We sat down with the Canadian-Pakistani tech tycoon Muneeb Mushtaq who is currently CEO of Airzai, a tech company that has recently launched a new line of air and surface disinfectant products; to talk everything about what goes behind building a successful business from the ground up. The young CEO shared some tips, trick, and how he managed to have it all as he runs three business ventures simultaneously!
- What is something they don’t ever tell you about starting your own business?
Muneeb Mushtaq: I think, on social media, one common misconception is how having your own business is glamorous –but that is far from reality. There is a lot that goes on behind the scene. Starting a business is all about hustle, grind, and not giving up – which makes up for all the unglamorous stuff that nobody sees. I truly wish that people would understand the amount of work and commitment that goes behind building a business rather than just chasing the glamorous life that comes with it, so they know that they’re making the right decision.
- Tell us about a moment that shaped your career – and pushed you to work on your own startup.
Muneeb Mushtaq: I think one of the most critical moments came in the shape of all the failures that I faced – so I wouldn’t say there was a single moment, there were many. It came to a point where, like most people, I felt discouraged felt like giving up. But, soon, you realize that the more failures you see, the more clarity you get. All you need to do is learn from those mistakes, and there is always a way to be successful in whatever you’re doing. So, facing your failures, not giving up, and keep hitting back is the way to succeed.
2. What do you think makes a business successful? What are the areas that need the most attention when you jump into this new venture?
Muneeb Mushtaq: I think the number one thing is keeping track of your cash flows. Initially, when you start a business, or you’re bootstrapping it, you do keep track of every dollar, and this is at the point when your business is running successfully, but as things start to grow, it is easy to leave that in the blind spot. Before you know it, you lose track of where the money is going, where the funds are going, and that seriously impacts your cash flow and growth. So, if you’re not optimizing your business, ever so often, it results in creating big troubles down the road, so managing cash flows has to be the number one thing.
3. One question everyone wants to ask you is – How did you manage it all? What is your secret?
Muneeb Mushtaq: I wouldn’t call it a secret – but I think the biggest weapon I have is my team. It’s not possible to do everything alone; it is important to keep the right people around you who believe in your mission and understand what your vision is and are willing to dedicate themselves to it and grow with it. So yeah, the secret is out, it is literally my team!
4. What spiked your interest in investing in the Pakistani market?
Muneeb Mushtaq: Like I always say, I think Pakistan has a lot of potentials, the untapped market, and technology, so many processes and systems are still in the stone age. So, whenever there is an opportunity to disrupt, and you have a big population to play with like 250 million people, that is a golden opportunity to monetize. Moreover, while you’re looking at an attractive business opportunity, at the same time, just impacting lives and bringing that value that would just elevate the standard of living in the country excites me as well.
5. What are the biggest challenges that you think you would face here? How do you plan on overcoming them?
Muneeb Mushtaq: Every country, every ecosystem, has its own challenges, and so does Pakistan, it has its own unique challenges. The thing is – I love challenges. It isn’t like I am disconnected from Pakistan, or I don’t know what is going on there, I grew up in Pakistan and moved to Canada in my late teens, and I still keep in touch with what is happening here. I am aware of all the challenges, I think that just makes me more invested and interested in this area, and I just can’t wait to make something valuable happen there.
6. What is something that kept you going when you felt like giving up?
Muneeb Mushtaq: When you have a reason bigger than just making money, then it is very easy to keep going because it is your passion. So, what I try to do is do things that make me happy, things that I am very passionate about, things that I can dedicate myself to, and that is one of the reasons that despite how many failures I face, despite how many setbacks there are, I just keep ongoing. I don’t give up because that’s just who I am as a person.
If you would like to learn more about Muneeb Mushtaq, please feel free to follow him on his Instagram, the handle is @muneebmushtaq