How to Start a Small Business in Karachi

How to start a small business in Karachi?
Hey, there budding solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, stuck in a boring routine, confused but willing to take a risk, the willingness to try something new, and of course the big dreamers of the big bucks, I bet that almost every one of you living in this city has at least once in their life asked this question to themselves?
Haven’t you??
Ever since the human civilization began, people have been trading. Or in other words, people have been doing business. So maybe we just can’t help it, the business mind is a part of our human evolution 🙂
But every time you try to research about how to start a small business in Karachi, the discussions are very vague, and there are so many thousands of questions that are unanswered.

Small Business in Karachi

First, let’s make clear, of the difference between small business and big business. Is there really a difference? According to many big business tycoons, every successful small business becomes a big business. And we have many seen many such examples in Karachi itself. A french fries stall running successfully is converted to a small restaurant. A home based designer, becomes a brand, a small honey selling company, starts selling honey on the aisles alongside big brands like Langanese Honey, and so on and so forth.
So their small businesses were a success!

How to start a small business in Karachi

First, let’s talk about the basic types of  Small Businesses popular in Pakistan
1. Retail business
2. Service business
So when I do my research to find the facts and figures for the business stats in Karachi I was disappointed to find none! Whereas the Punjab Government has provided a detailed published PDF file of its retail business report.
This is such a bummer for anyone, be it a young girl, boy, who has very little investments and wishes to start his or her own small business in Karachi. And since nowadays people always research on the internet for information before actually taking decisions, and if they aren’t able to find exact results, this definitely gives you cold feet, and your decisions might waver.
However, I got the facts for Pakistan, and its retail business report.
According to statistics from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics for the years 2011-12, the retail sector is worth $4.2 Billion, which represents around 18% of GDP.
And since Karachi contributes 20% to the total of GDP, and according to World Bank Karachi is one of the most business-friendly city of Pakistan, Karachi surely holds a big position in Pakistan’s economy.
Sounds too good to be true for many but yes it is I mean look at it actually, ever since we were growing up and becoming aware of this megacity, and our country’s economy, Karachi was always cited.
And there is absolutely no doubt about Karachi being the financial hub, of our country. Let’s not get into stats, but yes Karachi is the largest city and the most populous city of Pakistan and the third most populous city in the world. I don’t know if the population stats is something to be proud of but yes it is and with so many humans inhabiting this city, there is always always a huge demand and supply need.
People move to this city to try their luck, many win many fail, many keep trying.
But let me just give you one piece of advice if you are considering, how to start a small business in Karachi or any other part of the world; you can never sell short on honesty!
Yes, something very humanistic and philosophical but guess what business is more of a personal philosophy than one’s own personal possessions.
So if you have an honest(authentic) product, service, an idea you will not fail on that, that’s for sure. But whether your business will be a big hit always depends on one thing and that is “Do you know how to sell?”
A very basic question but this is what encompasses all the advertising, marketing, social media presence, PR etc. They are only meant to serve only one purpose and that is to sell.
And when you sell, a good product, and are consistent then you have a win-win situation.
But these really smooth perfect lines are easier said than done because the entire process of choosing the kind of business to marketing it, can be a tough grind. And in this very lengthy, painstaking process people often lose hope or back out.
You see its especially not easy for those who come from a non-business background. And especially if everyone in your family has always been a 9-5 kind of person.
Breaking a stereotype within such a family could be almost like moving a hill. People will not be supportive, or they might be confused, they will not be certain and the downers will definitely hope for you to fall flat on your face!

Limitations of starting a small business in Karachi

 So considering the above family constraints, let’s consider the odds before answering how to start a small business in Karachi:
  • You can never be sure of anything sounds brutal but true, in a moment the streets will close down, there can be a sudden political change in the city and other kinds of political crisis
  • Electricity- The biggest crunch! One year KE will be kind on us, as the load-shedding is only for 1 hour and the other year it could be 3- 4 times for 2 hours without warning
  • Traffic is getting worse, I mean how is the growing population going to move around? In the last year alone more than 200,000 were sold in Pakistan, out of which Karachi alone holds a big number.
  • Resources, water, gas, electricity; the city faces a crisis of resources. And no area is exempt from it.
  • Corruption, one can’t turn a blind eye to it, but it still very much exists. It’s not always easy to make the ride, corrupt people won’t let anyone get away without having their share.
  • Many businesses are hijacked by bigger corporations, so you need to figure out your niche.

These points are surely spine-chilling but a smart, witty and well-planned mind can definitely conquer all odds and make it happen. So don’t lose hope!

Small Businesses (services) in Karachi

Any kind of service that you tend to offer is counted as a service business.

Beauty parlor, tutoring, tailor, home-based baker, catering services etc all such business are pretty booming too.

So if you have got a talent, such as teaching, designing, coaching, then you really can start with zero investment! All you have to do is collect clients and start off. But make sure that you are consistent in your work and have excellent interpersonal skills because you are your own brand. Your talent is actually what you are selling. In order to succeed you better be good at it.

Your Current Financial and Family Standing

If you already have a job, and are married, have kids, be very vigilant about your plans, because a new business will require most of your time and energy, you need to plan ahead for the consequences that your family might face. ( I would suggest, try to come up with a plan in which you can keep your job as well as focus on your business) sounds hard but if executed properly you can do it!

Your location (suppose you plan to open up a retail shop )  then you know the saying, location, location, location.

So if you are living in Gulistan-e -Johar and want to open the shop in Clifton consider all odds possible, because time and distance will cost you.

Now comes the actual question “how to start a small business in Karachi”?

Starting from scratch really means everything from planning to execution and staying in the loop.

But what will work and what won’t,  Do I have what it takes, or am I being crazy? How do I convince my family? Will I be good at it? These are all the first basic questions that arise before we want to start something new?

Popular small businesses in Karachi

Home based bakery

Food stalls

Auto spare parts

Dairy business

Online ladies garments


Freelance business

Tutoring services

Event coordinator

Tailoring services

But how to select your product/ business type? Is the big question and especially if you don’t have any previous experience.

There are usually theories;-

Public demand

Your interest

One can’t deny the importance of public or market research but what if you step into a field which is only high in demand of the market but you have very little or zero interest in it?

Here is the place where niches and sub-niches come in to play.

How to start a small business in Karachi (selecting your product)

Find any field, anything that you are passionate about, and go for it.

But what if you are not passionate about anything that could be turned into a business? 

Well then the process can be broken down into following steps

likeness <——interest<——Hobby<——passion

So from the above just pick one and go for it.

Let’s consider an example, you enjoy cooking. You like food, you like watching recipes and are good at cooking.

Considering food as your niche, how will you start a small business in Karachi, with low investment?

Since your investments are limited you cannot set up a restaurant right away, but you can always cook for customers.

So just with the word of mouth or through social media, spread the word that you can cook for 30 or 50 people.

Through proper social media marketing and your smart personality, and if you really cook well then people will like you and give reviews about you.

But always consider your competitor. Are there other people also doing the same thing? Well then try to improvise, if they are cooking desi you cook Chinese, or pasta anything that’s different but in demand.

But always make sure to put forward your limitations for a food business, as you will need 24 hours full supply of gas, fresh supply of fruits and veggies, utensils, packing boxes and other necessities.

And always always look professional and neat!

(This post is a basic outline answer to the question how to start a small business in Karachi, but there is so much more to share.  I will be more than happy to answer your questions, you can always post them in the comment box below or post them on our facebook page.)