Journey to Excellence

Dear All, You know I don’t post anything but the deepest, most profound technology and startup news, gossip, whining. But I do like keeping it fresh. Give my own spin on everything. When Sajjad Saab sent me this article, I just had to publish it. You may think, “Gardening? On a startup blog?” Yes, dudes and dudettes. Every person needs something to unwind. A hobby. A pass time. Something that keeps stress at bay. Kirmani Saab being as big a name as he is in the local IT scene has a passion for gardening that he uses to not only show his creative side but it also keeps him sane through the daily challenges of running a biz. So read on my pretties.

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Spring is the perfect time to rejoice and enjoy the beauty of nature; it is the time when beautiful flowers blossom and beautify the whole world around them with their delicate feel.”

With this feel in mind, I showcased an exquisite arrangement of flowers at my Spring Garden in DHA Lahore. Antirrhinum, Petunia, Verbena, Pansy, Gazania, Tulip, Dimorphotheca Calendula, Cineraria were some of the flower varieties lined up in an array of colorful settings. As the panel of judges for the Spring Flower Competition 2013 entered into this garden, one of them quipped “this certainly is much better than what we saw here last year” while another one commented “it’s always a great pleasure to visit your garden”.

My humble efforts spanning over last the 6 months paid off when my garden was rated as the best garden in DHA Lahore while INFOGISTIC office also got recognized as the Best Trend Setting Commercial Office in DHA.

We the tech-entrepreneurs always wonder if there is also a life away from offices and gadgets. With fresh colors and amazing flowers, nature brings to us a magnificent state of bliss and comfort. The scent, the colors, the budding and blossoming new life refreshes one’s mind.

Apparently, developing software and raising flowers appears to be two different areas, but when gelled together, it makes the environment 100% green and eco-friendly. From the award of Best Start-up Company by P@SHA to the Best Garden in DHA Lahore, the journey has been truly enriching for me and for my entire team who are putting their best efforts to create a world class facility.

Though primarily a tech-entrepreneur, I have a passion for gardening that I pursue this in my spare time. Gardening is not about planting flowers only; it teaches us that in order to excel and be good custodians of green environment, we need to learn patience and to take the right steps in the right order at the right time. Just like human beings, the plants also respond positively to the love, warmth and care we accord to them. Having intimate knowledge of your landscape is imperative; as seeding a beautiful plant in the wrong part of your garden lets you down when it enigmatically does not perform well. One must know if a plant likes sun or shade, part sun or part shade, dry soil, wet soil, or something in between.

Finally, no matter who you are, what you do, if you are contented and satisfied from the inside, only then life shines and blossoms through you. I hope you enjoy some of the shots published here and the rest you can catch up on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/spring.gardening or  @SpringGarden_ on Twitter.

About the Author

entrepreneurship in pakistanSajjad Kirmani is the Founder and CEO of INFOGISTIC (www.infogistic.com), an emerging IT company that focuses on providing information security, enterprise portals  and banking solutions to its customer across Pakistan and Middle East. INFOGISTIC was rated as the best Start up Company by P@SHA in 2012.

Sajjad holds a Master´s degree in Computer Sciences from University of London along with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from IBA. He is the President of IBA Alumni Association and has been the Vice President of Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA).

He showed us that age, gender or professional career cannot stop anyone from expressing oneself. Being an integral part of Software Industry, he introduces everyone to his Paradise.

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Apply for the GSBI 2012

Yes, I promised a video of the UnConference. No, I did not throw up or cry or create any drama. Waiting for the CIO/PBA team to upload the snippets to their website … and then I’ll be happy to share y fabulous-ity with you.

With that being cleared, I received great news last night in my inbox. Besides the several weight-loss, foreign travel and luxury hotel deals newsletters I am subscribed to, I also happen to receive the Social Edge newsletter. Yeah, I am such a mixed bag – that’s what makes me awesome and keeps you average *hairflip. Downloaded 5 seasons of Gossip Girl and my meanness-meter is hitting an all time high. Will try and restrain myself …

The GSBI 2012 scholarship has been announced.

The Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™), a program developed by Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, assists social entrepreneurs in developing business plans that enable their organizations to become financially sustainable and scalable.

It’s a $25,000 scholarship and has had participants from Indonesia, India, Bolivia, and Rwanda besides other countries. I strongly feel it’s about time Pakistan was represented here. What with initiatives like the PASHA Social Innovation Fund I don’t see why that should be a problem.

Some of you ask me what a social enterprise is. You can find info all over the Internet. Social Edge is a good place to begin and so is the Ashoka Social Innovators Fund website. If you are excited by the idea but want a cheat-sheet for areas where you could venture this place will help a bit. *grin However, in short, a social enterprise tackles a greater problem related to changing the very fabric of the society around and tackles the issue without waiting for the government to do something about it. For example, with WDL I am trying to break the barrier for women to go out of their homes to work and am bringing employment to them at their doorsteps. By providing them online work WDL aims to economically and emotionally empower Pakistani women enabling them to put their education to use and gain their lost or low sense of self-respect and dignity.

So, go on my wonderful peeps and make me proud. To infinity and beyond …

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

P.S. Anyone has a million rupees to help me build my web portal?

 

Registering Dilemma

Lately I have been trying to find a way (the best way) to register my VA company. I assure you ladies, regardless of what some may tell you, to make it into a real business, you have got to register it. The red-tape involved every step of the way and the lack of help and advice can frighten the best of us but it’s something that needs to be done. A lot of fancy, scary words were thrown at me. But the day was saved by a 24-yrs-old helping his bro run a virtual assistance firm (I HATE them for doing so well 😦 ) Both brothers have been A-MAZING in how generous they are with their time and their advice and their help. I wish we had more guys like the 2. Below, I have copied the conversation I had with the younger one (elder bro not answering my frantic messages on Skype being asleep with the headphones on!!) – I hope it helps the rest of you virtual assistants as much as it has helped me. The conversation answers questions about the options available as to what type of company you want to register as, the difference between the types, pros and cons, how registering with SECP and PASHA can get you some perks but may come with certain conditions that you gotta know from before. So, without further ado, read on my lovelies.

