Interview (By Hania Javed)
Islamabad, March 27 (INP): Two sisters Farah and Phyza set a shinning example of self-made life, successfully running joint business in the Federal Capital.
In today’s world, entrepreneurs are frequently thought of as national assets to be cultivated, motivated and remunerated to the greatest possible extent. With their innovative ideas, they are not only creating wealth but successfully creating jobs and conditions for a prosperous society around the globe.
To learn entrepreneurship in real life, I had the opportunity to come across an entrepreneur who was considerate enough to answer our queries and share her first hand experiences.
Farah lives in Islamabad and has been running a home based bakery named “Trick or Treat” successfully since 2 years, along with her sister Phyza.
I began the interview with young Farrah, asking about her entrepreneurial story to which she replied: “I never thought of becoming an entrepreneur or starting a business of my own until one day my sister and I thought of using our creative capabilities and dreamt of establishing our name in the market.
We were fortunate enough to gain the support of our family and friends, which went on to be our greatest motivation. So, it all started with uncertainty but lots of excitement.” Additionally, Farah told us that being a student and having no means for earning, so she had to start off her business with the little pocket money and saving she had. After buying some basic ingredients and utensils she started off with her passion.
The initial strategy she had in mind was to promote her business, for which she took assistance from friends in spreading the word and used social media to introduce her concept. She created a page on social websites offering baked items and shared it as much as possible.
Considering the variety of eatery businesses nowadays, it’s challenging to create brand image in the market. On questioning her about what makes her bakery different than others to which she added: “Well, I won’t exaggerate by saying that we are the only best chefs in the world (*laughs*).
Nowadays competition is so tough that it takes a lot of time to penetrate in the market and to change the mindset of the people. But this is the most interesting part I guess, to do that much hard work that people willingly to change their minds and chose you out of other options.
You don’t have to define yourself; instead your work should be enough to give u definition.I think nowadays there are plenty of food places which are unhygienic and in the time of getting everything unhealthy we are providing 100% home-cooked and hygienic food with quick service. We are also offering customers to visit our kitchens.
”Farah termed her basic business strategies as cleanliness, fresh hygienic food, scrumptious flavors and quick service.
“How do you motivate yourself in giving better service?” She replied: “Right now it’s just me and my sister so we are I guess enough to lift each other up. Our same interest of cooking is the biggest motivation for us. We just love cooking!!!!”
As I moved ahead with the interview, Farah showed me images of various orders of cakes, donuts, lasagna and pizza which she had successfully delivered over the years. Every cake had a unique and themed concept and depicted her creativity and efforts. Scrolling down the pictures, I noticed a variety of flavor offerings including an option for customized cakes to meet different customer requirement.
The rate list was also reasonable (ranging from PKR 600-1500) considering the effort she has to put in.
I further inquired “What has been your most successful form of marketing?” “Social media, the best and easiest way of getting to people. We also have made brochures but I think impact of social media is way stronger than any other marketing strategy. “: Farah replied.
I visited her Facebook page and was impressed with the feedback she had from her highly satisfied customers. She had been rated 4.8/5 which I believe is great in a span of 2 years.
In the customer reviews section, her work has been highly appreciated and people were satisfied in receiving exactly what they had asked.
As the business is a relatively starter and Farah has less work force, but she plans to expand it in terms of helpers. She believes in providing workers with best possible assistance in order to produce best output.
Upon asking her about managerial style that she plans to use in future, she answered confidently: “Being a manager I would first of all like to make my employees feel like a family. I won’t tell them that they are working under a boss but I would tell them that WE are a team. And we all will work side by side to flourish our business.
My profit is their profit my loss is their loss. Will work together, will achieve together.”
Furthermore, Farah told me about the secure packaging and delivery of the food items to the customers’ home.
“We are delivering our orders through Falcon and Bykea service. There charges on average are PKR150 for Rawalpindi and around PKR200 for Islamabad.” In this way the customer may order and receive too from its own house.
Usually, small level businesses like “Trick or Treat” don’t seem to affect the national economy in particular, but in a longer run and according to shifting economic practices and traditions, it has been seen that such small businesses make a huge contribution to national prosperity and creating job pools.
Although love for small business may seem like aneternal feature of entrepreneurship, the widespread belief that small entrepreneurs hold the keys to economic revival is comparatively recent. Small business owners are frequently described as righteous, self reliant and independent. Such business ventures often offer more profit in relatively less amount of risk and investment.
Every entrepreneur has to go through failure to learn lesson and detect service deficiencies, Farah too shared an interesting experience “Failure (*giggles*) thank God the failure didn’t happen to a customer but to my own brother. He ordered a cake or red frosting and we couldn’t make it red because we were using colors for the first time and we ended up with a complete white cake. He didn’t say anything of course but on that day we practiced each and everything before making any commitment.”
Apart from individual business planning, I believe an entrepreneur can think and initiate ways in contributing to its community and society. Upon sharing this view with Farah she added: “I have a lot of plans and that major part of plan is to do social work. I have a dream of opening a world best and most comfortable old house. And to educate children of the society who are busy in begging on the roads and ruining their and this country’s future.”
Innovation in any business is very important in order to differentiate it from substitutes. “Trick or treat” plans to extend its business by offering catering services especially in educational institutions and conferences. Additionally, it plans on introducing event management with much more facilities and theme decorations at customers’ desired venue. This plan can add value to their service and can attract more people to choose them.
Moving towards the end of the interview I asked Farah one typical question every entrepreneur is expected to answer; “Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? What goals are you looking forward to achieve?”
“My goals are endless. I have to do a lot of things in my life, I have to achieve alot for myself and for the people I love. I want to become an example for my kids.
A self- made person to whom they look up to. But 10years from now I see myself as an owner of a well renowned international food chain”, she boldly replied.
Lastly, we asked Farah for an advice for beginners and wanna-be entrepreneurs to which she said: “For starters I would like to say don’t think too much about doing anything good. If it makes u feel good then just do it. When you start following your heart you will get through any situation. This country needs you if you can’t do anything good for yourself or for the society then at least don’t make it worse. Students are the future so let’s make the future bright.J”
With these last words, our interview came to an end. Through this unique real life opportunity, I have learned more than I had perceived. I am thankful to Farah for rendering me her time and guiding through her entrepreneurial experiences. I also wish her success for future ventures.