Having built 5 start ups over 25 years, it has been an incredible journey with having to pay the hard earned school fees along the way. iVvy is yet to be my greatest endeavour; not only solving a global problem but also making sure we have the best human capital for long term sustainability through high growth, scalability and a first to market advantage. iVvy is a Software as a Service (SaaS) Technology company delivering cloud based applications for the Events and Hospitality Industry.
These are my tips to take away:
Do not try and be everything to everyone. There is a high risk of failure if you have a scattered approach to your product or service offering.
As a leader, you are measured by not only your success, but also the team around you. Attracting the best talent for the job is critical, and never be afraid to employ someone smarter or more experienced than you. Surround yourself with experts in each field, and lead the team by building a culture that promotes collaboration and innovation.
Understand your market
Knowing your audience is critical to your business, as this will help determine your adoption rate and whether there is potential of commercial success based on the size of the market.
Solve a problem
Pain is the biggest motivator for change. By solving a problem you have a captivated market.
Know the numbers
Make sure you understand the financials. This is the absolute backbone of your business. It will help understand commercial viability of your idea as well as protect yourself from insolvency. If you don’t have a financial background, bring someone in that does.
Get independent legal advice
Make sure you get your own legal advice in your personal capacity independent of the company particularly when new investors come in. Protection as a founder is important and most attorneys drafting the shareholders agreement act solely for the company.
Don’t be afraid to sell equity
Most entrepreneurs want to hold onto equity to have control, however this can make or break your business. The Board, no matter what percentage you own, manages control of the company. If you don’t raise the right capital at the right time, you risk the entire business failing.
Have a plan
Make sure you have a good business plan. It helps you think through the entire process and ensures you set achievable milestones.
Know your competitors
If you have competitors this is a good sign, as others have validated the market you want to occupy. Keep on top of what they are doing so you know if you have a competitive advantage.
Article contributor – Lauren Hall – CEO iVvy, a passionate entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ business management experience at Executive and Board level across the Events, Retail (FMCG), Advertising and core technology industries in South Africa and Australia. Following 5 years development Lauren Hall launched iVvy in 2010 with the view to revolutionise the events industry. www.iVvy.com