“I have been able to conduct many presentations on various professional and social platforms and awed the audience. Doing this would have been impossible had it not been for the tireless capsules of mentoring and training I was lucky and blessed to be a part of during my academic education tenure under Rajita Ma’am.”
Q. What ignited the spark in you to start your own business ?
A. My new venture Indees IT Solutions came about after I started working at Naeem Foods Sweets Factory which was established by my father Mr K.N. Izzudeen in 1997. It was primarily a ‘trading & distribution’ company which focused on ‘direct selling’ of FMCG products to first wholesale and retail outlets and then later to renowned hypermarkets. All along this journey my father’s main focus was on ethics. His ideology of ethical business has stayed with me.
In 2011 we acquired a sweets factory that manufactured chocolates, toffees and candies. I joined it at the ground level and gradually made my way to the top. So with each promotion came a new job title and a new set of responsibilities and by the end of it I had worked at every position of the organisation.
This experience was most vital as it taught me how business is done in the real world, and how bookish-knowledge is not enough to make the correct decisions. Apart from this what I also realised was that “the sales team” made their outside-office decisions based on their personal instincts, which very often conflicted with the company’s principles. The impending need to fix this occurred, resulting in the hunt for an ERP that could find the absolute solution to prevent these instances from occurring. I approached a lot of firms and studied their ERP solutions but was not satisfied. They were either too complicated, or too expensive, or too difficult to customise. This ignited the idea of setting up a team of talented software developers who would develop the ultimate Enterprise Resource Planning Solution that would incorporate the various activities that typically take place in an organization and ensure that the imminent decisions made by the management are adhered to by every member of the team leaving no space for any alteration.
Indees IT Solutions Pvt. Ltd was incorporated in Kerala, India to produce the complete and final solutions to all management inaccuracies, that is also feasible and relevant to businesses of any size.
Q. What is the best advice you ever got? From whom?
A. “Only when you dare to swim against the tide you get triumph”. These words from my father have been the best piece of advice I have ever received. My father always believed in logically explaining his experiences and his insatiable ability to dream big and to never let go of hope and optimism has always inspired me.
Before I left home to pursue my management studies he told me one thing “A steel rod, once bent can never be a straight rod again”, which was his way of reminding me to stick on to all the good qualities he’d taught me. These words helped me to always make the right choices while I was away from home.
My sister who is a doctor and pursuing her MD at A.I.I.M.S. in Radiation Oncology, has always given me advice that has guided me. She has always told me that “Only the test of fire, makes the finest of steel”. These words have helped me remain motivated even during the toughest of times.
Q. "Great leaders are also great speakers” Do you agree? How did your personality development classes help you in your business ?
A. I am the living illustration and advocate for the said statement. There a number of software developers and entrepreneurs in the world. But not everyone is Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. I believe it is vital to be able to communicate the idea you have, else the idea becomes impotent.
I often tell our sales team, “If you aren’t able to convince the buyer to buy your product, then you have failed as a communicator.”
I have been able to conduct many presentations on various professional and social platforms and awed the audience. Doing this would have been impossible had it not been for the tireless capsules of mentoring and training I was lucky and blessed to be a part of during my academic education tenure under Rajita Ma’am.
Q. What are the key elements of starting and running a successful business ?
A. “Identify the need -> Create the Solution -> Identify those who have similar need-> Communicate!”
Identifying the need could be done through various forms of market research or by just observing keenly the problems we face in our daily lives.
Creating the solution must be absolute, wherein you must be sure to invite relevant critics to try your solution multiple times. Once they have validated your product you know it’s ready to be taken to the actual customers. This will also give you the confidence to go ahead and communicate with confidence the strengths of your product.
Identifying those who have the similar need or in other words, “the target group”. This is of prime importance. Grieving about your health problems to an engineer is just moronic.
Communicating the product benefits through various innovative marketing and sales activities as this is where your revenue kicks in. Once you are able to capture the attention of the target audience you know you are on the right path.
Always remember why you began in the first place and never lose focus, for the grass will always seem greener on the other side and that should not waiver you from your initial objectives Lastly It is said that “The best talent is often outside your business” – go and hunt them down and make them join you.
