Pesky thing, the future. You plan and you plan for what it could throw at you, looking at trends, competitors and new technology, but it’s difficult to know 100% if you’re investing in the right thing.
With new technology emerging fast and straight into a big confusing tumble-dryer of other tools it’s tempting to go back to how our grandfathers did it – with pen and paper and misogyny. But, investing early and investing smart, will place you higher in the pecking order when an uncertain future hits. An uncertain future like, say, a pandemic.
The companies we’re now seeing flourish are those that either invested in that essential tech from day one, or had the resources to implement brand new processes at the drop of a hat. Which, chances are, weren’t many start-ups.
Martin Pichinson, head of Sherwood Partners, a Silicon Valley advisory firm that restructures failed start-ups, calls it “the great unwinding”.
Across the UK 61,472 limited companies folded between the start of March and mid-April according to Business Live.
But, investing in technology from day one takes innovation and strong leadership.
Technology forges innovative leaders
You may not need the tech all the big dogs have, and we’re not saying you should by any means invest in million-pound software. But, starting digital will make everything easier as you scale up.
“The future (and even the present) is digital. If you aren’t digital, your competitors definitely will be. The benefits that ‘going digital’ gives you, in terms of efficiency and cost savings, means it’s just a matter of time until digital is just the way of doing business, if not already.”
It’s a classic response, but only you know what areas of your business are a priority. Decide what you want to focus and invest in for your own success, these are the areas to digitise first.
Mark Stephen Pooler, CEO of MSP News Global and TMSP AGENCY, says for him it was a great website.
“It was essential that we built a great website to host a fully-functional and professional news platform. Our publishing platform is now such a vital asset for day-to-day runnings.”
For Olly, as a SaaS company first, customer satisfaction was and is still his biggest focus.
“Early on it was clear that one of the most important ways that we were going to compete was through amazing customer service and treating our customers like people, not logos or numbers.”
“With that in mind, an easy to use ticketing system was key which didn’t give people a ‘ticket number’ but instead just worked like email.”
Digital Transformation and Disruption aren’t mutually exclusive.
So as explored by Square founder, Jim McKelvey, in a Harvard Review piece, “Disruption” doesn’t exclusively mean destruction, it actually rarely does. When we talk about ‘disruptive’ companies we’re talking about those new ideas that changed the industry forever. This can be building on something that already exists and expanding it in a way no one else has yet.
As a phrase linked to Silicon Valley’s tech scene ‘disruption’ has made its way across the pond, and now businesses left right and centre are branding themselves as disruptors. But, the focus should never be to earn this label, it should be to build the product or service you’re passionate about. As a good entrepreneur, you’re building, not tearing down your industry.
Mark agrees that it’s not about seeking out destructive ideas, it’s more important to approach with honesty and integrity, but keep an eye on what everyone else is doing.
“Having good ethics, being honest and coming from a place of love and integrity are all very important to me. These things together are what I believe is essential to be an innovative Leader.”
“I like to inspire my audience and network to achieve their goals and support my clients with global media coverage to be seen, heard and get noticed with worldwide digital media coverage to become known globally.”
Olly’s take is that being a force for change is something everyone figures out in their own way.
“The core foundation of disruption is change. It’s just that now we can influence change via technology, reaching nearly every single business process, industry or sector.”
“Being ‘disruptive’ isn’t a checklist that someone can follow, its a mindset about change and being prepared to always accept change and actually encourage the related negative feelings.”
Disruption is integral to forward motion, and so from speaking to our two entrepreneurs, it’s been a bi-product of what they’re both passionate about.
Parting advice for new entrepreneurs.
We’ve heard why the business world is embracing innovative leaders and how technology is giving them a helping hand. If you’re just getting started it really pays to implement your key pieces of tech first to building a strong foundation for your business.
Olly’s parting advice comes from his ongoing ‘digital first’ mindset.
“Whenever we have to think about doing something for the first time, it’s always digital-first.”
Mark Stephen Pooler advises entrepreneurs of the future to be constantly improving.
“I would say an ongoing improvement is the best way to look at it. Take little steps to start implementing digital in your business.”
“Also get guidance from friends, colleagues and mentors that you trust for tools that work best for them, because some perform better than others.”
Entrepreneurship is changing for the better and the past few months has only accelerated our need for good core software to allow innovative leaders to rise to the top.