A keen reader of Arthur Conan Doyle and a lover of the biryani, this Information Technology graduate hit upon a novel idea employing the enterprising spirit of the Young Entrepreneur, by building a website. This was not just any old run of the mill site either, there was something that made the site vastly different from all its other brethren on the information highway. YourStory caught up with Shabbir Bhimani, the man behind Go4Expert.com as he talks about how he started off his venture with just Rs 10,000 in 2005 and how it has grown at a rate of 120% since then.
He built a community site of programmers, for programmers and by programmers. Mind you, the site is not just for the hardcore programmer - the site itself proclaims "One reason the Go4Expert Forums is so special is that we welcome all newcomers, regardless of their level of knowledge or experience. Help new members learn about how to find information and resources, and how to get involved in the community." The site features high quality content on topics that are relevant to their target audience, namely all the programmers and developers out there.
Shabbir explains why he opted for the entrepreneurial route, he says "After my B.Tech degree I started with a job but then the job was becoming a 9-5 kind of thing and so I thought of quitting the job and doing what I liked more and that led to 'www.go4expert.com' and 'www.mbaguys.net'". A firm believer in the adage that "You don't Win Silver but lose Gold", he is aiming to reach a traffic of a million page views per month by 2010 on both the sites.
He explains how the business first took off saying "The site within the first 6 months of its inception became self sustaining and so it did not face any starting challenges financially but the challenge was to convince people to come to the forums, ask questions, initiate discussions and submit articles. The promotion of our forum was one of the major challenge in the starting years." However some great contributions in articles really got the ball rolling for him and with the help of some really good forum members the site has been flourishing. This was also a turning point of sorts for the site as more and more members joined up. Shabbir says "The main focus of our competitors is either forum interaction or article content but Go4Expert.com focuses equally on both of them. The model can be scaled up as we plan to add more volunteers to provide content to our site as well as spread the word."
Shabbir was pretty sure about his idea so much so that it has never occurred to him to quit entrepreneurship and take up a normal job again. For him it is more than just making a profit he is also interested in "helping the community". Inspired by the Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte and his Dad he aims to have the best technology repository on the internet. When it comes to expansion he says "Believe that it can grow to the extent it has grown and the extent we can think of."
To the Young Indian Entrepreneur he advises "Listen to the negative inputs as startups but believe in your ability as well."
Yourstory hopes and wishes that Shabbir makes many more such inroads to achieving his goals.