Organisation — the Key to Success
In May, Elise & Pedro of Vesuvio Labs met Naufal Zamir, CEO and founder of “Simple Transfer”. This is a B2B2C cross-border money remittance white-label platform, flexibly enabling third party businesses to provide their own-branded money transfer services.
Naufal is an award-winning, founder, CEO and board member of several enterprises. As a qualified Barrister-at-Law, his legal background has been pivotal to his success. His analytical approach to business, the ability to build and nurture key relationships, and the creation of innovative solutions & strategic alliances has made him stand out from the rest. Naufal is certainly no stranger to regulations.
Naufal’s essential maxim is organisation & order. True to this character and approach, the interview reflected his forward-looking and well-structured mindset.
Elise first asked Naufal how he managed the working at home regime caused by the CV19 restrictions? He replied, “working from home under the current lockdown has been quite interesting. I took a positive view and realised that the best part was that I just didn’t need to attend as many meetings. It has enabled me to re-assess how to spend my time to its maximum effect. For example, I often spent up to 30% of my time researching what new people I should contact and how they should best be engaged. This is still important but now is the time to focus much more on getting the most from the partnerships we already have. This alone means that I have a significant amount of my time free to focus on the key issues that will make a difference. With these changes the focus and the results are fantastic”.
Naufal continued, “Everybody is roughly in the same situation and of course we don’t spend time on commuting or doing as much shopping as before. So, we find ourselves able to focus and to examine more critically, all aspects of our business. This provides the opportunity to think clearly, to simplify and deepen innovative ideas and frankly, the process helps remove any excuses otherwise limiting ways to get things done.”
Asked about the challenging aspects of WFH, Naufal immediately identified how he has been able to successfully balance work time from personal life and the dividing line between them. These, he felt, have become more difficult to recognise but remain vital to the maintenance of a healthy and productive balance. “I am fortunate,” Naufal said, “having my own studio, where I can work; this really helps me preserve a sense of difference.” Naufal further reinforces the work-related elements of WFH by taking the opportunity to dress smartly for on-line meetings. “We can separate working hours by wearing much the same as we used to. It feels good to turn on the camera and show off a nice jacket”, he said, adding, “also dressing up really changes your mood and as an entrepreneur I need to smile.”
Naufal acknowledged, “Recruiting is probably the biggest challenge for us. When you recruit new staff, you must, of course, train them. However, hiring from a different location makes remote monitoring and training more difficult and lengthier. In addition, it is a significant challenge to convey and instil the culture of a company from a distance.
Every organisation has a sort of rhythm; a history; a memory if you like; anecdotes about its people; its offices and surroundings. All this, including the dress code, tells a recruit a lot about what is expected.” Naufal perceptively added, “all that cultural environment is having to be substituted, remotely, by other maybe quite small things. These hopefully go in the direction of the company culture, but virtual is never quite the same.”
Pedro and Elise enquired of Naufal to compare his WFH experience to the pre CV19 working environment. Naufal had an interesting reply, “the biggest difference is that you might have some distraction at the office, particularly if it is a co-working space. There can be meetings in progress while you are working on another project. From a time-management perspective, it is important to keep focus when lots of things are happening around you.”
He added, “while working from home, nobody has any excuse to not finish their stuff, which is a positive thing. The downside is that there may be a lack of new ideas, that spark of genius and all the good things that happen when you meet new people in a co-working space environment. You have to guard against that, by allowing yourself blue-sky time and use your online meetings to foster creativity.”
Regarding the question, how do you manage WFH during Ramadan, Pedro probed? “The purpose of Ramadan Is to reflect, grow good habits and the purpose of fasting is to increase our God-consciousness. Those who fast is supposed to be at the best of behaviours during this month”, Naufal replied and went on to say, “this is particularly challenging because the daylight is now 16 to 18 hours long per day.
I always wanted to do Ramadan working from home, I never had the ability to manage it before, but this time I am forced to do it and very happy to be WFH this month. In the future, I will try and work from home during the month of Ramadan and allow others to do the same. One thing that is abundantly clear, working from home is not working less or working fewer hours (Elise noted that this was something already mentioned in a previous article covering Ed Ventham of Paragon), working from home means that you are working as efficiently as you need to be and ensuring things are getting done. Personally, I think it is a good outcome; I can manage work, family time, prayers and my timing much better. Gives me space and time to have power naps when my brain is not alert and function well.”
Now Elise posed the big question. “What will it be like to return to work in an office adapted for the Corona situation?” Naufal said in reply, “It will take some time to come back to normal, and normal will not be close to what it used to be. Obviously, people will have to face the problem of physical distancing. They will devise some way of working, meeting, and maybe even taking refreshments together whilst maintaining an appropriate distance. Luckily, our co-working space seems to be ready to cope with the outbreak, so any adaption in the office space may be a minor issue for us compared to other companies.”
“Frankly,” Naufal believed, “some businesses will simply not be able to come back at all or at least in their previous form. What I fear most, perhaps, is that some companies will reflect on their CV19 experience and realise that they do not need as many people working as before. Although it is not the case for us (Simple Transfer), it may be quite a change for some other companies to manage.”
Concluding on a high note, Naufal anticipated, “there will be many new opportunities arising in this new business environment, start-ups, new products, new services. They will all help take make up the fallout. So overall, whatever normal may be, I look forward to the future”.
Elise and Pedro would like to thank Naufal Zamir, of Simple Transfer, for his cooperation during this interview and the stimulating views he shared.
An online white-label platform for businesses to offer fintech services to their customers. Simple Transfer partners with international companies which would like to have a foothold in the foreign remittance space by having a presence in the sending side of the market.
Naufal Zamir has been an award-winning founder, CEO. As a qualified Barrister-at-aw, Law he thinks out of the box compared to his business associates and used his legal knowhow to support many of his successes. His inspiring, open-minded approach to leadership, combined with his energetic enthusiasm and extensive board experiences, means that he is the perfect candidate for any board wishing to profit from his successes.
Here are just some of his achievements:
- Award-winning founder & CEO: Sunday Times Tech Track 100 fastest growing tech company list 2011 (13th) and 2012 (21st).
- Founded Zamir Telecom, which peaked at $47m revenue (2012). Managed a quarter of international inbound traffic to Bangladesh (25m minutes / $300k revenue p/d).
- Achieved $100m+ revenue in 12 years from scratch
- Built, operated & maintained telecom infrastructure for international voice gateways for Bangladesh & Nigeria. Acted as a partner to aggregate traffic, leading to its successful execution.
- First-ever international calling card provider that enabled customers to view call detail records (CDR) online (simplecall.com). Led the movement towards a transparent calling industry.
- Founded and leads businesses in the Fintech, telecoms, sales & distribution sectors.
Vesuvio Labs is a Venture builder based in London for the Insurance and Finance sector, helping entrepreneurs by accelerating the process of turning their ideas into scalable products through our flexible, low-code software architecture.
In addition, we can connect entrepreneurs with investors, tax & legal advisors and to the wider tech ecosystem.