She shared her journey of entrepreneurship with Technology Times in a recent interview
Shumaila Adnan: I have started my professional career in the field of Chartered Accountancy by joining EandY in 1998. I have completed my matriculation from Mama Parsi High School and then went to Government College of Commerce and Economics to complete Bachelors in Commerce. I have an inspiration to become a Chartered Accountant since the beginning, however, when I completed my CA Foundation / Intermediate but couldn’t pursue career in it due to personal reasons. Although, starting an entrepreneurship was always in my mind.
How you instigated cyber entrepreneurship? Was that planned or accidental?
In 2013, I thought of doing something unique and special. It was in my mind since last 5 years that digital world is the future so lets do something in digital. One of my partner suggested to start this online shopping / deal website and we worked together on the feasibility which concluded that this is something really exciting and worth doing and so Lootlo was formed.
Where do you see lootlo.pk after 5 years?
After 5 years, I see lootlo.pk as the top e-commerce website of Pakistan with greater market share, bigger brands and better deals.
How you recognized the need of creating an online portal like lootlo.pk when already giant online stores were there in the cyber market?
Before the existence of lootlo.pk, there were many giant online stores existing but still there was a huge gap to be bridged in the market, which these websites were not filling. We recognized how important it was to bridge this gap and thus created lootlo.pk as an all rounder website offering unique features along with variety for the convenience and feasibility of the masses.
What was the turning point of your career that led you to take lootlo.pk to the level it attains today?
When I started this business, I had a conviction that sooner or later this business model is going to be a successful venture, however, there are few factors which can only let this happen and the most important was to take this venture professionally complying with all ethical standards and we believe that we have succeeded so far by the grace of Almighty Allah.
How lootlo.pk is distinct from other online shopping portals and how it has changed the trends of shopping in Pakistan?
There are a number of other online shopping portals now but what separates lootlo.pk from the rest is not just confined to one or two elements, rather there are various reasons that set us apart. First is our diversified portfolio, we have a massive collection of deals all belonging to different categories. Keeping in mind the needs of the people we offer a variety of products to provide them convenience. Secondly, we realize that a lot of people have no access to the products they wish to have therefore we offer the feature of free nationwide delivery. For us customer satisfaction is of utmost importance so for this we have a 3-day return policy in case the customer is not satisfied with our product because we believe in providing value to our customer. Lastly we have 8 different online modes of payment available for our customers providing them the feasibility to choose.
How did you manage to cope with the difficulties that hindered you in attaining your objectives, both professionally and psychologically?
In my opinion, to attain success professionally as well as psychologically is the key element everyone looks for in a business. You get sound sleep when you know you have accomplished professional goals and so feel good physiologically too. Nothing comes easy, at the initial stage we faced some hindrances in attaining our goals but we kept our faith in God strong and our determination intact. We realized employee dedication was important. So, we focused on employee empowerment, we gave the right authority and delegation to the lowest level , created a decentralized but rather a more flexible structure which was the essential need at that time , and this strategy turned out to be a good plan with seen results.We succeeded very well. That’s how we have reached to this point today.
Can a small online business be setup with small investment?
I vividly believe that one can set up a small online business with small investment but then it would be required by him to come out of his comfort zone to face challenges and take risks, to stay determined to strive and make his own way. With great risks come great rewards.
What factors do young entrepreneurs must take care of before setting up an online business? Is the current scenario encouraging for aspiring cyber entrepreneurs?
As much as setting up an online business may seem attractive there are some things that one needs to keep in consideration before investing and setting up an online business. To set up a successful online venture; the first important thing is to manage resources in the right manner. One should focus on its value proposition along with that the cash flow to ensure its survival. The current scenario for e-commerce
business is that it has numerous opportunities that one can tap because the industry is booming.
What future of cyber entrepreneurship do you see in developing countries like Pakistan?
People in developing nations, including Pakistan, are quickly catching up on their adoption of technology, especially mobile and social media use. Over the past decade, mobile phone ownership grew at an astoundingly fast rate in Pakistan.
With this increased usage the sales of tablets, cell phones and other gadgets, as well as broadband penetration also increased. Pakistan holds the most aspiring and quite high potential in e commerce which is growing at a massive pace. With such favorable consequences the future of cyber entrepreneurship seems to be very bright.
Can cyber entrepreneurship be principal source of income to maintain a healthy life style?
Cyber entrepreneurship is a new source of economic growth and development and its true that with innovation in technology many people have opted for cyber entrepreneurship as an auxiliary source of income as firstly it requires relatively less initial investment, secondly less labor. Cyber entrepreneurship as a career is essential not only to reduce unemployment rate but it can also provide additional source of income in line with an increasing cost of living. Many organizations today are MNCs, in my opinion if you have the right attitude to run the business, it can become the most recognized brand in the world. The biggest example is of Google.