Welcome back to an-all new Head’s Up. In collaboration with SATU Creative, we bring you entrepreneurs who are tackling challenges and continuing to rise up to new occasions.
This week, we are featuring Syarifah Nurfaizah Wan Manshor, Co-Founder of Ahmad Tamar Sdn Bhd who shares about capturing the right opportunities as an entrepreneur and why it’s not an option but a necessity for entrepreneurs to keep thriving through challenges.
Till our next issue, stay safe and stay healthy!
Q&A with Syarifah Nurfaizah Wan Manshor, Co-Founder of Ahmad Tamar Sdn Bhd
How would you describe 2021 as an enterprise and what were some of your highlights?
Despite the pandemic, Ahmad Tamar gained the opportunity to expand our market through the opening of our North outlet in Bintulu, able to sponsor a professional football club named Kuching City FC and secured multiple big projects with our corporate clients namely PETRONAS.
We are made up of a high spirited team that is led by optimistic founders to always level up the game at whatever the cost – having to embark bold steps in business during the challenging year.
We also consider 2021 as the year of recovery for businesses; to adapt with changes and survive. As the pandemic evolves and many countries including Malaysia reduce restrictions, multiple assistance from the government towards economic recovery plan namely financial aid from banking and government agencies, reduce legislation and movement serve as booming opportunities for certain businesses and further develop the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem.
How did you pivot in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic?
We regarded the crisis as an opportunity rather than a roadblock. Despite the chaos and uncertainty, Ahmad Tamar managed to spearhead the journey by thriving for exponential growth.
We need to rise to the challenges posed by the pandemic and boldly engage new business models. From only focusing on more than 40 retail outlets in East Malaysia we adapted to the reseller model, which enables faster and positive cash flow. The new reseller model also enabled Ahmad Tamar in creating new entrepreneurs to improve their source of income especially during the pandemic.
Not to mention, the undeniable support from our customers, family and friends surmount the challenges. Equipping a growth thinking mindset ensures our team to optimise each opportunity and be solution-focused.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs facing similar challenges?
Being an entrepreneur is to prepare one self for all the mysterious adventures. We have no other option but to survive and thrive. Entrepreneurs are born fighters, by nature optimistic and resilient- it is in our DNA to bounce back. Keep fighting to thrive, not only to survive.
Be sure to review, reflect and refresh your purpose to realign with the new norm. Run diagnostics on the previous business plan, evaluate then adapt the strategy to position the company towards robust growth.
Having in mind that every crisis has its end point, will be the take out for entrepreneurs to embark on a new adventure, be explorative and optimistic of what the future may hold.
On the other hand, entrepreneurs should appreciate the opportunity to innovate, with more digitalisation to elevate the touchpoints with consumers. Forge strategic collaboration to promote innovation and embrace new opportunities.
On the digital front, how have you adapted? And what was the outcome like?
Digitalisation surely has appeared to be the new norm. From just brick and mortar, entrepreneurs are pushed to online for survival. As with Ahmad Tamar, during the early pandemic, we closed our showroom and focused on supply. Especially in our industry, we went from traditionally offline dates supplier to online platform by utilising websites and social media. From being 100% offline as retailers, we pivoted the business model and engaged with customers through digital channels.
As well as other entrepreneurs, the pandemic has disrupted the normal physical meeting to virtual presence, yet the virtual networking experience is surprisingly helpful as we are able to connect with our distributors in both West and East Malaysia without needing to book a flight and it has saved us a lot of time and money.
The pandemic too allowed us to move from manual operations in the production line to automation, especially with the social distancing requirements and reduced workforce capacity.
In the upcoming Budget 2022, what sort of initiatives/policies should the government undertake to better help Malaysian enterprises?
The government should consider measures to assist affected businesses especially SMEs through reviewing of business income tax by expansion of tax incentives, tax relief, tax reduction and perhaps lift the tax penalty for affected SMEs – since SME is struggling to stay afloat and being penalised would just complicate the situation.
Apart from that, the government could extend specific subsidies and tax reduction incentives for SMEs with new technologies and machinery to promote the development of automation among SMEs.
How has Satu Creative aided you as an entrepreneur to get through these hard times and what was the outcome like?
Satu Creative has offered great assistance especially for SMEs like us– equipped with with holistic training, direct consultation and mentoring. As young entrepreneurs, we tend to get excited which sometimes hinder us from recognising blind spots. Working with Satu Creative also helped us to become better leaders.
Whether it’s a feedback or if you would like to work with us to put your story out there, reach out to us via email@example.com
*The interview featured was conducted before Budget 2022