This is ONE Dangerous Trend Amongst Start Ups

“OK, I’m in business. Time to start hiring people.”

I have seen so many companies committing mistake of assuming that ” More People Mean More Business”.

This is wrong planning and often results in hire & fire culture.

Big structures never define success but “right-sized” compact teams with a mix of passion, experience and high energy culture where no one is labeled as ” back office staff” or “liability” is THE key to consistently create magic.

Today, at B4U Dubai, we are a team of 15 from 6 different nationalities in span of 4 years. My journey of 1 till 15 had one clear philosophy, we NEVER label any employee as support staff but ensure each member of team is actively involved in generating revenue in their own way. This is one of the key reasons for us garnering growth in times when most of our competitors are struggling to maintain last year numbers.

The RIGHT time to hire is only when you can really afford – NEVER hire someone and then try to make them affordable.



Why this company FAILED… and what you can learn from it

One of my neighbors shut doors despite high sales!

Often sales volume is considered as the “hidden success key” of business. Many fail to understand that sustainable business is balance of two pillars- Dhanda (Sales) and Galla (Cash flow/ Account Health)  – companies struggle to understand the relationship between both of them and make the mistake of assuming both are one.

The hard truth is that there is no relationship between Dhanda and Galla and never has been.

I have realized that increasing sales volume of a cash starved business will tend to have a negative effect on cash flow and could even cause it to shut its doors. I have seen so many businesses don’t go bust because of lack of sales they go bust because they run out of cash.



How To Reach Your Audience with TV

Branding is an important role for business growth and I feel TV plays an important role in that.

However, please note, I said Business Growth – which means you need to start branding on platforms like TV once you have a basic layer of customers and you are looking to scale-up.

Business owners, marketing managers & media planners are always looking for ways to maximize the impact of their advertising campaigns. They combine creative thinking with factual analysis to develop appropriate strategies to ensure that campaigns reach their target audiences as effectively as possible.

Here are four reasons why smart media planners prefer to use TV as their primary channel and use its reach to build brands.

Reason 1: TV Gets You Massive Reach

Every media planner knows that reach is a major advantage with TV ads and advertisers have the best chance to reach a large audience through television.

Companies focused on generating brand awareness often have reach as a major objective and channels like B4UAflam and B4UPlus which are Free-to-Air channels provide an even greater reach than Paid Channels.

Reason 2: Attention Spans are Longer on TV

The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.

As the digital world unleashed huge amounts of information on us, we had to deal with the constant bombardment of information, so we shortened our attention span from 12 to 8 seconds to help us multitask, prioritize, and consume quickly and efficiently.

The result is that consumers have very little patience for online advertising because of the flow of information. However, on TV we are on a single-focus information channel and hence TV commercials are well received and brand retention is far more effective.

Reason 3: Consumers Don’t Like to be Stalked

Imagine you are visiting an online shoe store and decide to leave without purchasing. Don’t be surprised to see those shoe ads following you around the internet. You can go to Facebook or Instagram and even visit YouTube or Linkedin. Wherever you go those shoe ads will keep stalking you.

It gets even more irritating when you finally decide to go out and buy those shoes. The online advertiser sadly does not know that you have purchased those shoes and keep serving those ads to you.

The internet and social media have turned advertising on its head leading to some truly innovative advertising trends. However, the way they follow consumers around and show re-targeting ads have frustrated consumers.

The smart media planner knows that this kind of stalking won’t happen on TV and this is precisely why they use this trusted media to showcase their best brands.

Reason 4: TV is the Fountainhead of Quality Content

While funny cat videos and celebrity bloopers become instant hits on social media, consumers are not funny engaged with these one-hit wonders. That is why they crave the quality content that is produced especially for TV.

Sitcoms, soap operas and reality shows have been enthralling audiences for decades and consumers still make time to watch their favourite TV shows. The emotional engagement they receive from these shows is unparalleled and this is precisely why TV helps advertisers to speak to the consumer’s heart.

How to Take Advantage of TV

All of the above four reasons make TV the number one choice for media planners. In MENA, it is best to tap a free to air channel to reach massive audiences.

Feel free to reach me in case you need any help before executing your next TV plan. I have participated in strategizing and executing major sales campaigns for a number of the leading regional television channels, including ARY Digital, NEO Cricket, Zee Aflam, Zee Film Hindi, B4U Aflam and B4U Plus, contributing in recent years to multi-million $ revenue generation.


How to dramatically TURN AROUND running businesses

Countless corporate giants have crashed and burned like Sears Roebuck & Co., U.S. Steel, Eastman Kodak and Pan Am, to name a few.

But some big companies have “turned it around” – gone from stagnation to innovation. Most of them have used a 4-step strategy to turn around and I am detailing it out for you.

