DUBAI: It was in times of adversity that a Pakistani businessman in Dubai found his true calling.
The world was grappling with the 2009 recession when 37-year-old Muhammed Zeeshan Hussain decided to set up his own e-commerce platform specializing in office automation products.
With an initial investment was AED500, he started developing his company’s website from the confines of his bedroom. Today, Zeeshan’s company, DubaiMachines.com, which he co-founded with a friend, Arghuman-e-Muhammad, boasts of a net income of AED4.5 million accumulated in the last few years.
“Big companies were going out of business in 2009, and sales of electronic items were plummeting. It was in this context that I saw an untapped market in online sales and decided to capitalize on the opportunity,” Zeeshan told Arab News on Friday.
The young entrepreneur also noticed that most companies selling automation products were only trying to engage big businesses, not appreciating the immense market potential that small and medium businesses offered.
Despite finding these strategic gaps, it took Zeeshan a couple of years to get his business up and running.
“I registered the domain for $10 and spent about $20 or $30 to market products on Google,” he recalled. “The struggle was real. I would sit outside the offices of huge companies and wait for their managers to give me their price lists. It was a very tough time, but it also taught me a lot.”
On February 12, 2013, the company got its first big order of AED8,000 for a small projector.
“This was the turning point which raised my confidence and motivated me,” he said, adding that there was no looking back after that.
Zeeshan got his company’s website developed by freelancers from Pakistan and, by the end of 2013, his company’s annual revenue stood at AED1.5million – with all business done from home.
“We now have a small showroom in Dubai Silicon Oasis and an office in Karachi with 25 back office staff as well as a digital marketing section,” he said.
DubaiMachines.com has now partnered with manufacturers like Epson, BenQ, Panasonic, LG and NEC. The e-commerce platform has about 51,000 different products.
“Our company has become an incubation zone for many other firms that use it as their launch pad,” he informed, adding that his business was now receiving an average order size of AED20,000 to AED25,000.
“In 2019, we had an annual sales revenue of AED15 million with an yearly growth of 11.3 percent,” he continued.
Despite the financial impact on world businesses due to COVID-19, DubaiMachines.com has done well.
“Except for the month of April, we have exceeded our targets due to the shift in demand for products such as thermal scanners and sanitization tunnels,” Zeeshan said.
He also pointed out that he believed in providing opportunities to Pakistani youth.
“Young people in our country need to be equipped with modern techno-behavioral skills and adopt a more career-oriented approach to face the competition coming from international workforce,” he opined.
His company is now using Emirates Post as its logistical partner and is catering to the entire Middle East and several African markets. Its next goal is to expand its footprint in Central Asia and the Far East.