The Story of Mr. Salim Ghauri & Netsol
With an annual global turnover of 51 million US dollars and 1500 employees, Netsol is one of Pakistan’s leading tech companies.
My book describes my beginning really well. Its title is “From Nothing to Everything”. From the very beginning I wanted to do something which is recognized and over the last 37 years of my professional life, the only thing, which was in my favor was my ability to focus on what I wanted to do and whatever success I see today is because of my ability to focus. From a very small start we have built (MashAllah) NetSol into a global, recognizable organization/entity.
Factors of Entrepreneurial Success
Answer: Entrepreneurs are people who do not rely on outside resources for success. They have the ability to convert all the resources they can muster around themselves and whatever resources they can utilize are valuable to them. They become successful entrepreneurs. I had this ability to work through very limited means and gradually grow. One thing, I do believe I had, was the thought process to grow slowly, be very slow in progressing and growing, which helped me. I never believed that anything I’ll do, will be converted into a major enterprise in a short period of time and that helped me a lot. So, my belief of slow growth helped me build an entity which is now recognized as one of the best.
Hard Work and Intent are Basis of Success
Answer: I agree, hard work is easy, in fact, it is the easiest part. People have the ability to work very hard but most of us have a problem figuring out what exactly we want to do and why we want to do it. This is where intent comes in, when we can answer why then we can really work towards a purpose. So, by intent I mean, most of us have the intent to become successful or rich over a short period of time. To me that is not the right intent, to me the right intent is when you want to succeed by achieving something and achievement does not mean that you are financially rich or that people characterize you as very successful. Intent is to satisfy your own self on achievement and I believe that is key factor for people that they focus on self-satisfaction rather than pressing or pleasing or satisfying other people around them. To me
Importance of Dreaming for An Entrepreneur
Answer: See, dreams are important because with dreams you get the urge to try something which you do not do in a normal life. Dreams are critically important for a person because people who do not dream live very dissatisfied lives and they don’t have anything to look forward to or achieve anything at all. So dreamers are those who live, some of them are not successful, but at least they tried to live their dreams. I believe dreaming is important because it gives us a reason to work hard.
All the successful entrepreneurs tell us that money is not an object. Yet, according to HBR, 78% of startups fail because they run out of money.
Answer: I think this has been taken out of context, when they say money is not important, they mean they don’t run after it, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need money for your business. Every business requires money, funding to be built, so let’s correct this thought process. First of all, as an entrepreneur, don’t run after money but focus on your professionalism, your customers and your quality. Second, for sure, you need to build business through funding but no one will fund you, until and unless, you impress them with your right intent and idea. These days funding is getting easier, a lot of people with money are looking for ideas and people to invest in. Most people invest in other people and not in ideas, so you, as an entrepreneur, need to be very clear on what you are building, what you are developing. I believe that investment is now easy to get.
Inspiring People into Action
Answer: You have to follow the simple principles of an entrepreneur. Whatever idea you have, plan in a way where you know that you will have limited funding. Most business plans do not work out so all your plans have to be in short term period and they need to be evaluated over a period of time, again and again, to see if you are following it. Whatever idea we start with, whatever we think will happen, might not happen. Smarter of us are able to improvise and make changes according to the changing environment and the changing business around us. It is one matter to be aware and another to be actually practicing it or actually to be feeling it. We are all aware but once we go into a venture then we face those challenges and they have to be dealt with as they come in, no book or person can tell you what to do. So, each individual needs to improvise their challenges as they occur to them. No matter how much we are aware, it doesn’t work. In reality, all of us face something which others have not faced. Our ability or inability to handle such situations decides whether we will survive or not.
Controlling the Growth of Netsol
Answer: NetSol has grown very slowly and gradually it has become a stable entity, that was by design and we have worked hard over the years to build a strong base. We always knew that once this base was established and was strong, then it can handle any difficult times, the company will last longer. That is exactly how we built, how we worked. We are looking forward, we have a very solid base of 20 years behind us and we have done all the basics to build a company. We are very excited about how we will grow in the next 5 to 10 years.
N-Spire and the Motivation behind It?
Answer: NSPIRE is an initiative by NetSol. It is a business incubator built for encouraging the new startups in their initial stages so that they can learn from NetSol’s experience and facilities and built it into a success. It is NetSol’s way of giving back to the society by encouraging newcomers to turn themselves into future NetSols.
N-Spire vs. Other Incubators
Answer: There are some very good initiatives built outside NetSol, e.g. LUMS, Plan 9, P@SHA, they have done a tremendous service to the startups. NetSol is very different because NetSol itself is an organization which has a global footprint with in-house developer facility, so startups coming to NetSol are going to benefit not just from mentoring, they will also benefit from all the services available in NetSol. Especially marketing and sales, having 9 global offices will help the startups to market their goods and services if they have market capability. Besides that NetSol has developer facilities and various in-house facilities. So, these startups will be able to get access to all sorts of technical expertise which others may not be able to offer because others might get help from outside but in NetSol, we have everything available in-house.
Future of NetSol
Answer: NetSol (InshAllah) will be going from strength to strength. It has completed its incubation of 20 years and now it’s time for NetSol to explore new geographical markets. Its product has been enhanced and now it is looking for a bigger market role, for a bigger market size in the next 5 years.
Evolution of Lahore’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Answer: Lahore has become the center of excellence for Pakistan; it is an IT city and a tremendous ecosystem which encourages startups and entrepreneurs to convert their dreams into real ventures and real businesses. It has done very well as compared to any other city of Pakistan. It is moving forward, richness of companies created in Lahore will help new startups to benefit from the experience of the city and resource pool is much healthier and richer, compared to another city of Pakistan. So, Lahore will grow into a Silicon Valley, it is already coming up and in the coming years we will see Lahore as the Silicon Valley of Pakistan.