Founders of EduTech startup FrontLearner talk about making your mark as a startup.
Entrepreneurs dream of changing the world. That is probably one of the most accurate thing anyone can say about startups. Startups come up with new technologies (or new ways to use the not-quite-so-new) to change the way people work and live.
That’s the ideal, of course. But in an increasingly competitive and difficult environment, how can you, as a startup, make your mark?
QBO Philippines‘ QLITAN featured Leo and Elaine de Velez, founders of FrontLearners, an interactive eTeaching content and solution provider that helps boost student competency and boost enrolment of K-12 schools. With a system that is internet-independent (a necessity in a country like the Philippines where the internet connection is oftentimes fluctuating) and learner centric, the startup makes it easy and sustainable for teachers to implement eTeaching through ready-to-use eLearning materials that is aligned with the country’s Department of Education K-12 curriculum.
Now called “the epitome of quality education” in the Philippines, FrontLearners aims to bring quality educational materials to students throughout the country, including those in impoverished areas where schools don’t have the funds or infrastructure to invest in many resources.
During their QLITAN talk, the founders talked about their experience building FrontLearners and how to make your mark and be ahead of the pack. Here are a few insights they shared for aspiring entrepreneurs.
1. Know your why
Startups always want to answer what. What problem do you want to solve. What market are you looking to target. What kind of solution do you have in mind. For Frontlearners, the whys are as, or even more, important that the whats. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you addressing this problem? Why is it important to address these problems?
Your answers to your whys play a huge role in how you approach your journey, and serves as your guiding vision as you develop your product. If you are still in the process of developing a solution or exploring technologies and opportunities, clearly defining your why ensures that you do not get distracted from your end game, yet allow you flexibility to try out other avenues for getting there.
2. Do not be tempted by the low-hanging fruits
In your startup journey, there are as many opportunities as you are open to see them. And if you keep your eyes open, you have a lot of chances to grab the easy wins. However, if you are really looking at making a huge impact, do not be so distracted by the low-hanging fruits that you forget what really matters.
Try to dive deeper; sometimes the best solution is one that is not easily seen. A mantra that FrontLearners keeps in mind, is that “if its easy, chances are, somebody must have done it first and you can do better”.
3. Know what you’re up against
There are two main things that startups have to pay attention to: their competitors and the market. While you most likely already keep an eye on your competitors – keeping track of their progress and the technologies that they use – it is also important that you identify whether the market is ready for you.
A competitor is not always your biggest challenge; you may have more trouble dealing with your market. This is especially true for startups who are looking to enter what could be considered traditional industries. Do you need to educate your market? What is the most effective way for you to ensure that your market understand what you are doing? Is the current infrastructure ready for you?
4. Be in the loop
There is a reason that meetups and tech conventions are popular in the startup community; with the speed of innovation, it is a great way to share new technologies and get insight from other members of the industry. As a startup that is rooted in innovation, you should keep yourself in the loop of the latest technologies, services, and businesses models. You have to be updated on what others are doing and be open to information that will allow you to create partnerships and/or develop your product according to the current standards and trends.
At the root of it, it’s as simple as to never stop learning.
5. Place your bets
Being in the loop does not mean that you stay where said loop is. If you have studied your industry and truly believe in the effectivity of your product and team, you are in the position to make calculated decisions that has the potential to put your startup ahead. Look at the trends in other countries. Collaborate with people who can elevate the level of service of your product. Learn how to predict trends and leverage on your and your partners’ expertise to improve and transform your product.
Do not be limited by what is popular and what is easy. Be ahead of the curve.
6. Don’t wait to do well to do good
There will never be a perfect product. As environments, markets, and technologies evolve, you will always ways to adjust to meet their changing needs. To that point, you do not need to wait to be successful, whatever your definition of success may be, to begin spreading goodwill. If your product can already improve work and lives at its current state, begin introducing it already, and get more opportunities to test it in the process.
Featured image credit: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo
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