Naheed Muqeetulla : Naheed Muqeetulla is the Vice President & Treasurer of Imperial Online Services which owns and operates the auction website Mastibids.com.
Mastibids.com, which is owned and operated by Imperial Online Service Pvt Ltd, was founded by Sameer Masarath and Naheed Muqeetulla. We started operations in June 2011. Mastibids is essentially a disruptive startup that aims to revolutionise the E-Commerce sector by introducing an element of entertainment in the users’ online shopping experience. It is an auction website with a twist, where members will have to bid against one another to become the last bidder and get a variety of products for incredibly low prices. We offer a wide variety of products ranging from electronics to accessories and vouchers.
Although we have had only a few, our mentors have provided us with invaluable tips on how to efficiently run a business. Perhaps the greatest contribution they have made is on how to go about raising capital and how to scale operations. We have learnt from them to always stay focused, but to allow room for flexibility so as to adapt to changing market conditions and consumer preferences. They have also taught us the importance of execution. Anyone can have a good idea for a business, but only a few can turn a good idea into a great business venture through their skill and dedication.
The first few customers had signed up with us even before we were operational. Once the site was ready for business, we started an SMS campaign to draw in traffic quickly, followed by some affiliate marketing. Some of the challenges we faced were that the quality of the registrations were not that good. We learnt that targeted marketing would have been more beneficial since that improved our registration to sale ratio dramatically. Customer acquisition, media buying and marketing are very tricky areas of business. It is difficult to determine the right mix when one is starting out and a trial-and-error method is the only way to determine the proportion of funds that must be allotted to the various marketing methods. What we also learnt was that different industries find different media more effective in delivering results. Social Media is mostly for branding and PR while SEO proves more successful in customer acquisition. For quicker results one has to employ Affiliate and PPC campaigns. However, the effect of these will be more short lived.
We encourage a relaxed atmosphere so that each member can work to the best of their ability. We’ve realized that if the work place becomes hostile for any one person, the standard of service we offer to our customer drops. It is important that the work culture is such that there is freedom for each employee to work in a manner most comfortable to him, but at the same time focus should remain on attaining the company goals. The importance of customer service also forms a core part of our work culture. No matter what the issue, no matter how small, the customer should always be made to feel important. It is this attention to customer satisfaction that has helped us become one of the key players in the industry.
Never lose sight of your goal. When one starts a project, they will first think of the idea and how it works and why there is demand for it. Once you start working towards that goal, many obstacles and opportunities may come your way and it is very easy to get side tracked. It is best to remember why we started in the first place and aim for that goal relentlessly. Have a clear-cut plan in mind as to what needs to be achieved and in what time frame. Without a proper paln of action and budgeting for different activities, it becomes very difficult to guide an organisation in the necessary direction.
Advice to young entrepreneurs
Trust your instincts! If you think your idea can make you lots of money then it can as long as you put in the work. If you are surrounded by people who have only negative thoughts then it is best to leave them behind. Put in the hard work – It is a pre-requisite for success (and luck).