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The Financial Express

Taking the unconventional route in a crowded city

| Updated: August 18, 2022 15:38:19


The team of Wire, a digital marketing agency, with its founder and CEO Sabbir Islam (third from right, standing) The team of Wire, a digital marketing agency, with its founder and CEO Sabbir Islam (third from right, standing)

What exactly makes a business's success noteworthy? In an era where everyone hops on the bandwagon, is it really possible to take a different route? The industry of digital marketing agencies will make you believe that it is the gap in the market that can be the best opportunity in any industry. Nonetheless, the route is not smooth but bumpier than usual. We are talking about Wire, a 360-degree digital multimedia marketing agency that focuses on supporting SMEs in their challenging journey.
Currently operating in three regions of the country and two abroad, Wire is a big agency now with more than 60 members and a larger number of 200+ clients. The persistent determination of its CEO Sabbir Islam and the contribution of all other members along the way have brought Wire to where it is now.
So, how did Sabbir take the risky step of taking the unconventional route in the crowded city of digital marketing? Let's go back to 2015 for that.
Sabbir Islam, never mediocre in whatever he does: A 15-year-old O-level student was fascinated by his brother's coding and loved the pop culture. He went ahead with his friends to make a website named youthsparks.com which showcased underground music, movies, and art films and took lowkey concerts as media partners. This website was not just a whim since Sabbir managed a team of 18 here and later on a major telecom company bought off their content for their own lifestyle app. In the process, Sabbir learnt how to proficiently use WordPress and Joomla which later on helped him a lot.
At this stage, he had to apply for BUET since it was a family legacy. He eventually got in but he could not pursue his passion in CSE rather he had to choose Civil Engineering. Six months into it, he figured out that he had no interest in this subject no matter how hard he studied.
As he was unable to change his study area after this while, he shifted his focus in life to entrepreneurship. That teenage dream of doing something new sparked in him and he went for a food cart business named ‘Cinamon Sugar’ which became popular. Meanwhile, he took a part-time job in a digital marketing agency where he learnt the nitty gritty of the digital marketing industry. Unfortunately, his food cart got confiscated so he lost the growth in that industry.
Just when he was thirsty for another new venture, a job offer changed his life and gave birth to his dream startup company.
How Wire got wired up: Sabbir got a job offer from a renowned digital marketing company at Gulshan. But it was an impossible deal for him since BUET was so far away from Gulshan. That is when his best friends told him, "Let's start something like this ourselves. " Needless to say, this was the beginning of the journey of Wire.
With a capital of Tk 120,000 gathered from tuitions and savings of all the partners, they started their operations and client acquisition in a warehouse at Panthapath, Dhaka. Although they were providing impressive services satisfying their clients, they were unable to grow. During that crisis, Sabbir asked two of his Wire teammates if they were interested in buying a share of this business. They were interested and they joined him as partners. Due to feasibility and financial hardship, Wired ditched the office and started working remotely.
How clients become happily wired: In the oversaturated market of digital marketing agencies, he discovered the untapped potential of SMEs. The motto of Wire was "service first" and they already gained a name for themselves by matching their service level with top agencies.
With all the consistent effort and quality assurance, Wire started to receive huge client orders which made them take an office space again. Basically, Wire's growth was huge during that period, expanding to Chattogram and Sylhet.
"Working with Wire since 2018 for my brand Hakka Dhaka has been a blast! They are never short on creative energy and are never tired enough to cater to our needs! What I love most about them is that they genuinely care about my brand and are always working by themselves to make it progress," says a famous restauranter and a happily Wire client Shah Faisal Naved.
Wire is serving more than 120 SMEs, mostly in the food and hospitality industry including Hakka Dhaka, 138 East, Tarka, Chomok (Ctg), White Rabbit (Ctg), etc., and brands from big groups like Minister Group, ACI Motors, Photon, Citizen Cables, etc.
Dreaming even bigger every day: Sabbir believes that when humans are complacent, they stop achieving. That is why Sabbir is dreaming even bigger every single day. Alongside Wire, he is putting his entrepreneurial mind into a stealth mode HR startup. Along with some partners, he is working on the idea of utilising the main resource of Bangladesh, its human resource in the right places. In the current market, manufacturing companies and many other businesses including startups require skilled blue-collar workers but struggle to onboard them despite the existence of a huge workforce seeking jobs.
This project already enlisted 12 thousand blue-collar workers, and rated them according to their skills and experiences, and plans to place them in suitable places. Right now, the project is working on the technological side of building an app-based solution which will be launched soon.
Sabbir is an active investor in different businesses and likes to trade commodities and get involved in exciting projects. Well, Sabbir does not see himself taking a halt and settling down. His first dream venture Wire has already crossed borders and started operations in Europe and Australia and looking for opportunities in the North American market. On the other hand, the other startup also calls for huge potential in the Bangladeshi market. Sabbir wants to continue his work in enabling youth in the job market, creating opportunities, and executing futuristic ideas.
Definitely, being an entrepreneur in Bangladesh is a highly difficult endeavour. For youth business aspirants, Sabbir shares some learnings he got from his journey: keeping legal documents and trade licence is important if you want to expand the business beyond the web, focusing on financials in the initial days is crucial, hiring smartly and valuing the right skills go a long way and most importantly, even when choosing co-partners in business from friends and family is easy, it is better not to go for a partner who does not have a clear goal and dedication towards that goal.

The writer is a third-year BBA student at IBA, University of Dhaka.
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