Interview with Asif Zamir, a Toronto Business Consultant
Asif Zamir was born in Guyana, South America in 1979, and moved to Toronto Ontario with his family in the early 80s. At age 15, Asif Zamir dropped out of high school and started his own company. Business consulting came very naturally to Asif. Many of his first clients were former bosses. We have conducted an interview with him.
Amongst so much work experiences and startup businesses, which is one of the most interesting business ideas that you have undertaken?
One of the most interesting ideas I've worked on was with a lady who wanted to run errands for strangers. She's very rich now and has a full staff. I helped her setup her draw up a plan, setup a website and structure, most importantly I helped her setup realistic goals and gain her first 250 clients and hire her first employees. Gosh she's basically more successful than me now. She charges anywhere from $50-$200 / hour to do any errand for you. She's been asked to wait at a persons house for the cable man to pretending to be a friend to an executive and everything in between, usually it's dropping off dry cleaning and picking up groceries, things along those lines. She makes a fortune.
What do you think are the success elements of starting a small business?
Having a vision for the long term. I see so many people fail because they think "I'll start a business today and be successful tomorrow and if not then I'll quit!" And those people always fail every time. But people who have a vision for 10-20-30 years always succeed. Always. Take a look at any success story, the person worked for many years to achieve what they wanted. Go ahead and read 100 success stories online and you'll see that it usually averages out to more than 10 years of hard work. People who think it takes a few weeks or months are mentally insane.
What do you see as intolerable qualities in the team (people) of a startup business?
Anyone who causes division. A house divided by itself can't stand and this is true in business, and you've probably read stories from people who were miserable because people were making them miserable. And I used to do joint projects with people who I couldn't stand, and I just don't do it anymore, it's not worth it to me. Actually I just choose a team that I really like, people who like each other and support each other, you know your team should have your back, if they don't, dump them.
Which kind of businesses do you prefer to consult? What kind of support (with or without stock and private equity) do you render?
I work with new businesses that have a vision for long term. I like unique businesses that don't exist elsewhere or that are rare. One of my clients, he builds luxury tree houses, they are extremely expensive and he's booked years in advanced thanks in part to my work. In some cases I'll take an all cash payment, in other cases (especially if the startup has no money) I'll take all stock and I have to tell you, I love that the most. It's exciting to see your shares go from worthless paper, to $1 share, $10 share, $25 share and then go public on the stock market and sold to the highest bidder.
What do you consider the most before getting involved in a small business startup?
When I was young and dumb it was all about the money and that gave me nothing but heartache and stress. Now I think about my happiness and my relationship with the client. I'd like to make money, but I'd also like to build a friendship. I'd like my client to reach or surpass their goal but I'd also like to enjoy the entire process.
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