that level, obviously very good human resource and skilled competitive ecosystem of cyber business will be cultivated in Pakistan and government should take steps to promote the online industry.
What future do you see of online businesses in Pakistan?
The rising trend of online business with bulk of people coming into it every day make it highly promising industry and especially in this era when gadgets are in everyone`s pocket and one can surf through internet anywhere, it has certainly become very popular place to do business without having a physical office. So, that is appealing for youngsters as well and more and more people are jumping onto the bandwagon of cyber entrepreneurship which is really a great sign and I am very optimistic about the future of online industry.
What measures must be taken to promote cyber entrepreneurship culture in Pakistan and where we are lacking?
The guidance is where we are lacking. People have tones of ideas around, but they lack guidance to commercialize their idea and translate it into a startup. So mentoring from old cyber entrepreneurs can help a great deal to youngsters to learn the tricks of the trade and hone their skills to become best of the best.
What is the formulation of financial assets that one must have before setting up an online startup?
It is not necessary to be a millionaire to start a business. This is the main misconception in our society that needs to be corrected. The beauty of online business is that you can pilot run your project and it does not take much of amount in fact registering a domain and webhosting will be the only expenses whether it is blogging, e-commerce or any online service you provide. The visibility or marketing of your product is more important than the financial constraints. One can devise such a business model in which the cycle of finance keeps running.
What is the role of innovation in success of an online business?
The innovation boosts chances of your business success, it is kind of gamble and you need to understand how consumers will react to that innovation. So, proper survey or homework on consumer behavior must be done prior to launching an innovative product or service to fancy the success chances.
How mentoring of young entrepreneurs could be done?
The seminars and conferences could be arranged in academia or by corporate sector in order to nurture the young entrepreneurs. The success stories must be told to inspire the youth towards cyber entrepreneurship so to make them self-dependent rather than a job seeker.
What are your comments about Technology Times and Tech TV?
Technology Times is doing a splendid job by disseminating technological information to masses and pulling them towards S&T. It provides impetus to youth and acts as a catalyst to invigorate their interest in technology. I really appreciate your endeavors and wish you best of luck and your team.