We caught up with the CEO Emma Lo Russo of Digivizer, a company that provides social media analytics to help generate sales leads and insights for companies. She shared her journey in growing the company and getting to where Digivizer is now. 

1. Your experiences have undoubtedly led to your current day successes and position. What are three of the most important things you have learned along the way?

It’s difficult to narrow down success to three factors! But these top-three were relevant in corporate life, and are critical in startups:

Tip 1:  Focus is everything

Having clarity around your vision helps ignite your customers and how your team delivers. Prioritising what you work on, and how you use time and your valuable resources, is the key thing that differentiates success from failure.  

Tip 2:  Hire the best people you can

Hire the best talent you can.  We hire on the principles that they must be smart, talented, get things done, be fast learners, and not be an asshole! You want people with passion, adaptability, and the ability to be champions for the vision and its execution.

Tip 3: The customer is everything

A great idea is just that without a customer. All businesses, from startup to established, are successful when they put the customer first.  The best funding is revenue, the best knowledge is customer usage and feedback. Thus, it is crucial to understand customer problems, ship early, and continuously iterate to keep delighting them.

2. Digivizer was the winner of Carnegie’s Den in 2014. What are some tips you would give to those who are also trying to gain investment through these opportunities?

  • Understand your market:  Understand who you are presenting to and what is important to them. The most-likely investors are those already with the passion and the means to invest in the opportunity space you are playing in. They will only invest if they see you have done your homework.  
  • Tell your story in the most passionate, real way possible, and include lots of proof
  • Ultimately answer the questions, why should they invest in you/your idea – what makes you likely to be more successful than anyone else?
  • Listen to what they are saying – answer the questions they have
  • Finally, six more things:  
    • Prepare
    • Prepare
    • Prepare
    • Practice
    • Practice
    • Practice

3. Innovation comes with a big serving of failure. How have you dealt with failure in your experiences and what did you do to overcome it?

I recently talked about the freedom to fail fast and about how I see all failure as a path to good learning. The key is to do both quickly. It is much better to release an early product or service and learn from customer and market feedback, rather than wait for mythical perfection that never reaches the market. Measure everything you do.  The more you see your journey as a path of iterations and possible pivots, the more open you will be to seeing the refinements or big changes you need to make.https://goo.gl/WbXwbb

If you have good people and a good culture, you want to pick up the changes you need to make to ensure your relevance as early as possible.  We are big on doing retrospectives; asking ourselves what we did well and what worked, what we didn’t do well and what failed, and finally asking ourselves the questions we need to understand the lessons and opportunities we need to focus on.  The more frequently you review your progress, the more likely you are to strengthen your chances of success, and of knowing the path you need to take.

Catch more of Emma’s advice curated from years of experience at StartCon this year. Her talk on The Good, the Risky and the Fightening – Conquering the fear of being an entrepreneur will ensure you know how to make decisions to become a successful tech entrepreneur and how to make your dreams a reality. We only have a limited amount of tickets left, make sure you grab them below!

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