Naeem Zafar’s 7 steps to a Successful Startup

May 6, 2009 at 9:06 am 15 comments

fullframeNaeem Zafar is a Pakistani who has gained a lot of respect both inside Pakistan and outside the country. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkley where he teaches Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Haas School of Business. We are fortunate that he travels to Pakistan often and delivers lectures at universities across the country – including IBA, CBM, LUMS and NUST. He is also involved (as a member of OPEN) in the MIT Enterprise Forum initiative that was launched in Pakistan  3 years ago and has therefore been a great mentor for many of the small to mid-sized companies in the Pakistan IT sector.

Naeem has worked in Silicon Valley for many startups, serving as the president and CEO of three of them.  He also served as a member of the Board of Directors or as a Board advisor for several startups and small companies.

I have had the privilege of meeting him a few times and he is as modest as he is accomplished. A great motivator and a totally down-to-earth individual.

Thanks to Babar Bhatti for pointing us to the e-book that Naeem has launched titled “7 steps to a Successful Startup”.

A quick look at the Table of Contents tells you that it is indeed a book that would be useful for someone who is considering quitting her/his day job and going the entrepreneurial route.

Are you an entrepreneur, asks Naeem in his first chapter? What are the essential steps every entrepreneur needs to take starting with Step Zero (did you know there was such a thing?).greg-version

The other steps ask you these questions:

1. What is the unmet need?
2. How big is this market?
3. Can we create differential market positioning?
4. How will I make money and who will pay me?
5. Why us?
6. Why now?

The book ends with chapters that ask these questions:
The End – or is it the beginning?
How will I know when I am ready?

For answers, to all these questions, go read the book :).

A pdf version of the book can be downloaded from here

Note to myself & Rabia: Must get Naeem on ITLoW when he is here next.

Entry filed under: Posts.

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15 Comments Add your own

  • Naeem Zafar’s 7 steps to a Successful Startup…

  • 2. Faraz Hoodbhoy  |  May 6, 2009 at 10:32 am

    So I can attest to the value of Naeem Zafar’s mentoring. He’s been my mentor for several years and i can honestly say without his guidance, PixSense might have ever come into being. So, while i haven’t read the book (didn’t even know he was writing one!) I’d recommend it, assuming its anything like Naeem. If you get a chance to hear him speak in public, do go. you’ll actually learn something (i did).



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  • 4. Khurram  |  May 6, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Naeem took few sessions to share his 7 steps of innovation with LUMS MBA students. Though, i haven’t read the book but I remember his framework and methodology from session. I will read the book 🙂 and highly recommend young enterprenuers reading it.

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  • 7. faizuddin  |  May 6, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    There are four very crucial principles for the startups:
    1. What ever they start up with should be the first of its kind product / service (The law of leadership)

    2. If they are not the first ones to start in a particular category, then they should create a new category and be first in that. For IT startups this could mean not developing the “me-too” kind of solutions (The law of category)

    3. Its better to be first in the minds of your customer then the marketplace. This could mean proper formal procedure from presenting a concept, getting its intellectual rights and then coming up with the product / solution. This could also mean that if you are not the first in your category, then your branding should out do others (The law of mind)

    4. Resource planning for any startup is absolutely critical. Without proper usage and allocation of different resources to various functions, business continuity will be sooner oir later in doldrums (The law of resources)

  • 8. Talha Izhar  |  May 6, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    @Faiz: intellectual rights?? In Pakistan???

  • 9. Talha Izhar  |  May 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I have just downloaded the book will be reading it soon. I hope to see a few points on starting out in Pakistan without any presence in US.

  • 10. Obaid Ahmed  |  May 6, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    No offence, I know he is a great mentor and from what I have read about him online, I am actually looking forward to meeting him in near future. BUT.. the website for his e-book is horribly done. It doesn’t do justice to the book itself. The website feels like a spam site, you know those “get rich in 24 hours” site…

    Anyone here who has his email address, so I can contact him regarding that and more?

    btw, the book is a really good read (so far). I will post my review on my blog soon.

  • 11. Babar  |  May 7, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Obaid – his email is on that website actually!

  • 12. Babar  |  May 7, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Jehan – thanks for posting this.

  • 13. faizuddin  |  May 8, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Man! I have been trough a few pages only and it is already rocking….won’t wait till Monday to finish it…

  • 14. Obaid Ahmed  |  May 9, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    @Babar, Yup i found that one, I was wondering if that is his “official” email or just the one for the book feedback only. 🙂 i will contact him on that addy.. thanks

  • 15. Arsalaan Haleem  |  May 11, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    A great read and excellent advice that book imparts. I say that this should be a must-read for all new, budding entrepreneurs.


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