Sumaya Rashid has been working as Managing Director at ‘StratBiz Bangladesh Ltd’ since 2009. Her dynamic leadership helped "StratBiz Bangladesh Ltd’ to take some very significant move within a very short period of time. She is graduated from DIIT in CIS and got MBA from Stamford University of Bangladesh. In a conversation with Md. Ashiqur Rab of Future StartUp, she talked about her experiences, learnings, success, opportunity & obstacles & many more..
Future StartUp: Briefly tell us about yourself and your passion in life.
Sumaya Rashid: I am Sumaya Rashid, now working as Managing Director at ‘StratBiz Bangladesh Ltd.’ which is a management consultancy firm. After completing my formal education I experienced jobs in different firms and eventually I have entered into world of entrepreneurship.
If I tell you more about me and my passions I will say, ‘I love to work with Integrity and transparency, I do only the jobs that I love to do and I always try to choose the best track’.
F.S: Tell us more about StratBiz Bangladesh Ltd, about its past accomplishment and future plan?
Sumaya Rashid: ‘StratBiz’ started its journey back in 2000 as a project surveying firm. It became registered in 2008 and I joined here in 2009 as Owner & and become ‘Managing Director’.
I introduced newer spheres of consultancy activities (Management consultancy, Executive resourcing and Training and Workshops services) at ‘StratBiz’. Since then StratBiz is working as a consultancy firm.
StratBiz basically works on four specific arenas- (a) Management Consultancy that covers up department-wise consultancy services like HRM, Finance, Marketing, IT and secretarial solutions and services. (b) Executive resourcing that entails preliminary screening or interviewing for recruitment. (c) Training and Workshops that cover level based customized training or open training and team building services (d) Project base services-running projects through contributing research.
In a very short period of time StratBiz has worked with many renowned corporate houses. Now, our Future plan is to work on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) sector. We want to work on partnering with corporates in social responsibilities(CSR) by generating ideas and performing actions. Bangladesh govt. has already made CSR mandatory for corporate to spend about 10 percent of its profit. In near future it will be increased and our plan is to move it to a broader extend.
F.S: What inspired you to become an Entrepreneur instead of taking an easy way?
Sumaya Rashid: I didn’t directly enter into the world of entrepreneurship. After having my graduation I started to work at jobstreet.com which is a Malaysian owned company and later worked at AHZ Agro Industries Pvt. Ltd as HR Manager.
But, I couldn’t make me steady anywhere as my interest weren’t serving. I love Independence but in a private job it is rarely found. When you work for others firm you can’t work as you want to. Rather you've to work as they want you to. Sometimes your ideas even may be neglected.
Then to realize my dream I was thinking on how I can become independent? Actually my passion for independence drove me to the world of entrepreneurship.
To become an entrepreneur my Brother-in-law inspired me most & still I get inspiration from him. My parents also helped me to proceed on the way to entrepreneurship. Eventually, Mr. Sajidur Rahman who initiated the idea of ‘StratBiz’ helped me to come into entrepreneurship.
F.S: Do you think for being an entrepreneur everyone should study on the very specific field of Business studies?
Sumaya Rashid: I think to become an entrepreneur you require minimum formal education from any discipline. But, it’s not necessary to have specific formal education like BBA or MBA. Rather Passion backed by your strong commitment is critical.
FS: What were the biggest obstacles you faced in your journey to date? And how did you overcome them?
Sumaya Rashid: 'Financing' was first. I know, In every startup venture financing is one of the most crippling problems. Though we had a different experience.
Lack of experience was also a problem that split out my some financing opportunities. For example, for not having 5 years experience I didn’t get a project from UNDP and I was expecting for having that project. If UNDP would make it easier for the govt. registered-new comers we wouldn’t face such problem.
I think patience is critical. In the face of problem if you give up then it would better not to come into the field of entrepreneurship. Here everything takes longer time than your normal expectation. In the face of obstacles I was patience & wait for good days to come. Now throughout the way we have overcome our obstacles.
F.S: What would you say are the biggest drivers of your success today?
Sumaya Rashid: Success is not an overnight matter, nor a destination too. It comes through a continuous process. I think my sincerity, integrity and transparency are the drivers of my success.
