Technology is turning running a business into a much simpler, streamlined affair. With so much data and tech at our fingertips, software developers are paying more attention to business process and creating software that can make these processes a lot easier for entrepreneurs to grasp and implement.
This is important because it allows business owners more time to focus on their business goals and strategy as opposed to running every aspect of the business manually. A business has so many different needs, and as we know, very few entrepreneurs have all the skills it requires to run every aspect of the business. If they do, it’s surely not a sustainable strategy because a business does best when the business owner can work on the business instead of in it.
We’ve seen a massive increase in e-commerce adoption globally since the pandemic hit. The future of business is online, and many retailers are fast beginning to accept this fact.
However, the truth is, If you are inefficient in your business processes, you will struggle to serve the needs of your online business. Digitising these process can increase your efficiency.
This is where Gareth Hawkey and his team at redPanda come in. redPanda is an enterprise software developer and technology enabler that provides highly customised software, mobile and cloud solutions to businesses. Gareth brings strategic business acumen to the redPanda Software team as Group CEO. His detailed understanding of and ability to identify process efficiencies allows him to guide business and software development to achieve the best results. With a love for the magic that happens when technology and business meet, Gareth’s drive as redPanda Software’s CEO is to make software development and support easy and predictable for enterprise businesses and change the landscape of custom software development for the global retail industry.
We spoke to Gareth about his work at redPanda, as well as some of the things businesses can look out for when digitising their retail businesses.
What Was Your Motivation For Starting redPanda?
I spent ten years inside a retailer, on the other side of the fence, and there were a lot of products being thrown our way. It was a very large retailer, one of the listed companies, and we got a lot of off-the-shelf products thrown in our faces with instructions on how things should work.
I found that you need the nuances, you need to be able to build your own kind of culture and your own customer experience as well. I found that the off-the-shelf products just made everybody look the same, made it too generic. So having something customized is often better because you can put in your own flavours, you can manage the entire development cycle, you can manage how often you release during the year and when exactly you release your products.
I found that there was a gap in the market for that, especially being focused and staying in retail. So we decided to specialize in retail. All our customers are retailers, and we have a deep understanding and knowledge of retail. The difference is that we are building customized software for those retailers.
What Is An ‘Entrepreneur’ To You?
At the base of it, an entrepreneur is a rebel. They look at the world differently, they believe they can change the world and they believe they can fix a problem. They also have a certain level of confidence along with rebelliousness.
I heard it phrased very well on a TED talk, where they said: you must doubt the default. That’s what creates this rebel attitude. You doubt the default, you don’t just accept the norm, you don’t accept the world we live in as it is. Instead, you say I know enough about this world that I can actually add some value, I can change it and take a different view of it. I think that for me is an entrepreneur.
They start with that rebellious attitude. They live inside a vertical and they get a very solid understanding of it so that they can build a strong opinion about it. And then they’re able to share that opinion. Once you start sharing your opinion and other people start following you, you become a leader, you become an entrepreneur. And that for me is the recipe, if I can call it that.
What Is Your Advice For Choosing The Right Software Developer Strategy?
t’s a difficult question for sure because there are so many opinions out there, there are so many different platforms. As a startup entrepreneur, if you’ve got a product that you’re trying to sell through an e-commerce channel and there are a dozen platforms to choose from, like WooCommerce. So just pick one and start using it. It’s nice and fresh and easy to use. You can set it up quickly and you can get your goods out there and start selling them.
But obviously as you mature and as your business grows, that flavour starts to come into play. You want to examine how you are actually dealing with your customers; what kind of experience you want them to have when they’re shopping at your store. And if you’re using these off-the-shelf products then everything becomes a little bit generic and you can’t really change the culture of what your store looks like and how it feels. In that case, you might want to start moving into the more customized realm of things.
And again, if you want to move fast, you’ve got to get a team up and running quickly. It’s going to be difficult to try and get one of these small nichey languages fast.