Savitri Sagar is CEO of Kenzo Infotech.
An estimated more than 60% of tech startups fail within the first five years, making the tech sector one of the most difficult environments to succeed in, especially during the last couple of years. Despite the challenges, it is possible to succeed and thrive in the industry.
There are several things I have learned as a tech entrepreneur that can help others succeed.
Collaboration For Expansion
The importance of collaboration is one of the most critical lessons a new entrepreneur can learn. All too often, the industry focuses on the competition between companies, teams and individuals. I think competition is healthy, but if you want to grow in life, I think collaboration is something that you can’t avoid.
This is especially important for a young company that is trying to recruit from the same talent pool that Google, Microsoft, Apple and other larger companies are tapping into. Entrepreneurs face the challenge of convincing talented individuals to choose their startup rather than one of the larger companies that are very much a known entity.
Collaboration can help overcome this challenge. When I founded my company, I was quick to rely on my network of contacts I had built up over a decade in the industry. This provided opportunities to foster collaboration and attract talent that might otherwise have been out of reach.
Similarly, within the company, it is important to maintain that collaborative nature. In the wake of the tech industry’s layoffs, many tech workers have become disillusioned with some of the bigger companies and are looking for something different. This is a major opportunity for startups to capitalize on. The key to success, however, is to offer a collaborative environment that differs from what tech workers are used to and helps them be invested in your startup.
Self-learning Will Never Go Out Of Style
Few industries experience as much revolutionary change as the tech industry. Personal computing, the internet, mobile computing, quantum computing and AI are just a few of the changes that have taken place recently or are occurring right now.
AI, in particular, exemplifies the need for continuous learning. While early concerns centered on AI’s potential to take jobs, many now believe those fears are overblown. Instead, the most likely scenario is that workers who stay current with the burgeoning technology will have the greatest job security and opportunities moving forward.
That’s why it is so important to prioritize continuous learning. Today it’s AI, tomorrow it will be something else. You have to stay up-to-date and relevant.
True Happiness Lies In Giving Back To Society
One of the most underrated lessons entrepreneurs need to learn is the importance of giving back to society by staying true to their vision. All too often startups create innovative products or services that solve problems, address pain points or enrich people’s lives, only to sell to the first big tech company that offers to purchase them.
Unfortunately, acquisitions often don’t benefit a startup’s customers as much as entrepreneurs would like to think. WhatsApp is a perfect example of this trend. The founders sold the company to Facebook for $22 billion, only to express regret later that the sale was not in the best interests of the app’s customers.
Entrepreneurs should take those lessons to heart and focus on delivering the best product they can without worrying about being acquired. If you know that your idea is something great, don’t worry about the money. As long as you’re profitable, just keep going. Keep control of your vision and don’t give it away to big companies.
Take Risk To Define Yourself
One of the most important lessons I have learned on my entrepreneurial journey is to take risks, especially in the context of staying true to yourself.
The tech industry is full of stereotypes and misconceptions: it’s male-dominated, so you can’t succeed as a woman; tech is a young person’s game; if you’re not a software engineer you can’t succeed and more.
It’s important for entrepreneurs to be resilient and take risks, not letting others define what they’re capable of. There will always be people ready to point out why your dream is not possible, so it takes resilience to stick with your dream, challenge the stereotypes and succeed in the industry.
Don’t give the power to define yourself to anyone else. When you truly understand who you are, what your strengths are and what you’re capable of, the sky’s the limit.