Ans: Burhani is an award-winning Managed IT Services & Business Technology Solutions provider based in Dubai, UAE and with a branch office in Mumbai, India.
For over 14+ years, we have been helping Small & Mid-Sized companies in Dubai & the greater UAE to leverage the power of cutting edge technology to achieve High Performance & Exponential Growth.
Some of our core areas of expertise are : IT Support & Managed Services, Cloud Backup, Disaster Recovery, New Office IT Setup, Cloud Services and Digital Marketing.
We are the first CompTIA premier member in the Middle East and were recently recognized as the #1 Ranked Managed Services Provider in the UAE by MSPMentor2017.
Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: My name is Qusai Yusuf, founder & CEO of Burhani. I have steered this business from humble beginnings 14 years ago into one of the leading IT support services companies in the UAE.
Q 3. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: When I first came to Dubai in 2002, I saw a very clear need for high quality and affordable IT services for Small & Mid-Sized businesses.
At the time, some of the more established IT Service providers in the market were charging exorbitant fees & were not really delivering similar value to the market. The sad part is that since the customer did not know better, they kept on paying high premiums for substandard services.
On the other side of the spectrum, there were a large number of freelancers who were working at way below market rates, however, as you can guess, 9 times out of 10 – they were never reachable when a genuine emergency came up and often ended up causing more problems than before.
It is my firm belief that business is all about service & relationships. In fact, most of our clients today go back with us since our inception and it gives me great satisfaction in seeing them grow by leaps and bounds to dominate their respective industries.
Q 4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: 1. Always start with the premise that your business exists to solve a problem for your customers. Focus on serving the customer and success is almost guaranteed.
2. Be patient. We live in a world of ‘quick fixes’. Building a business takes time, effort and personal sacrifices.
3. Invest in good people & build processes. Especially in the Professional Services industry, your product is essentially your people & processes. Hire the best people and empower them to do what it takes to serve your customers.
Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: 1. Execution of a good idea
2. Persistence in the face of adversity
3. Delegation and effective followup
Q 6. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: Unfortunately, I’m a workaholic. Work starts from the time I open my eyes in the morning till the time I go to bed. It’s not uncommon for me to put in 14-17 hours of work per day. However, this is not sustainable and I would highly recommend other budding entrepreneurs to find a better integration of work and life.
Q 7. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: Over the years, I have developed an acute sense of understanding a client’s needs and wants. This helps me truly empathize with their situation and allows me to develop a more suitable solution. Also, I have been fortunate to have a great team without which I could not have executed the vision that I have for this business.
Q 8. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: We have our own Digital Marketing Agency division which is focused on leveraging time-tested and proven Educational Digital Direct Response Marketing strategies to attract high quality sales leads.
Our concept of marketing is about educating our prospects on what’s best for their business. I am strong believer in delivering value upfront – it’s not altruistic. We understand that our prospects are often small business owners who don’t know much about technology and more importantly, have been burnt in the past by shady IT service firms or freelancers.
By giving value in advance, we position ourselves as the experts in the field and who doesn’t want to do business with an expert?
Q 9.Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: We were funded by sweat equity. We are 100% debt free and haven’t had any outside investors in our business from the beginning. I knew from the very start that bootstrapping the business was the only option if I wanted to maintain our high level of service quality.
Outside investors will often want you to do what’s not in your client’s best interest just to make more money. By having no external influences, we are able to advise clients of their best interests – not our own.
Q 10. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: Finding your customer’s most pressing business problems and then committing yourself to solving the same.
Q 11. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: We are seeing a lot of uptake in cloud services in the region. Even though we have been delivering Cloud Based Data Backup & Disaster Recovery services in Dubai, we expect to see more businesses migrating their core line-of-business applications to the cloud for higher scalability.
We are also doubling down on our IT Security practice to help SME’s in Dubai protect theie data from modern threats such as Ransomware.
We aim to be a complete business solutions provider for small and medium businesses across the UAE.
Q 12. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: I greatly admire Zappos. They are a great example of a company which is built on delivering great customer service and solving problems. It’s also noteworthy to study how they implemented and perfected the use of automation & systems to scale their business.
Q 13. How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: Extremely important – we are in the services industry. Our people are our essentially our products. We are very slow to hire and quick to fire when someone does not align with our goal of delivering kick-ass customer service.
Q 14. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: I guess that question needs to be rephrased. An idea is just that – you can’t take an idea to the bank.
The very first thing to do is to run a small experiment to see whether there are enough people with a burning need for what you are planning to offer – and more importantly, whether they are willing to pay top-dollar to get buy that service from you.
