EasyTaxi CEO: Innovate and sell or die
MANILA, Philippines – At Go Negosyo's 3rd Philippine Technopreneurship Summit, EasyTaxi Regional CEO Mario Berta held a short talk, breaking down success into manageable chunks. The process of dissecting was done to better frame ideas of success and what businesses might need to achieve it.
As part of Rocket Internet, an Internet business incubator that also launched online stores Zalora and Lazada, EasyTaxi calls itself the "world's biggest taxi booking operation." With applications on the PC and various mobile operating systems, EasyTaxi lets users request a taxi within Metro Manila that will shuttle them to a particular destination.
Holding a user base of around 5 million worldwide and around two million downloads, EasyTaxi makes big business, and Berta summed up some of the important ideas that can help new businesses maintain a stong, long-lasting operation.
Innovate and sell
Berta began with some tough words for the audience, noting that innovating and selling are two primary business goals companies should try to aim for. "if you don't innovate a space, you're going to die as a company. If you can't sell your product, your service, or yourself, you're going to die as a company," he noted.
Talking about innovation, Berta explained why a company like EasyTaxi exists in the first place. He said that EasyTaxi exists for two reasons: to solve a problem and to enhance customer experience.
The main problem EasyTaxi solves, he explained, is the trouble with finding transportation. Before EasyTaxi, one could flag down a cab or try to call a taxi service and book transportation in advcance, though Berta noted that booking a taxi in this manner is very difficult. EasyTaxi disrupts the existing taxi booking and riding systems in a given location by improving them using the EasyTaxi system.
Berta explained that success can come from look for existing products and services that have a market, finding what that market is missing or is weak at for now, and then creating something that improves the market.
DICEE and great tech products
When it comes to selling and innovating on products, Berta cited the DICEE acronym, which represents what great products possess.
According to a 2006 blog post by business advisor Guy Kawasaki, DICEE products are Deep, Indulgent, Complete, Elegant and Emotive. Berta's speech referred to a slightly altered paradigm, noting that great products in the age of apps are Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering, and Elegant.
Berta said a deep tech product is feature-rich and designed for the world's sensitibilities. It also has to be intelligent, meaning that the product can understand what you need it to do and provide for your request accordingly.
The product should also be empowering, such that a user feels powerful and good as a result of using your product to solve a problem that previously made life tougher, and it should also be elegant in providing that solution by providing consumers with positive user experiences.
Partnerships and plotting a course
With a great product in tow, you need to make sure that you have all your bases covered, not only in terms of creating your product, but making sure that you can sustain production and take care of legal matters as needed.
Berta said finding a partner that can help you grow your business will likely be best.
For those who have advanced their business and are attempting to enter markets outside their localities, a foreign partner who understands the culture of a given new territory would be helpful.
That said, Berta suggested that having one or two partners and staying loyal to them over a long term.
Companies must also have a growth plan. No one, Berta said, "is going to give you money if you don't know how you're going to make money." This means planning your business model given your situation, adapting your product to your location.
Companies should also know their users or customers well, because their habits will determine how to best position the product and the way you communicate to your potential customers through marketing and public relations.
Investing in your people
Related to the business plan, Berta also cited an important point about building your team. "The employees that come to you for money are the wrong employees," he said.
Instead, Berta said that finding people who share your vision, or those who "believe what you believe" tend to support the company the best. Investing in the people who share your vision also builds stronger bonds.
As Berta explained in his talk, the company supports the Philippine garage for EasyTaxi by not only providing training for them, but also financial education, classes, customer service education, and incentives or fun group-building activities for the company members.
Selling your idea takes work
To sum up his points, Berta noted that selling your product or idea to get funding takes a lot of preparation. Someone selling something has to believe in what he's selling. At the same time, he also needs to know who he's selling to, and ideas without any plan or understanding of the company they're pitching to will likely not work out favorably.
"Especially in Asia, success is based on relationships," Berta said. "If you connect with the person you're pitching to, your likelihood to close the deal is much, much higher."
Based on his talk, it would seem that the best way to bring success to your table is to understand what you're getting into, planning your strategy accordingly, executing the plans and, finally, just making it happen.
Watch Mario Berta's talk below: