Work hard and be sure to put your client’s best interest first. The key to success is honesty.
Najmi Muhammad, Certified General Accountant (CGA) and an entrepreneur primarily serving accounting and tax requirements to individuals and corporations. He also specializes in the real estate and mortgage industry.
Najmi Muhammad migrated to Canada from Pakistan. He is a graduate of the University of Karachi located in the City of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. After graduation from the university, he began his career in accounting with a small business. After eight months, he was hired for a better job at sugar mill where he remained for the next seven years prior to his migration.
In 1997, Najmi Muhammad joined H&R Block for training on individualized tax accounting in his new country. Shortly after he and his wife moved to Canada, their daughter was born. Najmi continued to educate himself taking additional courses and certifications. With each certification he earned, he managed to get better jobs. He’d continue to educate himself course by course, certification by certification. He accomplished his courses by disciplining himself to complete four hours of study per day no matter how many hours he put in at work.
As a result, Najmi Muhammad is the owner of two thriving businesses. He has built his accounting firm that serves 30-50 corporate clients and 600-700 individual clients. He also has built his own real estate and mortgage business.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I was working in a tax office. The idea to expand my business to the real estate industry came from a friend. He was also a long-term client as well. I did his taxes every year. He was in the real estate business. He was always encouraging me to get certification for many different aspects of the business. I ended up getting referral after referral from the real estate industry. My commissions were over 100,000 that year. My friend suggested starting my own business at that point. That is how I got started.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts out before I go home. I prepare a list of the things that must be done daily. I put that list in order of priority. I stick to my list until it is complete. If something else should come up that I have to address. I will stop my list and address the issue, and then continue with my list until it is finished. Then, I will make another list for the following day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I think of an idea or if I am presented with a good idea, the first thing that I do is research. When I am satisfied that the idea will be of benefit to us, I will research a little more to see how we can implement the idea. Then I will make it happen.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that we have to work with is technology. If you don’t work with technology, you will be out of business.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that I have is that I am a very hard working person. I am also a very honest person. If you are honest and you are hard working you will succeed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be an honest person. Work hard and be sure to put your client’s best interest first. The key to success is honesty.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe communication can help with any disagreement. I believe that listening is the most important thing to do when you are trying to communicate with someone. It can be at work or it can be at home. Just listen to what others have to say. If both people listen it is good. If you have to, it is okay to agree to disagree.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing that I do repeatedly is to keep my integrity with my work ethics. I work hard. I make sure that I complete everything that has to be done each day. Be honest with your clients at all times. Sometimes client’s may ask you for things that simply cannot be done.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has worked very well for me in the past is to make sure that I am available for my clients at their convenience. If they need me to be in the office before hours, I will come in early. If they need me after office hours, I will wait for them or meet them. I want to meet with them so that they are always comfortable.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I use to spend more time looking for files and paperwork rather than preparing a strategy that will work for my client. But I would find it and work on it until it was complete. I didn’t always file it in the proper place. I overcame it be becoming organized and keeping the right files so I don’t have to spend any time trying to find the paperwork.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would advise that if you want to go into business, make sure you have control of your job. If you will be working while you’re trying to open your own business, be sure that you can handle both jobs. Make sure to learn all the things that you must do or at least wait until you are prepared to do it by yourself.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I donate at least $100 or so to a nonprofit organization. They were going to promote a plan for seniors. It doesn’t matter where you worship. It could be for a church or mosques. Many people are not comfortable giving money to a nonprofit organization. I thought it was money well spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I rely on QuickBooks to run my office. It helps me to stay very productive. I use Microsoft Excel to do all my spreadsheets
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Guides to Effective Public Speaking
What is your favorite quote?
Be honest with all that you do.
• Work hard and be sure to put your client’s best interest first
• Prepare a list of the things that must be done daily.
• Listening is the most important thing to do when you are trying to communicate with someone.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.