Huda Al Benmoussa: Inspiring Blue Sky Payments
Meet Huda Al Benmoussa, the Business Development Country Manager, KSA, PayTabs Group, an online mobile, social, and next-generation payment processing powerhouse for merchants and super merchants.
In 2014, Abdulaziz Fahad Al Jouf, a pioneer for Fintech startups, established PayTabs – the payment processing company after gaining extensive experience founding innovative startup companiesfocused on sales optimization and events management. He started the company with $10,000 and a big idea to enable e-commerce businesses to sell online and collect payments seamlessly. After months of sleepless nights, Abdulaziz pitched his idea to investors, and the rest is history.
Today, PayTabs stands tall as an award-winning payment processing juggernaut. As the first homegrown company to deliver seamless B2B commerce solutions to SMEs, PayTabs has become an early starter in the space of fintech. With the backing of private Saudi investments, PayTabs has developed a full range of game-changing mobile applications, as well as hospitality, governmental, education, airline, travel, transport, and biller solutions, revolutionizing the multi-billion-dollar enterprise market chain in the MENA region.
Major Challenges of the Industry
Huda believes that the MENA region has an abundance of resources that enable the acquisition of exceptional talent from various corners of the globe, ensuring the fulfillment of product development objectives. This distinctive advantage distinguishes the region from others. However, an apparent drawback emerges as companies, driven by their eagerness to expand, tend to overlook the significance of investing in customer insights and research. They fail to envision the ideal user or consumer, which constitutes the crucial initial step in identifying where their concept aligns with the vast ocean of potential customers.
When the Pandemic Acted as a Catalyst
There has been a notable surge in consumer inclination towards digital payments, primarily driven by the advantages of contactless transactions and the convenience they offer, particularly during periods of lockdown. Mandatory lockdowns compelled individuals worldwide to seek solace within the confines of their homes, leading to a significant shift toward online shopping. People turned to ecommerce to fulfill their daily needs, including ordering food, participating in virtual yoga classes, or pursuing remote education. This paradigm shift proved to be a blessing for the e-commerce industry as a whole, with global e-commerce volumes soaring by more than 40% during the pandemic. PayTabs, too, witnessed the positive impact of this phenomenon on its business growth and expansion plans. The company experienced an unprecedented influx of merchants signing up, particularly during the peak of the pandemic. Remarkably, the healthcare sector demonstrated a heightened interest in transitioning online, as pharmacies sought to swiftly reach their customers with essential products such as masks and sanitizers, which remained in high demand for over two years and continue to play a crucial role even now.
Providing Equal Opportunities
PayTabs prides itself on being an employer that upholds equal opportunities for all individuals. Demonstrating this commitment, the company maintains a balanced male-to-female employee ratio of 50:50. As a result, PayTabs has successfully eliminated gender pay gaps, considering them as a matter of the past that should remain in the past.
Advice to Young Business Leaders
Huda emphasizes the inportance of MVP (Minimal Viable Product) as a crucial concept. MVP serves as a valuable tool for gathering feedback from potential customers before fully launching an idea into the market. Huda advises against investing resources in building products that customers may not want. The term “minimal” in MVP does not imply a basic or subpar product. Instead, it suggests creating a product that is already of high quality but leaves room for further improvement. By doing so, early adopters are more likely to embrace the product and provide valuable feedback for its enhancement.
Huda strongly advises young business leaders to take into account various factors while determining their product offerings. Firstly, it is essential to identify products or services that exhibit demand, either locally or globally, to ensure a receptive market. Secondly, a profitable business model with solid profit margins should be prioritized. Finally, the feasibility of easy storage and efficient delivery should be considered, optimizing logistics and enhancing customer satisfaction. By taking these factors into account, young business leaders can increase their chances of achieving success in their respective ventures.
“Google Trends, eBay Top Products, and Amazon Best Sellers are all great resources to help you identify hot products. The earlier you can spot a trend, the better your chance of turning it into a thriving online business,”- Huda explains.
She believes that every young entrepreneur needs to surround himself or herself with people who understand their unique vision and mindset. For any entrepreneur finding the right team will be one of the biggest challenges, so the key is to hire the right team of professionals who align with their vision to create their product/service.
“Very few successful startups were founded by just one person. Having business partners has several benefits, especially while first starting out. They can act as support, a sounding board for ideas, or if nothing else, a coach, mentor, or friend,”- she says. “Aside from building a team, having relationships with other entrepreneurs will give you invaluable knowledge. Find seasoned entrepreneurs and spark conversations with them. Pick their brains – people love to talk about themselves, so they’ll be happy to share what they have learned from their experience with starting a business. Overall, start small and finish big. And whatever the stage you are in the journey, work like a start up and walk like a giant.”