Most of you got into tech business because of the “promise”.
Promise to earn an income. You want to create money freedom for yourself and your families. The second promise is to create an impact. You want to grow, create impact for your clients and make a bigger difference in the world. The third promise is independence. Freedom to innovate without restrictions.
Yet, despite your best efforts, majority of technoprenuers I run into aren’t achieving all three of these goals. In fact, many of them are struggling to grow, tired or both.
So, why is this the case for so many technoprenuers like you?
1. Lack of clarity – technoprenuers are good in creating technical value. Not all are good in monetising and growing business to next level. This includes creating a revenue strategy that defines clear goals, markets, sales, marketing and talent.
For example, lacking clarity in choosing the right market, kind of customers you have to pursue, right offering, deal size, go to market and resources to needed to get there can accelerate or derails your growth plans. When you lack certainty of direction in your business it causes you to be hesitant to take action on big decisions that will give you big results.
Self reflecting question: Do you have a well defined revenue strategy for your company? Does it fit into one page?
2. Poor execution – Translating strategy to execution needs both a process and discipline. Technoprenuers are usually impatient, try too many things and slip up on execution. Many companies have deployed brilliant strategies and still missed their number. This is due to poor execution. Companies who fall into this category will likely survive, but will find growth difficult. The execution of well defined strategy is where the magic happens.
Self reflecting question:Do you have an execution plan with clear actions, roles and responsibilities and target dates?
3. Passive marketing – If prospects don’t know you exist, they can’t give you business. Most technoprenuers aren’t savvy in marketing themselves or their company. At best, your marketing is too passive or patchy. We have found that most technoprenuers have no clear marketing strategy at all, or at least none that they could articulate. They reported that while they might enjoy the occasional success, essentially they’re relying on luck more than anything else.
A feeble attempt to hire someone to “do social media” for the company is not a marketing strategy. Putting some content on website or in Linkedin is the easy part, getting anyone to read that content is what takes skill. When your content doesn’t do anything to attract readers, get their attention and drive traffic – you do not have a marketing strategy at all.
Self reflecting question: Do you have a well thought out marketing strategy?
4. Unreliable sales process – Technoprenuers rely too much on partners, joint ventures and other quick routes to get sales. They don’t realise that having organic sales capability increases your company valuation. Lack of a predictable demand generation and sales process results in prospects stalling or dropping out. Most of them don’t realise that their sales process is dead or does not exist.
The best tech companies today don’t use a sales process to sell. They use a buying process to understand and match themselves to the customer. Understanding this helps them deploy specific actions and activities. These help pull the customer through their buying process. They help strengthen compelling events. And help prioritise the customer’s problem and use your solution exclusively to solve it.
Self reflecting question: Is your sales processes aligned to your customer’s buying needs?
5. Unscalable model – Technoprenuers get stuck with the same business model that worked for them in the past years. They haven’t revisited or changed revenue model to suit current times. For example, SAP shops are selling time & material hours or projects. Legacy shops managed services. Product companies selling on prem slapped with services.
What you don’t realise as a technopreneur is that if your business is primarily dependent upon you and your efforts, by definition, your business can’t scale. Also if your business model has a linear relationship between revenue and cost, it’s hard to scale because scaling requires a lower cost per unit of acquisition.
One of the mistakes a lot of tech business owners make on this subject is that they think in absolutes—in other words, they use binary thinking—either you’re scalable or you’re not. Irrespective of the size of your business, do know that it is possible to take your current business model and make it more scalable.
Self reflecting question: How scalable is your current business? Is there a linear relationship between revenue and cost?
6. Stale Talent – Technoprenuers are stuck with wrong set of people who might not be the right fit for the role. In early stages, you need misfits and in the growth stage you need builders and scalers. Some argue that talent is 50% of the business success equation. The other 50%, of course, is performance conditions. No matter the ratio, your people are key to hitting your number.
There are 3 errors technoprenuers make in hiring.
- Hire someone with wrong competencies.
- Hiring people but not communicating and tracking accountability.
- Compensation is not in alignment to what you want to achieve.
Making a mistake here sets you back by years. Many technoprenuers have burnt a lot of cash, time and have also fallen prey to cynicism.
Self reflecting question: Do you know who to hire, how to make them accountable and how to set compensation?
7. Lack of measurement – What does not get measured does not get managed. Usually, technoprenuers run their business with this formula. Acquire new customers, retain your customers and grow your customers. Sounds easy. Yet it is so difficult to unpack without proper measures. Most technoprenuers are not even on top of their sales pipeline!
If you do not have a way of measuring your lead flows, deals, sales cycle length, deal size, conversion rates, new vs repeat business – you are already in red flag area. You will be overwhelmed and will not know what and how to control in your selling function.
Self reflecting question: Do you know what to and how to measure, in sales, to take control of your revenue growth?
8. Lack of patience – Passion and patience go hand in hand. Living in line with your passion will probably require that you go slower than you might want to. It will definitely mean that you say no more than you say yes. Being patient and yet methodical will go a long way in taking you forward.
Technoprenuers often try too many things, when something does not work, and end up spreading it too thin. They don’t give enough time to work on one thing to reach a goal before getting onto another. This attitude often derail any progress made.
Self reflecting question: Have your tried sticking to one thing and giving it time and energy to succeed? How often are you distracted from your path?
9. Hit refresh – After tasting a bit of success in the first few years, technoprenuers struggle to change their ways and be more in sync with the current environment and business situation. They struggle with this question. w“Is change possible?” and “How can I be effective in creating change?”.
They fail to realise that the key to creating change is to acknowledge that every behaviour has a ‘frame of mind’, constructed of values, beliefs, identity and intention, and unless this is addressed your mind will act like a gyroscope bringing your behaviours back to this frame. The cost of this ‘stuck’ behaviour is not just in dollars but confusion in your company, amongst employees, who are paralysed by lack of communication and cohesion at the top.
Self reflecting question: Are you stuck in a fixed mindset patterns influenced by old beliefs, past failure and misplaced intentions?
10. Lack of Self Leadership quotient – Let’s first define Self Leadership. Self-leadership is about taking responsibility, get as much information and use your autonomy to make decisions to take purposeful action. Self-leadership empowers people to adapt to the current circumstances whilst maintaining a strategic focus towards the larger goal.
Often times I find technoprenuers who have stopped growing have succumbed to the environment (board, investors, employees and market situation) and sub-consciously stopped taking responsibility for their current situation. Without this you lose the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviour and get in your own way of reaching your goals and aspirations.
Self reflecting question: How do you perceive, feel and understand your current situation in business?
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :
1. Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.
4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.
3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.
2. Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.
We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.
3. Join our Techcelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study
I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.
Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.