Mohammad Salman has come a long way from a past life spent working in electrical shops and doing other odd jobs to support his family. Having lost his father at a young age, the 30-year-old entrepreneur’s journey is nothing short of an inspiration to never give up, and ultimately achieve his dream of solving complex problems with the simplest of solutions.
While he never pictured himself as an entrepreneur, he describes himself as having been “on the normal person track.”
“All I ever knew was to go get a job and work for somebody else as most people do,” Salman says. But, when the college graduate did not find any work after graduation, he started working in an electrical shop where he received on-the-job training.
“Since I was a child, I have loved tinkering with all things electric,” Salman says. “So this was a natural extension of that childhood curiosity, mixed with a practical belief that there just had to be a better solution.”
It was the right choice for Salman, but that didn’t mean it was easy. Learning a trade and getting on-site experience meant some very long days. “Sometimes I would work from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm without any breaks.”
It was tough, but that equipped Salman with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to carry out the work safely and successfully.
But, Salman admits that he was just sick of helping build someone else’s business, and wanted to work for himself and do more for the community in terms of solving everyday problems.
“When you’ve aced your apprenticeship training, and have got loads of experience under your belt, that’s when you’re ready to take the next step – starting your own electrical business,” says Salman.
And that’s how he set up his own electrical shop, AK Electronics, two years ago.
At the moment, while he establishes himself, he is happily working six days a week. He says that it’s important to take on as many contracts as he can, while there is a big demand for his skills.
Salman acknowledges his technical knowledge and business acumen—gained via his apprenticeship and work in the field—as the foundation of his success. “Though others have done it, I think it would be very difficult to start an electrical business without actually being an electrician,” he says.
Salman also credits a large part of his success to Khatabook, which he has been using soon after he opened his shop. He says that Khatabook is arguably the most popular bookkeeping app, and it has created an entirely new template that helps him track and manage transactions and keep accurate and timely accounting records.
“The bottom line is that bookkeeping mistakes can be costly, but with Khatabook there is no scope for such errors,” adding that the app is irresistible and irreplaceable for customers.
Speaking about the app’s top features, he says “’Khatabook provides great features for payment reminders. And this has helped me immensely as it has ensured a 3X faster return of outstanding payments. Moreover, I can record all transactions and maintain a digital record. I can also track business transactions safely and securely, collect online payments, and send periodic reminders to creditors via SMS and WhatsApp.”
Scheduling payments, sending detailed weekly or monthly reports, and sharing payment links and QR codes are some of the app’s other features that he admires.
How did Salman discover Khatabook?
“Well, I had heard of Khatabook even before I set up my shop. I had also read up about its cofounder, Ravish Naresh. It was interesting to know that coming from a business background, Ravish had experienced the problem that he was trying to solve. And that is precisely what is required to become a great entrepreneur.”
He adds that the idea that traditional khata can be replaced by digital khata is incredible. “It is helping me to think big by giving me the space and time to work on various ideas, and not get bogged down with tedious accounting works.”
What’s Next for Salman?
Being an electrician and having a fair understanding of the detail-oriented nature of electrical work, and having experienced the problem of long power cuts in his village, Salman is hoping to solve a major problem affecting millions like him: That of 24-hour uninterrupted power supply.
“My mission is to ensure that the community I live in has access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity.”
Salman believes that even small business owners like him must take an active role in electricity initiatives as after the pandemic, India needs electricity now more than ever, as it is an essential part of innovation, progress, and life.
“Access to electricity should be a basic human right, and that is what I want to ensure for the community,” he emphasizes.
Salman feels enabling a community of local homegrown businesses is where he relate to Khatabook the most.