The Customerised Mission

Friday, 22nd April 2022

by Alastair Swindlehurst, EZHR
Proud sponsors of the pro-manchester Fintech Lunch 2022

Over the last few years, I feel that we have been in the age of the tech entrepreneur, and there is no better example than the podcasts, books and dramatisations of Theranos and WeWork (although not for the right reasons).

Their businesses were goliaths of the start-up world, often held up as the aspiration for many founders, and equally investors.

Two of the most intriguing things I find about both these businesses is their focus on Mission and positions as -tech businesses. While Theranos was a bio-chemistry business attempting to be Apple, WeWork was merely a real-estate business. Both benefited from ‘visionaries’ who ultimately fell, albeit for a large variety of reasons, from the fact that they didn’t engage the world around them.

In the age of Mission-led entrepreneurs we applaud those with the reliance and strength of character to persevere beyond the doubters. That said, for some of the reasons that WeWork and Theranos failed, and again there is always more to the tale, their single-minded determination to Stay on Mission is probably the reason that most early-stage founders fail.

From my own perspective there are very few things that are truly revolutionary, the truly brilliant products that you come across are simple, engaging, integrate and stretch things a little to make things simpler. But there’ a danger that businesses start to Tech for Tech’s Sake.

But the obsession with a single mission to disrupt the market can isolate the business, the product, and the user. The focus on development and innovation can isolate the user and from our work we have started to consider the following three points:

  • What is the end user problem: As much as we like to think we’re superheroes saving the day with a super product, we’re not. The product is there to help the end user get what they need. We recognised that our client needed 24/7 support, so rather than put an out of hours phoneline in, lets look at an interface that addresses queries wherever and whenever.
  • Core value of the product: Make sure that you have enough sense of yourself as to why people came to you in the first place. The technology should look to elevate those key elements and services that made the end user work better or feel more supported. We know that the quality of the advice sets us apart, that’s why that ability to own and manage risk, needs to be reflect in any technology that our users engage with.
  • Leave it alone: There sometimes can be a fine line between evolution and revolution. Sometimes you need to ask on what basis are you actually developing and innovating. Does it address a known need? Does it maintain where your product needs to go? Is it for the right reasons?

Don’t get me wrong, without disruptors like Henry Ford, if he had merely listened to the market, we would still be riding horses.

I’ve constantly wrestled with the concept of EZHR being a tech business. The business has evolved from its original concept. We’ve introduced elements of support that have worked and some that have been underwhelming. The feedback from customers has always influenced the Mission, it has to, and we are exploring the opportunities of Legal Tech and its lack of adoption. But fundamentally, we are an HR advisory service for SMEs that is using tech to improve the user experience. It’s taken me a while to recognise that tech will not define the business, it will refine the business.

EZHR are a key sponsor of our pro-manchester Fintech Lunch which takes place at the Bridgewater Hall on 12th May. To learn more about that event, please click here . Contact information for EZHR can be found below.

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