Compiled by Pirah Aijaz
Almost everyone thinks of starting their own business these days since the emergence of covid-19. And the majority of people often gravitate toward the food business, because it has a wider scope in Pakistan. Today, starting an online food business isn’t too difficult. Internet access allows people to run and market their businesses from home.
Women entrepreneurs always face a tougher time earning a place within the world of business leaders. Moreover, it is even more challenging for women who aspire to become successful businesspeople in a country like Pakistan.
According to the latest research, there are only 1% of women in Pakistan are entrepreneurs, compared with 21% of men. The business idea of preparing homemade food and making it available to people far from home with very low investment can turn out to be a very highly profitable business idea within Pakistan.
Ms. Roohina Khalid, a mother of three & grandmother, has been managing her home-based food business ‘Roohina Cuisine’ since 2010, delivering food in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. She is good at making Desi food, Hyderabadi food, Continental, Chinese & Italian food including cookies. Her passion for cooking and baking led her to become a food entrepreneur.
1- We would like to hear from you about your food business venture and how you got started. Also, tell us about your inspiration for developing the idea.
Getting inspiration from my late mother who was a great cook, I started my home-based food business in 2010 by focusing primarily on Hyderabadi cuisine that everyone loves. It was easy for me to develop the idea of starting my home-based food business as preparing delicious Hyderabadi dishes is my food specialty.
2- Why did you decide to start your own business in this field? What fascinated you to become a food entrepreneur?
Rather than spending free time, I wanted to do something in my life. For starting my own business, my friends and family supported and encouraged me to pursue it, and I decided to become a food entrepreneur.
3- You manage everything all by yourself, how do you do that? What time management strategies, do you use?
The process of managing time and doing everything on my own is very challenging, but I still enjoy it. Since I started my business, I haven’t hired a helper, so I’ve been working alone. I just take two days of preparation to prepare orders for my clients.
The reason is that R&D is our core focus. SANSO works within its own R&D centers and own production facility and departments equipped with cutting-edge technology. It has experts which are needed in the market and creates a market for those products and techs which aren’t even thought of. So we feel we are different from our competitors because of our in-depth work in R&D to make technology available to everyone at the lowest prices but without compromising on quality.
4- Could you please tell us what strategies did you first use to market your business?
Mostly, I market my business and culinary services on social media platforms, such as; Facebook Groups, Facebook Page, and WhatsApp Business. Using these platforms for marketing is convenient for me and I found them very helpful throughout my business venture.
5- Could you please tell us what failure means to you?
If I see Sanso’s journey which was full of rejections, failures, losses, and then success, it was a rollercoaster. My husband who has always inspired me, says one thing, there is ‘no such thing as Failure’, its actual experience, and experience makes you successful. I second that too, so for me – There is no Failure, only experiences that can be used as a ladder towards perfection and success with maturity.
5- Everyone faces hurdles in growing their business since the emergence of covid-19 outbreak. Would you mind telling us about the biggest challenge you faced? And what steps did you take to overcome?
Since the emergence of Coronavirus-19, I have observed that I have gotten many orders, but also food prices have increased because of the pandemic. Nowadays, prices have up between 24% to 44% for even the basic necessary food items and groceries we need.
6- How do you define success & failure?
For me, success is something you are doing for your own self or achieving some milestones. Likewise, starting ‘Roohina’s Cuisine’ gives real satisfaction to my soul and I call it one of my greatest life achievements.
On the other hand, people consider failure as a lack of accomplishing goals. In fact, the problem is that failure can be read in a number of different ways. Failure is defined as a lack of success or an inability to meet expectations. But for me, failure means ‘Give Another Try’ and don’t give up, no matter what the situation is. That’s what I believe.
7- What aspect of ‘Roohinas Cuisine’ most feeds your soul?
Roohina’s Cuisine is my love and cooking is my passion. It is what I love doing most. When it comes to my sense of soul satisfaction, I would say preparing Hyderabadi cuisine for my clients and getting appreciation from them is the most fulfilling feeling I have.
8- We have learned so much from the ongoing pandemic, could you please share, what was the most valuable lesson you learned in the past years while managing your business?
The emergence of coronavirus-19 made me realize to be prepared for the unexpected. It helped me to learn a lot from the emerging digital and technology trends as the world has become more and more digital. The ongoing pandemic forced us to be ready for anything and it’s the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned in the past years.
9- Where do you see yourself in the next year? What are your expectations for your food venture that you want to accomplish in the coming year?
In the future, I am planning to introduce a variety of new cuisines and will deliver nationwide as currently, I deliver within Islamabad and Rawalpindi. I’m sure whatever my Creator has planned for me would be a perfect move.
10- What is the best piece of advice you would give to aspiring food entrepreneurs?
“Be sure not to lose your standards and do your work with passion”.