Q. Marketing is the most important aspect of a business. How do you market your business ?
A. First and foremost we ensure that all our efforts are directed toward our target market which is the ‘middle-class economic sweets buyer’. This is the target group that will never cease to exist globally. So at Naeem Foods Sweet Factory, we use ‘channel sales’ to reach the customers and create the maximum physical market presence. Our goal is to focus on volumes and not margins. Hence all marketing efforts are directed towards increasing volumes at minimum margins.
Today Naeem Sweets are available across the Middle-East in countries like UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, The Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Yemen and Jordan.
On the other hand at Indees IT Solutions our aim is to reach out to those companies and organisations that are into ‘secondary industry business’. Indees IT Solutions being a tech company can reach out to customers all across the globe with no geographical limits and hence marketing of our IT product ‘Pearls3D’ is different from that of Naeem Sweets.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to give to someone just starting out what would it be ?
A. Evaluate your plan, confront critics and once you are sure its a winning prospect, “DECIDE” to go ahead with it.
Once you have “DECIDED” to begin, there shouldn’t be a reason to stop. If ever there comes a point when you doubt yourself, ask yourself “IS THAT AN EXCUSE TO MAKE MY LIFE EASY?”.
Starting something new is never easy and easy money is non-existent in the long run. Comfort and growth can’t coexist. You always sacrifice something to gain something. Be prepared and don’t stop to admire the apparently greener grass on the other side.
Q. What motivates you ?
A. Entrepreneurship is always about developing or enhancing the idea that you believe in. The financial gains just happen to follow. Today, a majority of the startups are more bothered about how much they can earn even before starting the venture and that is killing the growth and development of new ideas.
If you are only thinking about how much money you can make then you will land up making only that much money. While if you believe in a good idea and fight for that idea and sell it to potential consumers then endless revenues will follow automatically, because the idea was so strong and powerful. This is the real beauty of being an entrepreneur and this is what motivates me. The thought of creating something new, something great, something worthwhile which will improve people’s lives and which the world will later applaud is what keeps me excited- not the money that the new idea or venture brings.
Q. What makes you happy ?
A. Assuring that my family is happy, especially my parents, gives me the utmost happiness. We want our elders to be loving, teaching and caring for us unconditionally, and later, we start thinking that we are superior to them, thats preposterous. Instead we should in turn keep loving them and making them happy unconditionally.
In terms of business, it’s like we’ve worked for decades to build a successful company, only to find that the profits from the company aren’t ours.
The biggest reward is when we can make our parents and our family proud.
Q. What sacrifices have you had to make to become a successful entrepreneur ?
A. All your priorities change and are re-set.
Being an entrepreneur requires 100% focus on pushing your new business idea, and its that one idea which becomes the centre of your existence. Family, friends ,loved ones all take a back seat.
Today every decision I take is based on just one thing- how will it impact my business. So I land up spending more time with my business associates and colleagues than with my school or college friends. Work commitments have kept me away from attending family weddings, parties, and events. I hardly socialise as work takes up all my time. So these are the sacrifices but then the rewards are immense!
Q. What is the secret to your daily productivity ?
A. I plan out my day in advance and work on a tight schedule. I also have a self-assessment plan which helps me to keep growing continuously. The need of the hour is to keep learning and keep moving forward. So even though my days are very hectic I have managed to factor is time to help me learn new things. As a result I was able to learn new soft skills like Adobe Photoshop and HTML web designing. This helped me work on the branding of three organisations, and also create two websites for my clients.
In today’s world there is abundance of information and knowledge. Thanks to the internet there is nothing you cannot learn today if you have the will.
If you remember to use your 24 hours daily to the maximum in doing things you like then you are bound to increase your productivity daily.
Q. Which other company apart from yours do you admire the most ?
A. I really admire ‘Mars Incorporated’ and how they have promoted their products globally, and some day I hope to do the same with Naeem Foods Sweet Factory.
When it comes to IT then the company I look up to is ‘Feasible Global’ which is an alternative to SAP and one day PearlD3 will join that league too.
Q. Your favourite quote ?
A. "Your greatest test is when you are to bless someone else while you are going through your own storms." - Rafael Garcia
Q. What’s the best personality trait defining a successful entrepreneur ?
A. Dependability is the most important trait. Being able to trust the people you are doing business with and making them trust you is the most vital quality.