Step One: Start accounting the next recession in your P&Ls

The best businesses are those that are prepared to face the upheavals of the future. The foremost factor which many founders, CEOs and managers fail to project in their P&Ls is provisioning for the next recession / slowdown.

Generally, projections are made considering the last downturn as the last one – Once you understand the industry trends well, the P&L should be devised keeping in mind the future market trends.

Step Two – Define your purpose

Businesses are created to make money, let us all understand that first.

Once we are clear on that, it is important to define your product purpose which you will be working toward in the minds of your consumers.

For instance, the founder of one of the Coke used to say that “one day my cola brand will replace tap water”. Which essentially means he envisioned replacing water with this cola brand.

The purpose has to be larger than life and something which will drive you, your employees and all stake holders to work towards that goal. Purpose is the true essence of a company.

Step Three: People

You are only as good as your people and here are a few tips for hiring managers which I always exercise:

i. Hire for character more than skills.

ii. Give a chance to passionate freshers, because passion has the ability to overcome challenges which are often considered to be insurmountable by experienced people.

ii. Compensate your team members generously. Evaluate compensations as per the value which the candidate will bring to the table, and not on the basis of their current salary structure.

iv. Never treat rock-star performers and average performers alike.

Above all, have a fair KPI system in place for a professional evaluation of all your team members.

Step Four: It is NEVER about top-lines, Bottom lines are the real meat of business.

I am a firm believer in cultivating a culture of hardcore savings in the company – saving money is important, but even more important is cultivating the culture of saving in every aspect of the business.


i. Focus on savings from the very start. Ensure all resources are utilized to their fullest possible potential.

ii. Always look at bottom lines. Top lines are never the indication of the real health of your bank account.

iii. Focus on future bookings and long-term contracts.


I was fortunate to work with companies where I was part of the core team – building brands from scratch or revamping existing brands. Working in such an environment takes your learning curve to an unbelievable level and helps to test your true mettle.

I hope the 4-step strategy that I have detailed above will give you food for thought. For any further inputs or suggestions, feel free to reach out to me.

Money saved is money earned?

Once upon a time a loser said “ Money saved is money earned!”

As per a recent study done by Forbes, One of the biggest reasons for start-ups to fail is Cash Flow. More often this happens when founders/managers/top management confuse ” Real Money ” with “Fake Money”.

I classify “Fake Money” as: (a) Sale without collection and (b) Saved Money which is also considered as revenue or “Money Earned” .

My Take # 1 : Money saved is JUST salt earned.

My Take # 2 : Money spent right & Revenue secured in account is your real worth of the company.

This is true definition of ” Real Money ” or Money Earned ” It is never about toplines or middle lines in business . The absolute bottom lines and ” Real Money “is what thrives your business.

My definition of Money Spent Right is; any money spent which generates ” Real Money” for the company is ” Money spent right” . The only thing which can fluctuate/debatable is the ROI expectation – which can be calculated as well to a realistic accuracy


Avoid this ONE wrong decision in business.

You have launched your dream project and are already putting 14-15 hours a day to make it a success. You are juggling many hats in the start as you are short-staffed and short of funds.

What is one thing which you can avoid to save yourself from more sweat and losses?

Wrong decisions!

You may ask, “That’s simple Zeeshan, no one wants to take wrong decisions – What are wrong decisions?”

My take on this is, any decision which is not taken is the wrong decision.


Wrong decisions can be always corrected, but time gone cannot be reversed.

In new businesses, the ONE thing which you lack is time. Running out time means, running out energy and running out of funds.

So next time, whenever you get stuck,  think over it properly m decide and move forward!

IMG_20180603_210333_930.jpg Continue reading Avoid this ONE wrong decision in business.

This game is not for the weak-hearted!

My friends generally ask me how can I consistently keep on working with start up projects without losing enthusiasm.

The reason is that I have understood the mindset of start-ups.

I have understood that corporate mindset is irrelevant in new businesses.

It is more about the process and enjoying the journey.

I have fallen in love with the process and the consistent grind and in the world of new businesses -if you love the process you will OWN the outcome!



Are you willing to pay the price of success?


Why businesses are done?

There is this unusual excitement trending everywhere with buzzing words like ” Start-ups”, ” Investments”, ” Angel Investments”, Round A , Round X and so on.


In the whole scheme of raising funds and making businesses, unfortunately Startups are forgetting that the core idea of business is not to wait till the next round of funding…

but the idea of launching businesses is to generate monies.

Its as simple as that!

There are high chances of failure if the mindset is not about “each and every strategy  led with a thought of generating money for the company”.

Below is a glimpse of my recent talk on ” Scaling Start-ups”  at Gloria hotel, where I was invited to address a selected crowd of entrepreneurs and start up founders.