I have serious execution problem
Eight years ago, I started my entrepreneurial journey to bring an innovative technology for the oil and gas industry. The goal was to develop a software technology and build a great stable business around it. Initial plan was to bring the technology in 3 years with hope that we will secure seed funding which did not materialized.
Eight years have gone but still we have not been able to launched our product in shape so that we can start selling. Certainly, I have gone through series of challenges and reached next level of maturity where I learnt some finer skills of business. However, still situation remains same.
In last eight years, I have hired over 50 people, one after another to work on our project as intern/trainee or employees but nothing pay-off such that we can bring technology to the stage to sale or get investment in place. Certainly, they are not responsible; they joined and left after few months or year.
Recently, I started thinking, why I am not getting investment or why I am not able to convince people to work on my project for long years or why I’m not able to complete the project or why I am not able to convince a customer to fund my project?
These are some serious questions that has been rolling around me and I don’t see any right answer to these question. I don’t want to blame luck or anything which I can’t control but I can look into my business execution plan and try to fix that. Therefore, I genuinely feel that I lack important skills required for business execution.
Entrepreneurship is a life time commitment for me and I know I will achieve what I want to achieve but question is how I can fix these serious execution problems. How I will mold my skills to make myself great with project execution. Here are some questions which I need answer or suggestion from experience readers:
Why people are not ready to work with me for long term?
Over 4-5 years, I hired about fifty fresh graduates to work on our technology development. The candidates were hired as intern or permanent employee. Only one good employee who work for us for four years but remaining either were not carrying required expertise or left earlier than substantial delivery.
Many good employees who would have stayed with us for few years then we would have been able to deliver product but it did not happen. The reason which I see is that I am not in situation to offer a high package or bonus or a company of consist of a team. The reason is that I don’t have investor backup or don’t have money which can offer great salary for a team. I am in Europe and my team hired in India and therefore distance also an important hurdle.
Can anyone see any mistake which is causing me good employees to leave other than what I can see?
Why investors are not ready to put their money in my venture?
In early stage of my entrepreneurial path, we worked towards involving two major oil companies to fund our project; and we were able to convinced technical team in these companies but management did not agree to accept our proposal to invest money unless they see prototype. I then got other opportunity where some investor shows good sign but finally backed off. Many investors simply turn us down just by saying that we are too early to raise fund or product is not ready or something like that.
How can I build a product of multimillion dollar with my own money? And if I can build then why do I need investment? I don’t know what actually investors are trying to say which I am unable to hear.
Are they saying that we as team not good or technology not good? I really need to understand their feedbacks more than what they say on face.
Why I am not able to convince a customer to put their money in our product?
We gave trail license of our technology to few big oil companies and received great feedbacks but of no use for us. Because none of them back up their feedbacks with funds. Our first customer also makes some payment to use our software and wanted us to accelerate our development work but finally give-up because oil crisis came and also we were unable to accelerate our work with limited fund.
How I can understand what my customers are reality trying to say which I am not able to understand? Since they put some money so certainly they were interested but what cause them to go back? Oil crisis or not accelerating as promised? Or something else?
Is there something wrong with technology?
Many people suggested me that there can be problem with technology. Only reason that I don’t accept this argument because there is similar technology there in market. We have competitive advantage and that’s core for us to bring this technology at first place. We have also interest from several customers in our product and therefore I STRONGLY feel that there are needs of this technology and we can fulfill that need BUT only when we bring a usable technology which end user can use for their challenges. In addition, we have not deliver this technology in full version and therefore can’t say that there is something wrong with our technology.
What I need to do more to break my executional barrier?
Earlier I did two major mistakes 1. Not investing enough in our product development 2. NOT allocating right technical resources to the product development.
I have rectified those mistake upto large extent but still I am not able to see results which take me to end conclusion where we can make a sellable product. What do I need to do to make myself grow to the stage where I can mitigate above mentioned execution challenges and bring this technology which can bring value for oil and gas industry and society in general? Which help us to build a great business around this technology.
Is multiple business interest a problem?
Focus is another key factor which I see can cause several years. Although I worked continuously on our oil technology business, I spend my time and energy on generating revenue from consultancy. I also spend time and energy in trying out other ideas in internet world. I worked on over 10-15 ideas but did not took any idea to conclusion. Now I have changed that approach and decided to focus on one idea until it make a mark on global platform. I have stopped looking into consultancy business option but still I am involved in three different ideas, oil tech business, cowork business in India and writing a book. I am thinking to stop my book writing plan. Will it be Ok to continue with my two tech businesses? somehow they are similar and I look for option to merge but it’s not seems possible to two business model in two different areas. The reason I chose second because it can save me and generate me revenue when first one is not generating enough revenue. In addition, I have passion to make a global impact in internet world. Should I ONLY focus on one?
How to inspire people to work with me even with my limited budget and long distance management?
Ideal situation for me would have been building a team where I am located. Due to lack of investment, I have not been able to build a local team where I operate. I chose to build a team in India and therefore unable to connect with team as a leader. My current thinking says that If I can find a partner who can take care of leading team. He will be able to provide human touch and direct engagement which value a lot than managing team from long distance. I also think that I need a partner in money or finance world where I have limited expertise. Due to funding issue its little hard to arrange these two partners but that’s the target I am looking to achieve as plan to go ahead.
Do you think its right approach?
Whatever little I have understood myself, I love make a beautiful product. I think I can feel and touch product design and beauty with my soul and heart. That is core of my expertise. In addition, I have skills like perseverance, and that has been reason for not even thinking a single time to give-up. This is BRUTAL honest that I will make it. There is no way out BUT I need to change and keep learning and changing till I make it. These days I have been trying to figure out my mistakes to fix them.
I have been articulating my execution strategy, calling of life, strength and weakness; and I will be happy to share if you want to understand and help me with. Another major mistake which I used to practice is not making clear plan. Which I have started working on to make clear goals, timeline, action plan and process. I still lack with expertise to create culture/process which will convert my strategy in paper into reality and that again require my expertise to inspire people to work on planned goal. I see that money is another big hurdle where people cant continue with low salary with someone for long.
I am looking any experienced person who have time and interest to discuss with me my challenges and guide me on where I am seriously doing mistakes.