As part of the Build Your Business programme, enterprise coach Imran Hussain is developing a series of case studies highlighting the entrepreneurial journeys of a number of startup founders and how the programme is helping them along those journeys. The first of these case studies is Raja Ali, of Sawat Marketing. Imran caught up with him for a brief interview last week.
Tell us your story Raja, what’s a day in the life of your work at Sawat Marketing
Raja starts his day at 7:30 am with a school run and is at his desk by 8:30 starting his working day by responding to emails and also sending out “call emails” to audit local businesses’ websites, pin-pointing improvements they could make. He then arranges calls for the customers that respond. On a typical day Raja has meetings in the office and over the phone offering services to customers who want a stronger digital presence. In between these meetings Raja is working on his current project list and early afternoons he spends approaching local businesses door to door to offer his services. He does this again after leaving the office for the day too, picking up on work activities again, at home, from the late evening.
R.A leaves the office around 6 pm, again he visits local businesses mainly restaurants and take aways to offer his services. This has had positive results. Sawat marketing are working with five restaurants based in Bradford, Leeds & Wakefield. After dinner and family time R.A. starts working on projects from 9pm to around midnight /1 am.
Your journey as an entrepreneur – the biggest opportunities and challenges; advice could you share with others starting out
Raja is 26 and moved to the UK from Multan, Pakistan seven years ago. He studied computer science at the University of Bradford and has previously worked at Amazon and Bradford Council as a Solution Architect. In starting up Sawat Marketing, Raja decided to pursue his passion in digital marketing and web design.
Raja’s biggest challenges are keeping pace with demand – hence why he has taken on contractors. Raja believes his office on Great Horton Road provides great visibility and though he delayed the launch of his business by 18 months, his advice would be to not overthink things, but to put dreams in to action. Build Your Business can help with that startup phase!
How has Build Your Business helped develop your thinking and practice.
Build Your Business has helped with structure and managing work in a systematic way, mainly with tracking finance and business planning. Additionally, the programme has supported Raja with networking and finding customers – he wishes he knew the information provided by business coaches beforehand as it would have made it easier to business plan and manage finances in a systematic way.
What are your hopes and how you see your business developing – expanding the team, new lines of business
Raja’s goal is to contribute to more organisations and businesses in Bradford and supporting them to have an online presence. As such, Raja’s been developing his skills in developing mobile applications, anticipating more customers will request this.
Your entrepreneurial influences – whom do you look up to and admire?
Raja is a big follower of Elon Musk but in general finds inspiration in general quotes and speakers he finds on YouTube.