F.S: You are the Managing Director of ‘StratBiz’, certainly there were lots of ups and downs before you come in today’s position. Did you feel frustration or fear of failure any time during your journey? If yes, then how did you outperform those?
Sumaya Rashid: Like many other venturers or entrepreneurs I have also experienced many difficulties. I can focus on our job base difficulties- like, in executive resourcing sometimes we wouldn’t find required personnel as per job description what clients would search. Sometimes, it would happen that we couldn’t satisfy our clients as they would provide different conditions. While we worked with ‘Ericsson’ we faced such problems! But we overcome to facilitate them with our efficient team and provide them satisfactory service.
Moreover, while providing consultancy we had to face troubles. Or in training programs, clients sometimes relactant to provide appropriate information or they don’t know what they actually want. Though we have faced such problems, we used to handle this obstacle with our experise to grab the actual requirement from our clients’ end. Everything is going well as we prepared ourselves for providing better service.
I always think, ‘any entrepreneur can become failed or unsuccessful in any venture or any project. Here, failure may turn to frustration but we have to come up with new sphere of ideas forgetting the past and should continue for better’.And we have outperformed our weakness and failures through realizeing these.
F.S: Tell us briefly about your biggest experiences and learning...
Sumaya Rashid: It’s difficult to pick actually though no event in life is small. Specifically, I can tell you about our experience of “working with BATA”. There we had to work hard to beat leading consultants like ‘grow n excel’ and ‘Monowar Associates’. That corporate competition was really something for showing and proving our performance.
My biggest learning is ‘to be successful one need to be more effective communicator’. I learned this gradually. But, most important example can be ‘Once I missed an excellent and profitable contact for misunderstanding and this happened due to inefficient communication’.
F.S: Let’s say if you can start all over again what mistakes you will avoid and what are the positive things you would do first?
Sumaya Rashid: It could be an interesting matter if I could begin the finished job all over again! However, I would avoid two mistakes: first one is I won’t trust everyone without official documents and Second one is I won’t proceed slowly any more.
Well, I would do two positive things-firstly, will make a proper designing, mapping and planning for the job. Secondly, I would mutually work with my colleagues for better solution.
F.S: What are the prospects of ‘Consultancy firms’ in Bangladesh?
Sumaya Rashid: Bangladesh has a good opportunity in consultancy business as it is growing and improving. It is seen that most firms are tensed about their profitability and sustainability, I think if they take all the scopes whether it is small or large- this will make their ground and once these will be mightier consultant company. It shouldn’t be ignored that, this industry has many inherent problems as top company’ aren’t still aware of unity or common stand.
F.S: What are the biggest obstacles for young entrepreneurs in Bangladesh in your eyes?
Sumaya Rashid: In Bangladesh most of the entrepreneurs couldn’t search the right track for them. These happen due to inadequate preparation for entrepreneurial knowledge. And most of the entrepreneurs lack proper networks to find short solution. If I say from the institutional limitations, you will see most of them don’t get financial support, technological support & more over our legal system & society is not entrepreneur friendly.
F.S: What would be your advices our ‘Young StartUp Entrepreneurs’ who are just going to start their initiatives and want to bring them to success?
Sumaya Rashid: Well, My advice to the young entrepreneurs would be:
F.S: From your perspective what are the mandatory traits/capabilities for an entrepreneur to become successful?
Sumaya Rashid: Well, Firstly, I think if you want to be a successful entrepreneur you must be an excellent observer. Finding big out small is critical entrepreneurial skill. Think, you go to Dhanmondi Lake for having morning walk. You can observe the place and search for business opportunity what it might have.
Moreover, you should observe people’s outlook-what they actually want to do or what they expect from you or what they want to express.
Secondly, don't be big headed. And wait for bigger scope. Begin with small. I mean, you shouldn’t avoid any scope whether it is small or large.
Thirdly, work with integrity, be trustworthy. You have to do something fro what people will think you dependable & keep faith on you. Be cordial and humble.
Finally, I am again suggesting you to be a perfect networker with all sorts of people.
F.S: Thank you for giving us your valuable time.
Sumaya Rashid: Thank you too.