by Asma Al Fahim
  • 2 minute read
  • July 19, 2019
8 Pro-Tips From Asma On How To Become A Successful Businesswoman

I was just 17 when I started my first business. It was a women’s salon and the idea bore out of my love of beautiful places and the lack of good ones for hair and nails in the UAE at the time. I rented out a space and didn’t know where to start from, so just winged it.

First, I bought the equipment I needed for the space, and then I placed an advertisement seeking beauticians. Back then, the internet wasn’t as readily available and only the weekly magazines had a classifieds section, where you could advertise at a certain fee. The salon didn’t have a name until then and there was no paperwork in place, so it took me a while to sort that out. I was managing this while pursuing my education, so it was no easy feat and, not to mention, extremely stressful.

Guess what? It was a complete failure. I had no entrepreneurial experience back then and simply went by what I had heard my father and other men discuss about business management. I managed the place for two years and then was able to sell it to a beautician at cost price. After this, I thought to myself that I’d never be able to become an entrepreneur like my father. I gave up on the idea and continued with my education.

Two years later, an opportunity knocked at my door. My friend gave me a ring from another country and asked me to send some fruits for her. It sounded strange to me, considering that I was asked to send fruits as common as bananas, apples and oranges. I honestly thought she was joking.

I went to the nearest supermarket and asked for a dozen of each and sought help on how to ship them to another country. The boxes were delivered and exactly 10 days later, I got a call from my friend, saying the people in her village loved the fruits, and she’s planning on selling them with her father.

This marked the beginning of my importing business – my friend and her father now own the biggest supermarket chain in her country, and my company still supplies products to them and to many others. I could’ve never imagined that what I did as a small favour to my friend would culminate into a full-fledged, successful business. Today, I’m running a diverse range of businesses, including real estate, retail, education, publishing, and food and beverage.

Moral of the story? For those of you contemplating starting a business or struggling with an existing one, I’ve put together a few lessons I’ve learnt from my own journey as an entrepreneur:

  1. Never give up
  2. Always keep the door of opportunity open
  3. Research, read, watch documentaries, and get inspired by everything around you
  4. Find a niche market
  5. Don’t wait till your business is perfect but make sure your core services are in place
  6. PR is key – know who to reach out to
  7. Don’t be shy or afraid to ask your family and friends for help. Those who love you will support you all the way
  8. Explore different options
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