As we continue to adapt to the changing landscape and accept that to survive, we need to evolve and embrace technology, organisations are leaning towards popular video conferencing software and many are drifting towards Zoom because of the ease of use.
Based on their tagline: “In this together. Keeping you securely connected wherever you are,” Zoom seems to tick all the boxes, especially during the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The benefits of Zoom are its ability to streamline communication without compromising on the experience and quality.
Its high-quality video, scalability, versatility, crisp audio and instant sharing capabilities are just some of the benefits listed by users. And it has been said to be one of the best platforms currently available.
But in the past couple of weeks, there have been a few security loopholes that have been discovered, not including parliament’s recent “hack.” However, this hasn’t deterred users.
Unknown to most, Zoom was once a startup that needed a financial boost to reach its true potential. However, Zoom has made significant returns over the years and has made strides thanks to COVID-19.
Zoom’s growth journey is one for the record books because it proves the importance of investment especially in the early stages of any start-up.
With a 9-year track record, Zoom has recorded an estimated 40x increase and it only registered its first profits seven years into the business and has cemented its place amidst COVID-19. And these are all valuable lessons, especially for entrepreneurs.
What can we learn from Zoom?
This success is based on the fact that it paid attention to simplicity, ease of use and installation.
By focusing on security as well as making sure that it was user friendly, Zoom was able to gain lots of users putting it in the same league with already established players such as Skype, Google Meets or Hangouts. Establishing a “freemium model”, Zoom was able to allow users to use the features without being concerned about having to pay.
And even though the “freemium model” limited how long it would be required to stay connected on a free version, Zoom’s founder capitalised on the fact that people would enjoy its features and connect with their loved ones. Unfortunately, this approach created loopholes but it achieved its desired objective of giving potential clients exactly what they want and need- which is connectivity.
But what Eric Yuan, the sole founder of Zoom did right is to believe in his ideas and abilities to make it work and this is what most entrepreneurs should do when they get started.
As an entrepreneur one should understand and accept that this is possibly a lonely journey.
The journey of entrepreneurship is one where people doubt or may not believe the choices you make, but perseverance and resilience will get you to your ultimate destination. Just like it took a pandemic to see Yuan make a huge fortune and ultimately move straight into the “Billionaire circle.”
The lesson is simple: turn a blind eye to fear and follow your heart all the time.
Zoom and entrepreneurship
Based on the journey of Zoom, one can deduce that entrepreneurship is not a job. The organisation’s success is attributed to passion, courage, resilience, and belief in becoming a serious contender against well-established players. The truth is there’s always a place for a new market player if the latter addresses the needs of the community and or what others may have not chosen to deal with. And with the “new normal” becoming reality, it is safe to say that the future of businesses belongs to those who believe.
COVID-19 has proved that there won’t necessarily be a new way of doing things, but perhaps better opportunities in the market as everyone adapts to the changing landscape. The bottom line is the same for successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs need to be agile and very quick to identify market opportunities and take a shot at it. They need to navigate their way and make it work. They need to accept and respect that during the journey, it will not be easy but most certainly rewarding.
As the fight for a piece of the pie continues we will continue to see a constant mobilisation of resources from businesses as they try to implement features that allow people to stay connected during this pandemic and post the pandemic. But at the centre of this, is the importance of investing in one’s business.
Unfortunately or fortunately, Zoom and other businesses alike are shining a spotlight on what we lack in Africa. This is a market for investors that believe in technology early on and are willing and ready to invest in tech companies for an emerging digital economy.
Entrepreneurs, especially on the African continent, need to understand that investing early on in businesses of this nature has the potential to produce great returns. The lesson here is that you need to have a vision, passion and perseverance but you also need to know and be willing to spend money to make money.
As we witness a constant change to older narratives, we need to cultivate in us the importance of investing, and investing early on in projects or businesses that have the potential to yield great returns in the future.
Just like Zoom, entrepreneurs need to back their vision and turn a dream into reality through investment, whether it’s with their own money or not they need to take the plunge.
- John Lombela is MD at Cryptovecs Capital