Asma Sarfaraz never thought she would set up a business that deals in Desi and Continental cuisine. However, her financial conditions prompted her to pursue this path as she always liked experimenting with contemporary desserts and savory food items.
When Asma identified that cooking & baking could not only be a passion but a key to her possible success, she decided to start her catering business from home where she dealt with small orders coming from her friends, family and neighbors. When asked about her first business, Asma recalls:
'I used to bake and cook before but due to constant mismanagement in my business, I couldn't run it effectively. After joining the Business Incubation Program for Women Home-based workers, I realized why my business kept on failing despite the relentless time and effort that I put into.'
Asma worked on her business for almost 2 years but failed to make a significant success which put her into constant distress. She realized, after joining the program that some of the reasons why it kept failing was that she wasn't focused on her target audience and used to do all her tasks herself. Asma used to perform most of the tasks herself from preparation of food items to delivering it to the end customer and often could not take bigger orders because of this.
Joining the Business Incubation Program for Women Home-based Workers funded by USAID under its Gender Equity Program (GEP) was a life-changing experience for Asma. It not only changed her personally by it also helped her start her business again despite previous failures. Asma feels that she is better equipped with handling business operations now that she understands the consequences of the absence of a business team. She has now taken her husband and brother on board and delegates the delivery-related and order-booking tasks to her male family members so that she can focus better on her cooking. Asma has observed a 50% increase in her revenues and believes that a major cause of this is the learnings from this program.
Asma came up with a brand name for her business during her classes at IBA and decided to call it 'Khatta Meetha at Home'. Khatta Meetha at Home has successfully structured from a one-man show business to a structured business with clear roles and responsibilities.
Personality wise, not only she observes a significant change in her confidence levels but her family also feels that Asma has gone through a positive transformation in her mindset towards herself and her business. She is now more comfortable dealing with her customers and answering their queries.
Khatta Meetha at Home now targets a different audience than before,that has helped her gain broader channel for her product sales. Asma says:
'Now I engage in focused marketing by targeting school and college canteens. I do not get much orders from online mediums but I'm getting a good response from these canteens so far. After the program ended. I even approached IBA CED's canteen and provided them with food samples so that I could tap into the wide market of university students. Now I am currently awaiting a response from their side so that I could make the required arrangements.'
Asma feels that her family's support has been instrumental for her growth. Had it not been for her brother and husband's support, Asma would not have joined the training program that has today helped see her bright future.