Avora CEO Ricky Thomas believes all business founders should be aware of the stresses and challenges that come with being an entrepreneur.

The serial founder racked up years of experience in entrepreneurship across both B2B and B2C businesses before founding the business intelligence startup Avora, which has made him familiar with the ins and outs of running a business.

Image: Ricky Thomas, CEO, Avora
Image: Ricky Thomas, CEO, Avora

According to Thomas, the development of a business is likely to have a slow start, and the waiting time to see traction often varies. Founders should consider tactically looking at the ways to generate lead revenue, he advises.

The CEO warns entrepreneurs to not immediately expect what worked for others to work for them, but instead understand that customers will not always be instantly drawn to your product.

“You have to be quite careful about what you listen to and of course, entrepreneurs are probably over-optimistic about the way things are going, but then potentially find out at the very end that it didn’t quite work out,” Thomas tells Techworld.

“I think in the data analytics space in particular, I’d think twice before doing it. And that’s not to say you shouldn’t, because if you’ve got a great idea that’s obviously very good,” he says. “However, having the best product is not the path to winning; there’s plenty of products out there which are sub-standard but still become market leaders or extremely big.”

Thomas says that trying to develop the best product is only about 25 percent of the problem, with the rest being related to sales and marketing.

“It’s very difficult to get comfortable in those early days, but it’s about understanding you're moving in the right direction, keeping focus to cut out the noise, listening to signals and trends and getting clicks on that.

“In B2C you can spend £100 on AdWords and start instantly looking at the traffic that lands and doesn’t convert, so in my previous business that’s what I focused on nonstop, just looking at the data constantly. Whereas, here in B2B data in the early days doesn’t really exist,” he adds.

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Building Avora

Thomas applied these lessons to his strategy for Avora, which he founded in 2014

“My previous background is in databases and the development of real-time systems. I’ve built many big data platforms as well, and then I’ve had several other businesses before this one,” he says.

“I was extremely frustrated with the basics of reporting, it took a really long time to get the insights out and you couldn’t take action on that data very easily. So this sort of frustration is what led to the idea of Avora,” he adds.

Avora provides an end-to-end solution to automate reporting, helping to improve business performance profit while using machine learning to identify anomalies and trends.

The CEO was immediately able to identify the differences when shifting to B2B. “For me, it’s been challenging moving from B2C to B2B and trying to understand that the author is trying to calm stress levels down in regards to the kind of loopback or feedback in the advertising spend,” Thomas says.

“The valuations upon investment and exits are greater. In fact, revenue for the multitude is much bigger, but the bit that I find particularly stressful is the slow feedback on whether your strategy is working,” he adds.

Overall, the CEO advises that entrepreneurs should not underestimate the stress levels of owning a business and the impact it could have on your family. However, if it’s truly a passion, jumping the hurdles to scale will not be too difficult to overcome.

“I think people should still do it, because if you have an ambition to start your own company, you should absolutely do it, but I think just trying to be reasonable about how long things take, and how you balance your work life with family life is crucial,” he says.

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