Hey Eric. How’s it going, man? Let’s get to know about you first – Eric Suzor, the man from Malawi and raised and educated in the United States and the UK.
Hey Geogy, nice to be chatting with you. Me, I believe I am quite simple to get to know. The key words that sum me up are loyalty, curiosity, innovative, fearless, relentless, flexible, and optimistic. I would add passionate, but that is a given for any entrepreneur.
You could describe me as a bit of a nomad, as I spent my life moving around and lived in some remarkably interesting places. Career wise, although I spent most of my career working for companies, I had the heart of an entrepreneur since day one. Intrapreneur for those organisations, driving change, and now full-blown entrepreneur at Swivelt.
Tell us about the biggest challenge you had to face, which also made you who you are today.
Early into my career I was convinced I had all the right answers. In my mind, I genuinely believe everyone interpreted my approach as confidence. In reality, I was just seen as arrogant. Honestly, I lacked empathy and self-awareness; in my opinion two of the most important ingredients for any leader. These missing ingredients made every good idea I had a struggle to bring to life. Finally, one leader decided to invest in a professional coach to unlock my potential.
I summarise that experience as simply transformational and I am sincerely grateful to that leader for their foresight. Not that I am perfect by any means, however, I dread to think how long it would have taken me to get there on my own.
Eric, in a nutshell, Swivelt’s mission is to help companies grow with a combination of great people and AI based technology. Can you share with our readers what Swivelt is all about?
Very well summarised, it is our mission to help companies grow. We want to help all companies, startup through to enterprise. In my past roles, the team and I helped mainly Enterprise companies. In Swivelt, we believe that the services we deliver should be available to every company. Using digital tools and AI based technology enables us to make what we do for Enterprise companies available to all, even the startup community.
As part of the outsourcing industry, people are the heart of our business, so we want to eliminate the traditional transactional view of outsourcing by using AI/Digitisation not necessary to replace people, but make their roles more meaningful and valuable to themselves and the organisations we serve.
For sure this means we can do more with less, but the driver is a mindset of getting rid of the mundane so we can put the great minds and skills of our people towards value creation and enhancement.
As a group company of Nityo Infotech, we have a great platform to be anywhere in the world that our customers need us because of their global presence; a great advantage for a “start-up” like Swivelt.
What is Swivelt up to now and share with us that eureka moment when you knew your venture with Swivelt might actually become a success?
Besides expanding our footprint in Asia and scaling up our services teams, we are driving the adoption of our new product launched at the beginning of this year, iStrives. iStrives is the first complete performance management platform that helps organisations digitise performance management and enables an autonomous workforce that can work from anywhere.
There were many reasons why we created the platform, but the top reason was to make it easier for an employee to succeed. Just making more employees better at their roles is enough, as the whole spectrum of cascading effects that this would have on any company’s revenue and profit is clear.
Although it wasn’t our primary focus, in today’s coronavirus environment, it is a great way to minimise the disruption that most companies are facing from having to adopt a work from home business model. A model that is unlikely to go way even after this crisis.
From our point of view, this is a long overdue business requirement considering 92% of companies worldwide are dissatisfied with their performance management process and laptops hit the market nearly 40 years ago with the offer to Work From Anywhere (WFA).
Both digitised performance management and WFA are major business opportunities that have been missed by companies for too many years, so we are on the path to help companies and employees really succeed.
To Swivelt’s success, I was convinced on day one that we had the ingredients and conviction to be successful. We were repeating the success we had in our previous organisation and enhancing it to be ready for the future.
However, as we all know, success has many definitions and moments in time. So we are grateful for the good moments but remain vigilant that we have to continuously reinvent ourselves to stay relevant in the ever changing business landscape.
What sets Swivelt apart from your competitors?
I am a big believer in focusing on yourself rather than others when seeking happiness or success, and applying the same approach to competitors.
Seeing Swivelt succeed is really down to how well we execute to untap the value for our employees and customers. With our combined Growth Services and iStrives, it is hard to pinpoint a true competitor, rather it is a disbursed landscape of competitors doing part/s of what we provide holistically.
Perhaps this sets us apart, however for me, at this stage of Swivelt’s development, we compete against ourselves to relentlessly execute, and the competition is a potential customer or channel for some of our offerings.
What are your marketing strategies for Swivelt, Eric?
Our marketing strategy centers on digital marketing. We heavily rely on social and specialist sites to reach our potential customers. As we enter the second quarter of this year, we will expand our digital channels and increase paid promotions.
As a young company, we have had very positive outcomes by focusing on our digital marketing activities that I attribute to investing into content creation so that we had a variety of interesting material for our prospects.
Before we end, what advice would you give to those who wish to embark on a similar journey as yours?
My top advice to anyone wanting to embark on the entrepreneur journey is that you make sure that you are ready mentally and physically. You might get lucky and go from zero to hero, but most likely you will be stepping into a daily battle that will require every ounce of mental and physical strength to overcome that natural state of any company: failure.
Some small pointers that I believe helped us so far:
- Plan well but not so rigidly that it is hard to change.
- Get partners not investors, partners that can complement each other in the market.
- Prepare your personal life & family so that they support you rather than disrupt you.
- Pick your core team wisely; take people you know and you like working with each other.
- Don’t compromise on talent as you expand and make sure they align to the culture.
- Stay agile; listen, learn and adjust quickly.
- Pivot quickly, don’t stay married to your original idea for vanity reasons.
- Think like you are already an enterprise, set yourself up for success from day one.
- Over communicate internally and externally.
- Don’t over think things that fail. Adjust and enhance then move on quickly.