Escalate

Entrepreneurs must be willing to fail

  • Strictly business
- Saurav R Pandey, Kathmandu

Oct 15, 2018-

Young Innovations is a software development company that uses “integrated technology to solve problems in the development and private sectors with specific focus on open data, aid transparency, public procurement, citizen engagement, grievance management and knowledge management,” according to its company profile. Led by Bibhusan Bista as CEO, Young Innovations was registered as a company in 2007 but technically began work in 2009. Now, it has a team of over 60 members with clients from more than 15 countries. Bista’s background is in software development, and he used to work as a programmer before starting Young Innovations. In this interview with the Post’s Saurav R Pandey, Bista shares his entrepreneurial journey and his creeds on the challenges a typical entrepreneur comes across and how he or she should react to them. Excerpts:

Can you tell us about your corporate journey?

Like most entrepreneurs, my corporate journey has consisted of both highs and lows. When we first started this company, we didn’t have a clear idea of what we would eventually end up doing. There have been three phases from 2009 to now. In the first phase, we had very limited capital and resources. We needed to convince people to work with us when entering into the global market. Slowly, our business entered the second phase, when our company steadily flourished. We were doing multiple things and we really struggled. Fortunately, we managed to get ourselves into the international developing platform. Now, we are more recognised and we work with clients from different corners of the globe to meet their needs and tailor their products accordingly.

What prompted you to start Young Innovations?

When I was working as a programmer, I thought that I’d be working as one for the rest of my life. I only worked with codes and computers, but I loved to connect with other

people. I had a lot of creative ideas but to put them into practice, I had to go through many procedures, from proposal writing to navigation. Then, I thought that maybe if I became an entrepreneur, it would be easier for me to put my ideas into practice.

What sets Young Innovations apart from other technological companies?

If our clients or partners have any problems, we first try to understand the issue and work with them to see where the gap is. We support our partners on a holistic level, from ideation to execution. We are not just selling software but also helping clients solve their issues using technology. The other thing is that we cater to the international development community. We also work on social issues like violence against women and social transparency. So, our objectives are quite different from other tech companies, at least those in Nepal.

Can technology help budding entrepreneurs in business?

Absolutely, it can. The best way to reach the global audience is through social media, which is a vital aspect of technology. Technology can also help people streamline their workload. If we need to search for

anything that can’t be got through textbooks or through communication with people, we use search engines that display millions of results with just one mouse click. Technology also helps budding entrepreneurs manage their operations more effectively and expand the market.

What are some qualities that entrepreneurs must possess?

Entrepreneurs must have the willingness to fail. They must always treat failure as a stepping stone to success. We have to accept that things will always not go the way we plan. They must also have passion and patience. If one thinks that their product is not making money after six months, they must not give up easily. It takes many years to really start being successful. A lot of people think that entrepreneurship is easy. Here, you need to be the jack and master of everything, from knowing what each and every member of your company is doing to tailoring the needs of your partners.

As the CEO of an IT company, what are your challenges and how do you solve them?

The biggest challenge is the expectations of the people. As the CEO of the company, I know that plan A will not always work. I need to have fallback options in my mind—Plan B, C and D—to anticipate obstacles. I have to know everything about what is happening in my company, locally and internationally. I also have to keep myself updated with the latest technology. Simple ways to solve these issues are to be agile, open to learning, and not have the egoistic attitude of ‘I know everything’, apart from obvious qualities like determination and constant perseverance.

When starting your own business, what does one need to do to move forward and upscale?

One needs to answer certain questions in one’s mind. What is your purpose of being an entrepreneur? Do you want to earn money? Do you want to make a name for yourself and your team? If you are just looking to earn money to support yourself, there are plenty of other ways to do so as well. Do you have a family structure that can support you? Are you willing to sacrifice your time, which could be anywhere ranging from just a year to five years, to push yourself to your limits? If you answer positively to all such questions, you’re on the right track.

How do you embrace success and failure?

We do fail a lot of times. Recently, we were unsuccessful in receiving the green signal for one of our global projects. But, what you do to recover from failure is what really matters.

We have to analyse what went wrong for us to rectify our mistakes. For an entrepreneur, failure occurs 90 percent of the time. And even when you succeed, it doesn’t mean that you should be extravagant and celebrate like crazy.

How does Young Innovations motivate its employees?

The only thing that motivates our employees is if they connect their aspirations or ambitions with the work they are doing. Apart from us indirectly counseling, mentoring and supporting our members, they themselves have that thought of ‘this is how I will grow if I do this task’ in their minds, which encourages them. People need to think that they are not working for the company but for themselves.

What advice do you have for prospective entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride. You do not succeed every single time. I have seen people struggling for years and years before their efforts result in success. You need to have the courage to navigate through all sorts of hindrances like a lack of human resources, lack of capital, or lack of market opportunities. My second advice would be that you have to be a team player. You can’t do all the tasks by yourself. You must have the knack to communicate with your clients and team members. Most

importantly and obviously, you need to have a frightening amount of determination and the ability to think out of the box.

Published: 15-10-2018 08:15

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