Being an entrepreneur in any industry is already a tough calling, but in the tech space it takes a very unique set of skills and a remarkable drive to go to much greater lengths than anyone else.
The difference between good and great in the tech space, goes far beyond the idea or the solution. The tech space is very competitive, moves very fast and most clients are hesitant to trust new players on the scene, no matter which industry. Success in this space requires something very significant.
There are certain things that entrepreneurs need to be doing differently in order to achieve success in the modern business world.
Focus on revenue and profitability
Modern businesses are much like traditional businesses. After being involved in a few tech startups, what I have realized is that at the end of the day, it’s not about getting unending rounds of funding and sustaining your growth. It’s actually about making the unit economically viable. Businesses need to focus on revenue and profitability.
Many entrepreneurs get lost in their idea, the next product feature or satisfying the need of a potential new client while there is money to be made on the tech they already have. Utilise the tech you already have and service an existing audience with a product tailored for them before trying to please the masses.
Don’t lose sight of the big picture
This statement might seem like it clashes with the previous one, it doesn’t. Read carefully. Entrepreneurs should be thinking about the long term as they plan their short-term actions. With all the focus on rapid growth and failing fast, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and take hasty actions without considering the repercussions. Don’t do things that contradict your vision for the sake of growth. It’s extremely difficult to course-correct as your business grows. Even some of your smallest decisions at early stage could impact the business greatly in the future.
Entrepreneurs should think differently. The term “think different” has become such an over used phrase, that people have lost its true meaning. They need to stop focussing on the standard form of businesses & learn how to devise a plan that is both significantly different and possible to implement. They need to be aware of new technologies and be completely up to date on the topics of interest of their businesses.
Don’t be a jack of all trades
One of the things I learned early on was to focus on what I do well and become the best at it. Trying to be a jack of all trades only opens up your business for potential failure. It spreads your focus too thin and very quickly you become little good at many things. This kind of focus requires personal investment in continued learning, and staying on top of trends and industry changes as your business grows.
In the early days of my journey as an entrepreneur, I wanted to take on every business idea that came to mind – there was no focus and growth was very slow. Once we focussed on building a profitable incubator of tech start-ups with a very specific business model and mandate, we experienced extremely high growth.
Take “no” in strides and learn the most from it
I believe that as an entrepreneur, the one thing you need to do differently is to unlock value from every “no.” Listening to a “no” from potential investors, customers and employees creates opportunities for you to go back to the drawing board and refine your model, strategy or product.
Embracing your “no” makes you more resilient, builds character and allows you to think creatively where others won’t. Remember that “no” today is a delayed “yes” when you treat it like the opportunity it really is.
Be willing to work the way no one would
This is probably one of the most important aspects of a successful entrepreneur – work the way no one would. Building a tech company is not a 9 to 5 job, and don’t think a few late nights here and there brings you to the table either. Success comes to those that are willing to go the extra mile, eat sleep and drink your start-up until you crack open the can of traction. If there are multiple operational shareholders in your start-up, make sure you guys bring the same weight to the table. Solve problems, have each other’s backs.
Don’t let the balls fall through the cracks. There truly is nothing worse to give all of yourself to a start-up just so your partner can drop the ball.