This article was published in The Jordan Times on November 08, 2016.
While entrepreneurs are constantly reminded to receive feedback and listen carefully to criticism, it is important that they remain loyal to their vision of the business, established entrepreneurs said on Tuesday.
They agreed that pitching project ideas to investors and venture capital firms may not always succeed, and even if it does, funds may not meet the expectations of entrepreneurs.
Yet, trying, re-trying and learning from previous mistakes is key for success, they said at the fourth Deal Makers 2016 event, organised by Endeavour Jordan.
Mudassir Sheikha — from Pakistan, who is the co-founder and managing director of Careem — urged entrepreneurs to think of “big, meaningful and challenging” business projects in order to succeed and differentiate themselves from others, adding that meaningful businesses are not only income-generating, but are also ones that improve the lives of workers.
Careem, a ride hailing service, operates in 43 cities in 11 countries, with over 100,000 captains and over 6 million customers. The company, a $72 million investment, registers a 25 to 30 per cent monthly growth.
He summed up his learning experience from the business over the past four years in the need to address local problems, adjusting to market needs, hiring “awesome” people whatever it takes, finding local partners and developing a clear purpose of the business.
Vision of the business
Entrepreneurs can be swayed to change their entire business based on the critique of some more experienced entrepreneurs, said Khalil Shadid, founder of ReserveOut, adding that a suggestion to change the field of his business took him over three weeks of thinking.
He then decided to risk doing what he thought was right.
“You should always take feedback, but you have to decide,” he told an audience of entrepreneurs.
But Mohammad Shaker, co-founder of ArabiaWeather, had a different experience. The feedback he received had helped him gain a wider view and helped him improve the weather forecasting business that he started at home.
He said he often faced a difficulty in presenting his technology and science-based ideas to juries and potential investors, but once he was able to do so he was able to develop the business.
Ala Sallal, founder of Jamalon, an online bookstore, said investors turned down his initial fund request, but “persistence” helped him succeed in collecting a total of $7.5 million so far.
Hussam Hammo, CEO of Tamatem Games, urged entrepreneurs to diversify sources of funding, as it takes some investors months to reply to a funding proposal without giving entrepreneurs a clear answer.
Both Sheikha and Sallal said they had previous entrepreneurial projects that did not take off.
The two-day event, which concluded on Tuesday, featured several one-to-one networking sessions where entrepreneurs receive live feedback on their products and services.
In addition, angel investors and venture capital firms engaged with entrepreneurs in discussions addressing investment opportunities.