Mantra for Entrepreneurs

And I am back with a second guest post and from someone I’ve admired for a long time. Atif Mumtaz needs no introduction at least so far as the Pakistani IT industry goes. My fav thing about him besides the fact he is a “flashing lights” guy – his ingenuity. He is usually very quiet about his ventures but for this post he came out of his shell a bit and I am ever so grateful to him for taking out the time to write this. Without further ado – read on my lovelies! 


Entrepreneurs are the crazy ones. They thrive on innovation and standing out from the crowd. At times, they even invite controversy with their radical new ideas and how they see the world changing. Who would have thought in 1990 that Internet could be so big when Tim Berners-Lee proposed it and built the first web page? Steve Balmer (Microsoft CEO) famously laughed at launch of Apple iPhone in 2007, saying its a device with no keyboard and no future. Look where it is today.

Entrepreneurs do things that others cannot easily understand or fathom. If someone else understood what they are doing, then someone would have already done it. They are ahead of everyone else in recognizing potential of an idea and building it into a success.

virtual assistanceEntrepreneurs are also different from typical businessmen. They innovate and create something new. They do not follow others, they lead. In Pakistan’s case, BrightSpyre (a company that I founded in 2002) was innovator in Pakistan for introducing online recruitment. They created something new, something different. It was a time, when internet was still dialup and job advertisements were only available in Sunday Newspapers. Hence, they were truly entrepreneurial and innovative. Ahead of everyone in Pakistan, changing the way recruitment is done in Pakistan. All other companies that came afterwards (Rozee etc) are simply businesses that took on what BrightSpyre had created. They are not entrepreneurs in the true sense. So if you really want to be an entrepreneur, create something new, something different and something innovative.

To be a successful Entrepreneurial startup, I recommend the following mantra:

  • Innovate: Have an innovative and radical new idea. An idea that can change the world, literally. Think hard on what you want to build and run to achieve it.
  • Build an awesome team: Team is the key. If you have a winning team, you will go places in a matter of weeks. But if you have a weak team, you will never succeed. And if your team consists of parasites, those who rely on your brilliance to achieve anything, then you will at best be mediocre. Having started numerous companies and worked with all sorts of players, I have noticed that when I had co-founders who thought they were great but were really poor in execution, the company went down in the long run and could never sustain its growth. They will never let the company achieve its true potential. They are quick to blame others for their failures and will never try to do anything right. Avoid them, even if they are your best friends. Only select the best. The winners.
  • Conserve cash: This is very important. You will not earn a lot in the first few months of your entrepreneurial venture. It is essential you have the cash to last the distance. For that purpose, you need to spend thriftily. If targets are met, if clients are happy, give yourself rewards at the end of the year, otherwise, do not spend. Conserve. And in today’s tight economy, there is no alternative to conservation of cash.
  • Built it, Don’t think it: You will be skeptical of how your idea will thrive in the market initially. Most of this skepticism will come from family and friends who think you are crazy doing it. Don’t worry. Just follow your heart and just do it. Do not over think it. Or someone else will do what you want to do. So just build it, don’t think it.
  • Belief in Allah: No entrepreneurial course will ever teach you this. But believe in Allah and you will see good things happen. When chips are down, when stress is at its peak, when friends abandon you, when your founders go against you, Allah will be there. Ask for His help and believe that everything will be alright in the long run. You will succeed.


virtual assistantsAtif Mumtaz is a co-founder of Personforce, a leading job board provider in the Silicon Valley, California, USA. He is also running a non-profit, UM Healthcare in rural Pakistan that provides affordable healthcare to those who cannot afford it. He can be reached online at: 

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this post belong to the writer. PakiMom takes no responsibility.


11 thoughts on “Mantra for Entrepreneurs

  1. Brightspyre is a classical example of an entrepreneurial failure. I wonder why Mr. Mumtaz goes out of his way to discredit Rozee? Online job boards have been around since the 90’s. What makes Brightspyre unique is that it had the first mover advantage in Pakistan and lost it miserably. Hardly something to brag about and certainly not a role model for other entrepreneurs to follow.


  2. Atif please correct your grammar. I think you meant “build it, don’t think it” instead of “built it, don’t think it”. It is important to get our cliches right.


  3. I guess, Mumtaz sahib a little more agressive, perhaps his intent was to encourage peopel to be creative- Thought to share the following with you:
    Creativity is not about creating something new, its about giving a new experience – Richard Branson


  4. I’ve been fortunate to meet Sir Atif quite a few times and have had good advice from him. Working in a few startup ventures myself, I have no option but to agree with what he his mantra. If you want to build something long-lasting, do these 5 things and you will be gold. Miss any one of these and you will fail.

    He is very right when he says that BrightSpyre was the First-Mover. For whatever reasons, it could not sustain and scale and better alternatives like came in the limelight. But the point he is trying to make is that BrightSpyre indeed was the first online job portal in Pakistan and hence it was a true entrepreneurial venture as opposed to Rozee.

    I hope Sir Atif continues to succeed in all of his ventures and keeps on guiding youngsters like me to do good with our lives and live up to our potential. All the best!


  5. “All other companies that came afterwards (Rozee etc) are simply businesses that took on what BrightSpyre had created. They are not entrepreneurs in the true sense”

    The reason they succeeded and you didn’t, is because they are better entrepreneurs.

    “Entrepreneurs are also different from typical businessmen. They innovate and create something new. They do not follow others, they lead”

    simply, not true.. copied
    Tripod copied Geocities
    Myspace copied friendster.
    Facebook copied Myspace.
    Google+,,StudiVZ, copied facebook.
    Microsoft,Apple,Google they all copied many of their ideas from others.
    and the list goes On…..

    Entrepreneurs do follow others, but through innovations they make it their own.i.e


  6. Syed Pak —

    A couple of comments for you dude. I think you have not read the blog. You are just criticizing for the sake of the criticism. He is not talking about successes or failures either. And none of us know how successful his companies are … we never really worked with him … have we?

    But anyways, Atif is differentiating entrepreneurs from businesses. He is not talking about copying either 🙂
    I dont think Google+ is more than a business unit of Google. Nor does he claim Monster is an entrepreneurial success. If you really want to learn about classical definition of entrepreneur, go read Peter Drucker, the foremost authority on this subject.

    So I guess, you need to stop acting like a paid blogger and read it more closely dude 🙂


  7. Desi Pakistani –

    i did read the blog but unlike you i understood it better.
    he was not just talking about entrepreneurship in general but he also gave the example of his company and try to discredit an other company. ( thus setting tone for the whole article )

    my comment was a reaction to that also i just stated the obvious..


  8. i do Agree with Desi Pakistani-
    i have worked with Sir.Atif Mumtaz, Currently he has implemented the paper less hospital idea in umhealth-care at Mardan. i have work on with openemr and its running on from last two years with the name of , i think its not about just the rozee, or job portal he is doing a good job in this field. how many of you have an sms alert from your doctor, advise, health-condition according to climate. so these are things which very people working on and make it reality.

    sorry about rozee founder, but if you can share what other products you have lunch in pk. how much they play a role for the pk society.


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