Inspired by his father, Sabur Khan always thinks about ways he can give back to society. He is now chairman of the Daffodil Family and invests in ICT and education businesses.
What’s your story?
I was born into a Muslim family in the Chandpur district of Bangladesh. I graduated and then went on to do a post graduate from Jahangir Nagar University. Then I opted to assist my father in business. I was inspired by his desire to give back to society. Keeping this value in mind, I started my own venture in 1990 involving two sectors – ICT and education. From the get-go, my intention was to contribute to society through business and empower people. So, I set up 35 organizations and I am now holding the position of chairman of the Daffodil Family.
What is your involvement with Investment?
· Help in solving strategic/management issues
· Help by providing time management
· Strategic management
· Monitoring role
· Resource acquisition
· Help in finding more funds
· Help in finding more scope/market/promotion
· Help with hiring key employees
· Help with finding suppliers or customers
How did that come about?
From our organisation, we try to give all kinds of support to startups. Mostly we are recognised for our mentorship and that means a lot to our team. We maintain a kind of relationship with them. We help them in a lot of ways, from decision making to HR selection and promotion. We are not rigid, however the investment usually comes in the following mode:
· Capital gain
· Profit sharing
· Sale of equity to another investor
· Secondary purchase stock market floatation liquidation
· Involuntary exit
What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
While investing, you should consider the following things:
· Evaluate your preferred zone when taking a risk
· Formulate a well-balanced business plan
· Use advanced technology
· Assess all stakes, related to the venture
· Good forecasting as well as a safe exit strategy
· Business networking is a really valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new clients and tell others about your business.
What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
I have observed that new and less experienced investors, sometimes make the following mistakes:
· Insufficient research about the market
· Not following a time frame and strategy to balance the risk and return
· Not setting attainable goals
· Taking risks quickly, without gaining proper knowledge
· Limited knowledge on entrepreneurial initiative
· Investing without a plan
· Putting the customer last
· No focus on networking
· No mentoring
· Derivative idea and slow launch
· Following or copycat culture
-Focus excessively on expenses or taxes
What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Bangladesh is a country with huge potential and the people here are born with an entrepreneurial mindset. Most of entrepreneurs are hardworking, trustworthy, have leadership skills but are not that well educated, and have little financial literacy. The majority of people starting out, do not get mentors or family support to start business. Therefore we find common mistakes among them.
In general, Entrepreneurs suffer from the following mistakes
· Lack of clarity in vision
· Lack of academic knowledge on compliance of business
· Not interested in conducting market research
· Tendency of avoiding confrontation (in a positive sense)
· Ignoring statistical data
· Confusing attitude
· Fear of failure
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Firstly, I would say, my parents have had a big influence on my life and I was deeply touched by a question thrown to me by them;
“After you die, what will you be remembered for?”
With this in mind, I always practice ethics in my business.
Secondly, I always get my mentors to promote this nation/country through our work. When I started my business, ICT was not at all known or popular here. But I strongly believe that someday ICT will be the power for the nation. Gradually my dream will come true. I introduced the first local brand PC in the country, competing with many global brands and our young generation are contributing greatly to the national economy through using ICT power.
What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
Youth have the power of communication, technology, knowledge and the capacity to reach any level. With proper guidance they can easily bring about changes and contribute to the global economy.
· Set the vision first and be stick to it
· Collect real data and make your own sales pitch
· Positive introductions (vision, mission, stability) are essential
· Demonstrate capabilities to investors and the ability to implement innovations and have an exit strategy in place
· Increase negotiating skills
· Start building your network. Investors find entrepreneurs through networks
· Crowdfund your idea
· Angel networks
· Professional social networking sites and private equity firms
Who inspires you?
My first inspiration was my father. I liked the way he thought about the society and did business. Secondly I try to learn from everyone. I never leave any opportunity to learn from anyone, anywhere. I love to read and hear from others; sometimes I follow my students, little kids as well. Every good thing inspires me; every success story helps to take another initiative to create another success.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
For my business, I travel a lot and I have found we all have lot of scope to learn from others. I like to hear from my students and their ideas to change the nation. I am interested how other nations are developing their education systems. I just visited China and I had scope to visit many of their Universities. I saw how they are maintaining quality and developing the competency of their students. I was amazed. I hope to start the same here in Bangladesh. I want to set the example which will be followed by others.
What business book do you recommend the most?
1. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
2. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
3. “A Journey Towards Entrepreneurship” by Md. Sabur Khan
4. “Handbook of Entrepreneurship” by Md. Sabur Khan
5. “The Power of Broke” by Daymond John
6. “Poke the Box: When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?” by Seth Godin
7. “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
8. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg
9. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck
Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
Daffodil Family mainly concentrates on ICT and education. Recently Daffodil has started supporting some other ventures. We have a strong commitment to help develop entrepreneurs and support students’ initiatives. For example: Startup restaurant, prominent-online news portal, oval furniture.. These types of businesses are developed to support the students and to support the overall operation of the Daffodil Family.
How can people connect with you?
I always welcome people to share things with me. I always try to listen. For my business schedule I may not always find times to meet and greet them personally, but I am always available via email and social media.
Social Media profiles?
Web page: https://sabur.me/
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SaburKhan
This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org
If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]