Md Samim Khan, Khulna
Bismillah Store

I completed my master’s degree back in 2015. I was hoping to get a decent job and make my living through that. However, I did not get the job offers I was looking for, and it was a painful experience. Yet, life had different plans for me. My father encouraged me to get into business. I was a bit reluctant at first, but later on, I understood that this journey could be challenging but at the same incredibly rewarding as well. So, with the inception of the Bismillah store in 2016, my days as an entrepreneur began.

I was terribly broken during my one year of unemployment. In those troubling times, my family supported me without any question. They understood my situation and gave me the necessary push to get back on my feet. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me through the years. My wife also guides me to be on the right track and supports me unconditionally. 

In 2016, I started my store with books, stationery, and cosmetics items. The reason behind choosing such products as a new entrepreneur was the demand I observed among the people. On the other hand, I saw there were very few stores that sold books and cosmetics in our area. Customers back then used to commute a long distance to buy those products. So, I figured out that this untapped market was the perfect place for me to start. And my assumption was right. My sales were very good from the beginning and I did not face any problems at that time.

Although like any other business, there are always some challenges that I have to face every now and then, the income stays relatively stable. After a year and a half of a successful run, I decided to add daily grocery items to my shop. I understood the risk of adding these products as they are widely available throughout my locality. I knew I could make a profit out of these products and went ahead with my plan. I was not proven wrong. Everything was going pretty well for the time being. I also started fish culture that gave me a new stream of revenue.

I was hoping that my business would get bigger and bigger as the days passed. However, the deadly coronavirus put a halt to my hopes and dreams for almost two years. The first few months were very hard as there was no demand for books or cosmetics. I was barely getting by with the sales of the grocery items. My fish production was also suffering due to the abnormally increased price. My situation began to improve when the lockdown was lifted.

In 2021, the pandemic situation started to improve, and I thought of searching for new ideas and propositions. I came across the project LightCastle SME Blended Capital supported by OXFAM. As a part of this investment project, I had to attend training sessions that made me understand bookkeeping and business management skills more deeply. It also gave me a platform to network and share my experiences with other entrepreneurs like me. Now, my plan is to add more products to my shop and manage the small fish business more effectively. Keeping my faith in the Almighty, I move forward without looking back.

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