Hartej Sawhney | Crain's Las Vegas

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Hartej Sawhney

Background:  

Zuldi is a tech startup that targets high-volume food and beverage properties utilizing the Micros POS system and extends that POS system to do cloud-based ordering and payment processing on iPads and Android tablets. It helps ease the customer experience without the expense of replacing the existing POS infrastructure. The company launched in Las Vegas and now has a presence in New York and the Cayman Islands, with plans to expand into 16 cities in the coming months.

The Mistake:

If I'd been measuring more metrics earlier, then perhaps our focus would have been placed where we needed to grow more.

At an early stage, if you start measuring your growth, you're going to raise red flags where you're not seeing growth and where you should be putting some focus. For example, early on we were putting a lot of focus on raising venture capital, and I spent an ample amount of time reaching out to brand-new venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

And we look back on that now and we say, "Why did we waste our time trying to contact all these VCs all the time?" Instead of calling 20 new VCs, I should have been calling 20 new restaurants in Vegas. 

And then I did that. We landed our first 20 clients. We launched our product in Vegas. And we've been based here in Vegas for 4.5 years now, which is kind of unique for a tech company.

Instead of calling 20 new VCs, I should have been calling 20 new restaurants in Vegas.

The Lesson:

If you don’t measure something, then you can't grow it. It's extremely important as an entrepreneur, even at an early stage, to always be measuring your metrics.

They say that great companies grow an average of 7 percent week over week during their growing phase, but you can't grow what you don’t measure.

Oftentimes, at an early stage, you're not talking to actual clients so you're not able to count that. "Oh, today I spoke with 20 clients, and tomorrow I speak with 20, and every day we speak with at least 20 new clients and we do 20 follow-ups." And then you can start measuring the success rate of how that's going. It's important to measure metrics.

Also, health is your wealth. As I've gone through the five years of building Zuldi, I've learned to invest more and more in my health and how important it is to meditate, do yoga, eat healthy and go to the gym. That is more my wealth than the money hitting my bank. The money will come and go, but I need my health.

Follow Hartej Sawhney on Twitter at @hartejsawhney and Zuldi at @zuldico.

Photo courtesy of Hartej Sawhney

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