- The story behind Gulvash Zohaib, food enthusiast and mompreneur based in Karachi, Pakistan, who transitioned from being a career woman to starting a business that she loves
- How she overcame challenges when managing her business and staying ahead of her competition
- How having a vision for her business helped her along the way
Once a full-time working woman, Gulvash Zohaib decided to leave her corporate job to pursue a venture that she’s passionate about, solves an underlying problem in her community, and fits her lifestyle. Today, Gulvash is the founder of Aaromatic, a homemade food delivery startup in Karachi City. Although just 6 months into her journey, she has some great ideas and stories to tell about what works for her in managing her food delivery business.
She also shares her fears and challenges on managing her own business, and how she overcomes these by anticipating issues and being ready with solutions if ever the former arises.
What are your motivations to start your own business?
“There are 3 things that motivated me. My passion for cooking, the huge scope for homemade food in Karachi especially for office-going people, and finally a career where I could look after my family especially kids so home-based work was the only solution for me.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a woman starting her own business?
“The biggest problem lies with the mindset of our society which thinks that a woman is and should be dependent on her father, brother or husband for financial needs and in return expect her to fulfil her duties towards family. Few people realise that women have dreams to follow, success to achieve, and a reputable name to earn. Business is generally attributed towards men, and women who think to initiate any business are discouraged by family and friends by saying “You can’t do it’ or ‘It’s such a useless business idea’, etc. The second challenge is finance and funding to start a business. Families usually don’t trust the business idea of women and have a perception that it would be a failure so they are reluctant to provide startup funds for women. I came up with the homemade food supply business idea which does not require any kind of investment or startup funds. So far, it’s going good.”
How do you handle the competition?
“There are hundreds of homemade food providers in Karachi alone. I use both social media and conventional marketing to create my brand awareness among my target market. My unique value proposition lies in my quality assurance and the fact that I have a team of helpers and chefs who are properly trained to assist in the kitchen.”
What is your greatest fear when it comes to managing your own business?
“The biggest fear while managing my own business is the quality of food. People are very unforgiving on social media and so an accidental string of hair or any other minor issue can be blown to a huge proportion on social media. People immediately stop buying from that service and it is almost impossible to rebuild trust once your flaws have been highlighted on social media.”
What are your plans for the future growth of your business?
“In short term planning, I intend to target the corporate sector of Karachi which is deprived of in-house quality food. I want to bring Aaromatic on their official panel as food provider. In long term, I plan to open Aaromatic’s outlet in Karachi where food is made at home but delivered to an outlet for dine in.”
5 Key takeaways from Gulvash’s experience
1. We can’t emphasize this enough: when thinking about starting your own business, consider what you love doing and how you can weave this into your current goals. As a food lover and mother, it makes sense for Gulvash to open Aaromatic within her home so she can take care of her family while managing the business. Plus points that Gulvash was also able to identify people’s need for fresh and hygienic daily meals, preferably homecooked to be delivered for lunch in their offices.
2. To quickly fill in the said need for alternative source of food delivery in Karachi, she started small and put up her business at home, which didn’t require a big capital and rental costs. At half a year old, Aaromatic is going strong which proves that Gulvash’s business competence is just as good, maybe even better than any man’s.
In starting your own business, challenge yourself against the challenges. Think of ways to quickly push your business to launch and operate with the least amount of resources.
3. The value that your business offers to customers is what will make them support your product or service. Evaluate what makes your business a cut above other competition and make a commitment to stay true to it. Social media coupled with traditional marketing, is a great way to get your business’ value across. Consider taking an online course in Social Media Marketing to learn best practices and make sure your efforts count.
4. Gulvash is a stickler to quality and you should be, too. Because you want to uphold your business’ value all the time, anticipate situations that might put you and your business in peril fast.
5. For everything you do, always have a vision. Knowing your future plans prevents you from being stagnant and takes your endeavor to the next level. Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to aim big, may it be managing your own restaurant, co-working space or corporate building.
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