Najmi Muhammad is a bit of a jack of all trades in the financial world. A Certified General Accountant, a real estate agent, a mortgage agent and a licensed insurance agent, Najmi provides his clients with a one-stop shop for a variety of needs. He provides services to individuals and corporations, successfully heading two companies of his own.
Najmi is a graduate of the University of Karachi in Pakistan, where he lived before relocating to Canada. Najmi Muhammad started working full-time for himself in 1999 after many years of working as an accountant or bookkeeper for someone else. There was little time left in the day when he held those positions and he knew he could bring a more personal experience for his clients.
With any spare time, Najmi Muhammad was dedicated to learning. No matter what, he spent four hours each day on his education. When a new opportunity arose, he would find a class that would teach him how to add the skills to his repertoire.
Najmi lives in Markham, Ontario in Canada with his wife and three children. He enjoys the quality time he has with them now. He also gives his time to a local nonprofit called CRC, which focuses on providing services and education to women and children.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I had already been an accountant before I moved to Canada. I’d worked for several years in a sugar mill. I have always been in the financial world, in some capacity. My wife and I wanted the adventure of moving somewhere new and building a better life. When we got here, I educated myself on the local tax laws so that I could continue working in the industry. When I had a proper understanding, I began taking on clients part-time while working in other positions full-time.
How do you make money?
I charge a fee for every return I complete. I also offer bookkeeping services and charge for that as well. I’ve branched into real estate and have done well there. All that I offer is service-based, so I charge for the time I put in.
With the real estate, I have had great success while the economy was doing well. That is an industry that can be difficult. I have gotten awards as a top seller more than once. I charge a fee for those services also.
I also provide mortgage services to my clients. When clients buy property from me, I arrange the mortgage for them too.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Because I had such a low cost output from the start, I saw a profit immediately. I would say within the first month. I work in so many different fields, I am someone my clients can come to for a variety of services. When I was doing this still part-time, I saw decent returns. As I grew more well-known in the area, I was able to stop working full-time for someone else and put all my energy into my own business.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Because of the experience I had and my appetite to learn, I never really had a moment where I doubted it would work out. I continually educate myself on everything I do, whether it’s insurance, real estate, or taxes. I spread out my learning, taking specific courses when I needed to. It was another way for me to expand my services without adding too much overhead all at once.
How did you get your first customer?
My very first customer responded to a flyer I had put up with the little tags you could pull off. I actually got that call just a day or so after I’d put the fliers out. That customer is still with me to this day. We do things a little differently now, via phone and email, but she has been with me since day one.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I have only recently begun to look into marketing for my business. All of my current customers are from word of mouth. I began with just a couple hundred and now my client load is between 600 to 700.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I am grateful that I haven’t had any really difficult decisions to make recently. I have just been doing what I have always done. It has worked well for me and I continue to grow.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I work hard and don’t take on too much. When I accept a job for a client, I follow through until completion before intake on another task. It’s important to me that my clients know they can trust my dedication and that I will be available. I want them to have the attention they deserve.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I don’t have just one because what I find the most satisfying is any time I have finished a project and see how satisfied my client is with the work I’ve done. I enjoy every time I hear thank you from someone who I have helped.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about growing more and learning more. I realize the necessity in keeping up with current trends and the real estate market.
What business books have inspired you?
I have always been more hands on than a reader. When I feel I need to learn about something, I find a course on the subject as opposed to sitting down with a book. It’s another way for me to stay current.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
I recently hired a marketing company to promote my services. We’re just starting to work with each other, so we will see how it goes with time. I am looking forward to seeing how it works out.