Types of Companies – differences between them – pros and cons

[7:14:51 AM] Bilal: if you are a PVT LTD you need to get registered with SECP and Software board then you get certain tax cuts, or incentives and you become INCORPORATED. your minimum tax bracket is something like 25% of revenues if you are a pvt. Ltd. But if you get registered as a Partnership, you fall in 20% tax bracket … and I think you don’t have to do any business with SECP and Software board.

Basically you have two options – in fact three options

1. Sole proprietor

2. Partnership

3. Private Ltd.

First two don’t require extensive paper work. You just have a stamped paper deed that says A is a sole proprietor of ABC company and stuff and you get an NTN tax number based on that…i.e. have to file monthly income tax on employees earning Rs. 300,000 per year or more, you can do it online from FBR‘s website. However, if you want to get registered as a PVT LTD, i.e., get Incorporated, you need to go to SECP‘s website and apply online, check for name availability first, then choose a name and apply for that. When SECP approves, you go onto the next step i.e. forms to be filled. When you complete that step you go to MCB (Muslim Commercial Bank) and pay some cash, I think about Rs. 1100, or Rs. 5000, not sure how much. You have to pay on the same day and move onto the next step, fill more forms and in the end you get SECP‘ed. With Software Board (I don’t know what it is called) you need some sort of certificate … that they certify you are an internet business because I think till 2016 Internet businesses are tax exempt …. but income taxes of employees have to be paid to FBR.

[7:26:59 AM] Bilal: We went to this tax lawyer who told us about things I told you. We wanted to know the benefits and cons, pros and losses of getting registered as an Inc. (pvt ltd) so basically he told us if you are a small company the definition of small company is monetized, i.e. less than 20 crore revenue per year and then you are fine when registered as a partnership.

So, I don’t have to pay taxes on my business – only on employee salary. This is so unfair. No wonder people pay such sucky salaries.

[7:29:04 AM] Bilal: You are Right. YOUR Business Profit, Income does not get taxed if you . Your Employee’s income gets taxed. Only if it is more than Rs. 25,000 per month i.e. if it is more than 3 lac (300,000) per year. In most contracts the onus of income tax is on the employee i.e. the employee should file for it online every month with FBR i.e. if you pay Mr. XYZ Rs. 40,000 per month you could tell him to pay his own taxes so his net income will be less than Rs. 40,000.

I am the sole owner of my business so I am going to register with SECP so I will only pay 20% instead of 25% tax and my profits are tax-free but I have to pay taxes (or get employees to pay it themselves) for employees earning more than Rs. 25k/month. But at the same time … my employees are mostly on ad hoc basis – we don’t have any contracts or anything … so do I have to keep track of them as well?

[7:39:43 AM] Bilal: Almost 100% correct….If you are registered as a ” sole proprietor”, you don’t need to get registered with SECP. SECP‘s domain is “Pvt. Ltd” so basically any employee that earns less than 25000 will have no paper work, except for internal paper work. Let me put it this way… ABC is a guy who works for money. His base income is Rs. 23,000. When the company introduced a bonus scheme, his February and March incomes were Rs. 35000 and Rs. 36000 so he had to file income tax with FBR for only two months. FBR is a monthly thing. You do it online every month. Now ABC is being terminated and he isn’t getting any bonuses, so he is not paying any tax and neither is the company.

……………………………………………………………………………

Someone told me I should register with SECP coz that will mean I can register with software expo and PASHA and that would help in the long run.

[7:49:49 AM] Bilal: There are two options:

1. sole proprietor or partnership -> get NTN -> get taxed by FBR on your NTN

2. Pvt Ltd -> Get SECP

-> get software

-> get NTN

-> then pay taxes on your NTN to FBR

-> file to SECP each year, something like that, pay a fee per year

that’s the only difference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

so then it seems CRAZY for ppl to register with SECP except if you are a HUGE business and the difference between 20-25% taxes is a gazillion $$$?

[7:53:41 AM] Bilal: yo something like that… Let me add to this. Why do people get registered with SECP? Well

1. for incentives such as PASHA

2. for any incentives related to anything else. For instance you want a loan, you’ll go to a bank tell about your company, the bank will check on you

3. if you become really big, you may want to go Public, i.e. get registered on the STOCK exchange to raise capital.

(How can PASHA help me?)

PASHA, as far as I know takes a chunk of your equity – say they’ll own 20% of your business value and they’ll incubate you. Getting registered with SECP helps if you want to make it big and there are a number of stakeholders involved. If Pasha wants to help you out, they’ll want to become a shareholder in your success which is why it makes sense to get incorporated. On the other hand if you are registered as a sole proprietor, you are the only owner, the only stakeholder

Incubation means: giving a place to start off with, even some workforce if you need it, some money. Incubators do take a share of your pie. They are not doing it for free

[8:10:49 AM] Me: Thank you, Bilal. You have been incredibly helpful. I am going to post this verbatim on my blog (of course will change names). This is great – not info you will find anywhere … and people like me NEED it. So, THANK YOU once again.

[8:11:32 AM] Bilal: Anytime, you are welcome…oh you can mention my name yo, I fame like lots.

 [8:11:39 AM] Me: lol – ok bye – haha – bbye
(I don’t think the poor kid knows I have like 5 readers, one of them being his bro). :D:D