The culture of start-ups and disruption has well and truly taken hold of the marketplace. As technology has spread into all areas of business, so has the disruption model. In order to succeed today, you must create a niche product or service in an area that is hard to compete in.
For us at PrimeQ we have quickly (in only two years) become the pre-eminent Oracle SaaS provider in the marketplace. We have achieved this as a result of being a first mover, creating a culture of agility and working in an innovative way. Being awarded Oracle ERP Partner of the Year for the Asia Pacific region was clear evidence of our focus in the first year.
Today there are hundreds of thousands of small companies springing up. Creating their own niche offering and speciality with the idea of competing independently.
This article is written to encourage all of you to ‘have a go’ at your own thing and provide some insight into the things I have learnt on this journey.
Here are my six key take-aways from our journey:
Believe in yourself and have a go
Sometimes you just have to start. Having an idea is well and good but deciding to start takes commitment. There is the risk of failing, of losing and of things not happening the way you thought. But if you never start or put that idea into practice, that idea may never come to fruition. Someone else will probably do what you are thinking of doing anyway, so why shouldn’t it be you?
If you don’t believe in yourself then people won’t follow. The hardest thing possible is believing that you and those around you can do it. This takes serious effort from you, and support from your family. Bring your family on the journey so that they can best help.
Build a strong team & work hard
I like to think that I am quite self-aware. I know where my strengths lie, and I know what my weaknesses are as well. As a result, we have strategically built a team who have strengths where my weaknesses lie. To be perfectly honest, we sometimes struggle to work together as a result of our differences! But we know that together we are a stronger team, with unique abilities and a team culture that is unbreakable when we work together.
I often talk (or write) about the culture of PrimeQ. And one of my roles as CEO is to create, drive and build the culture. As founders, we spent a long time creating our core values to ensure they resonate with our team, with our partners and our customers so we can create a difference in the market.
Since we began, we have been able to foster a culture of selflessness, humility, and respect. I am constantly amazed at the fantastic people that we have hired and how they work consistently to uphold this culture. Always respect diversity, gender, and differences.
Don’t let the ‘big guys’ bully you
Large companies talk about their safety and strength financially, but strength is actually bound in the team that work with you. We know our people are the best, and for that reason, we lead with them as our greatest asset.
As a start-up, the big guys will probably try and intimidate, push down and diminish your work. This is done because they are threatened and are worried about the market share you have the potential to take. So, if you are being bullied, take it as a compliment and work even harder.
Manage cash as if it is your own
Cash flow is important. ‘Cash is King’ was the old catch-cry in just about every accounting lecture I can remember. And as an accountant in a previous life, I know this to be true. If you can’t pay the bills, you can’t get the work done.
Dealing with finances as if they are your own means your organisation will always have enough cash. It won’t over extend itself and when taking a risk, it will be properly analysed and explored, not making unfounded decisions.
Governance is key because it makes each of us accountable. It creates an environment of safety and reporting to prevent future problems. Creating a strong Board of Directors, a clear flow of project governance and ensuring people adhere to the process may seem tedious at times but it is there for support and safety, ultimately benefitting the entire organisation.
PrimeQ was lucky enough to have built a team that works in unison and strives for the same goal.
If there is one piece of advice I can give to finish up, it is this; believe in what you can achieve. Each person is unique, so use that uniqueness to do as much as you can.
Starting a business is hard, growing a business is harder, but sustaining a business takes it to a whole new level.