A lot of times entrepreneurs fall in love with their next big idea and spend enormous amounts of time and money in building a product / service around it – only to find out that people don’t really want the same.
Q 15. What motivates you?
Ans: I am a person who loves challenges and at the same time, loves giving back. Running a business is hard work and you learn from the many mistakes that you make along the way. It is my goal to try and share my knowledge with other budding entrepreneurs so they don’t necessarily make the same mistakes.
I believe that there is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to business – you simply have to look at what other successful businessmen have done and learn from them.
I get out of bed each morning excited at the prospect of a new day full of challenges and helping our clients succeed.
Q 16. What are your ideals?
Ans: Nothing good ever comes for free. You need to work hard for your dreams. It’s important to want to reach the stars while keeping your feet firmly on the ground. Family comes first – work is never ending and you need to prioritize.
Q 17. How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: By simply keeping an open mind and observing things around me. It’s funny how one can get the best ideas at the oddest times and places. I learnt this from Sir Richard Branson – he still keeps a little diary in his pocket and makes notes of whatever ideas come to him.
Q 18. How do you define success?
Ans: Success is about being in charge of your own destiny. One does not necessarily need to be rich or powerful to be successful. One simply needs to know exactly where he wants to go and work towards that goal. I am also a proponent of simple living.
Q 19. How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: By actively listening to your customers. We have a team of client success managers who regularly meet our clients and ask them about how we can improve their experience. It’s seemingly common sense, yet many business owners simply make assumptions and don’t actually talk to their customers enough.
A happy customer who believes that you care for their views will tell 10 others about you – and that word-of-mouth marketing is the best client acquisition strategy.
Q 20. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: Being able to create something which delivers value consistently to the marketplace. It gives me great satisfaction to hear a client say, ‘you guys listened to our problems when others simply asked us for our business’.
Q 21. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: When we were awarded as the #1 Ranked Managed IT Services Provider in the entire middle east by MSPMentor 2017. It was a recognition of our years of hard work, adherence to international best practices and fanatic customer service.
Q 22. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: I think that people with a ‘service mentality’ are more averse to taking risks and are happy in their comfort zone. One of my business mentors says, ‘comfortable is growth, uncomfortable is death’.
Being ‘business minded’ is all about taking calculated risks and using leverage to scale the business many times over.
Q 23. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans: It may sound clichéd, but we promote a culture of trust, open communication as well as personal accountability. Everyone in the company is empowered to take decisions that help serve the customer better and bring in revenue.
We also have a highly informal office culture with everyone working together as one team. We have been fortunate to have great people and the culture organically built by itself.
Q 24. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q 25. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: I would get expert help early on to advise on areas where I am weak instead of trying to learn everything myself.
Q 26. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: Honestly, there is no such thing as work-life balance. Its more about ‘work-life integration’. While I do spend most of my waking hours thinking of work, I now make it a point to spend dedicated time with my family.
Q 27. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: My greatest fear is fear itself. Fear cripples you and does not allow you to take massive action.
I have made it a point to not procrastinate and act immediately. Once I take action, then fear is no longer the problem.
Q 28. How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: We have moved offices multiple times over the past 14 years to accommodate our growth. We have always tried to select a location with quick access to public transport so we can reach our clients quickly without getting stuck in traffic etc.
Q 29. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: There is no silver bullet or magic formula. You need to put in the work, measure everything & improve consistently.
Q 30. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: I would love to speak with Henry Ford who built an entire industry at a time when no-one believed in motorized vehicles.
Q 31. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans: My parents. They have struggled hard to give me a great education and more importantly excellent values which guide everything I do today.
Q 32. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Ans: I loved reading ‘Think & Grow Rick’ by Napolean Hill.
Q 33. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Ans: There are too many to count. Not getting rid of toxic employees early on is high on the list.
Q 34. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans: By being truthful, taking ownership and doing what it takes to fix the problem and make the client happy. In any service industry, there are bound to be times when a client is unhappy – you simply have to roll up your sleeves and take corrective action as well as learn from your mistakes.
Q 35. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans: I love reading and have a large collection of business books.
Q 36. What makes you happy?
Ans: Being amongst loved ones – specially my kids.
Q 37. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: Family time is on the top of the list. Followed closely by taking care of my own health. I am now correcting these.
Q 38. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Ans: I would ask the question ‘WHY do you what you do?’ And my answer would be, ‘It’s because I truly believe that technology can change people’s lives for the better. It can help them grow their business and dominate their markets’
Company : Burhani™ Managed IT Services
Contact : Mohammed Yusuf
Address : Suite 318, Al Nasr Plaza, Next to Oud Metha Metro
City : Dubai
State : UAE
Zip : 41318
Phone : +97143974392
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org