How I Came To Setting Up Seed (Buzra) & My 10 Years In Business
I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Home Tutors in Nov 2013 when I turn 35. Here are some highlights of the past 10 years that I'd like to share:
Like a 'Feather in the Wind'
Business was never on my mind. But after having left teaching, due to a long, sad story, I took on the challenge of proving to my friend that anyone should be able to start a business with a budget as small as £500 if they’re very determined! So, in 2003, I laid the foundation for Home Tutors UK.
With just £200, I had a leaflet designed and printed, and then distributed locally door-to-door. Within just a few years Allah swt helped me make Home Tutors UK the leading tutorial hub with 11,000+ tutors at it's heights.
'In Search of Knowledge'
I wasn't ready to launch myself into the world of business, even though people get excited when I tell them that I had received numerous phone calls from journalists, including from the BBC, asking for an expert opinion regarding the tutoring industry.
You see, I was afraid of losing my ethical values and identity as a Muslim, and hence never gave serious consideration to entrepreneurship. Whenever people used to ask me what I do, I would just say, 'I run a website'!
Those who knew me, especially those who knew of my strong determination, wanted to partner with me. Due to this I have been and continue to receive offers from investors.
But, I used to refuse them all because I wasn't ready to undertake the responsibilities involved in being an entrepreneur.
Besides, I could’ve just been a ‘one trick pony’ who didn’t really know much about the world of business, especially the difference between 'Gross Profit' and 'Net Profit'!
'Helping out friends'
I started at least three business ventures, purely because someone needed my help. One of my friends was jobless and he was feeling down, so we created an interior decorating company together.
Another friend wanted my involvement in a shoe wholesale business, so I helped him out for a day. However, in these 10 hours, we made the business plan, agreed on a one-day business partnership, secured the wholesale deal, tested the market in three areas of London with our samples, made a sale and some profit, and then terminated the contract by concluding that we should not go into this market as it had been saturated by Chinese wholesalers! My friend was left stunned and couldn’t believe that we’d achieved that, all in one day, and even made a profit!!
Then there was this neighbour, who was very gifted in IT, but jobless, so I offered him employment by renting out an office where he and I could work on new projects.
I can only thank Allah, because all these three businesses bore fruits, some of course more than others, but I didn't even feel I was doing business!
'Planting some seeds'
When I hired an office, I decided to come up with a way to pay the office rent; hence, the idea of a virtual office came to my mind. The idea was to charge start-ups to use my address for their business. So, I worked on this idea and several others just to make sure there would be enough work for us.
It was in August 2009 when I planted my first bunch of ‘seeds’. At one point, we launched one new idea every week! You might think this immature, but one of these ideas blossomed and started generating income I could never have dreamed of earning had I remained a school teacher!
This opened the door to other investment opportunities. However, it took 12 whole months of procrastination before I decided that I was ready to become a seed investor.
Then in January 2013 I began putting together Seed (Buzra) Investments through which I'd like to continue to help others in launching halal business ventures. Who knows, maybe Allah (swt) has much more in store for me and for you!