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Angelo Z's story on... client empathy

Angelo’s entrepreneurial journey was sparked by serendipitous circumstances. Having completed his studies in the IT domain, he was fortunate enough to land a job at the largest IT conglomerate in South Africa only to find himself soon impacted by the crash. His ambitious career liftoff was quickly followed by job cuts and employment in this sector reaching an all time low. Angelo at that moment took control of his fate and decided to create work for himself in order to be less reliant on the industry comeback and fully in control of his own fate.

“I fell into entrepreneurship by chance. The first few years were slow, we didn't know what we were doing, we made mistakes. Over time we started to hire, the business became established, and today we are still growing. It’s been many years in the making and the burning desire as an entrepreneur has grown even more over time”.

Angelo reminds us that being an entrepreneur is a JOURNEY. A state of being. An ongoing quest where we never stop asking how we can grow, being real with what we don't know, being open to what we can learn, how we can apply this to our business, and how we can continuously strive to do better and be better no matter what our stage in business.

Being in business in the tech space, Angelo quickly realised that change is a constant as technology is forever in a cycle of new development. Due to the simple fact that many of his clients are quite different, his business is used to dealing with different challenges. Unable to adopt a ‘cut and paste’ model of doing the same things repetitively, makes for an innovative, fun and exciting state of business for both Angelo and his team who thrive on finding new ways to solve client challenges in the software development domain. This is ingrained into the culture of his business and continuously fuels their motivation, loyalty and genuine satisfaction and engagement with the business. Angelo has found what his team craves and remains focussed on giving them what they need to be at their best: an environment that is crafted specifically to enable the team to produce the best work that they can, to enjoy their work as well as feel passionate and proud of the work THEY produce because they (not ’the business’) are changing people's lives and making an impact through their work. Angelo certainly understands the chain reaction of how happy employees go on to produce exceptional work, which transcends to a happy client, and ultimately a successful business.

Angelo keeps his work grounded in his clients' realities by applying the simple art of empathy. He acknowledges both the need to educate clients to make wise decisions but also the responsibility that comes with being the expert that has to make decisions for them, decisions they are not always in a position to make themselves in that particular area of expertise which they hire you to resolve.

“We always put ourselves in the clients shoes, if it were our business, this is the route we would go. We make it personal. We understand the gravity of our decision making on their business as if it were our own.”

Many times, entrepreneurs find it difficult to have value conversations due to the fact that often our clients or consumers do not understand enough about the domain in order to attach value to the offering. Angelo acknowledges this and shares that clients may find it difficult to attach value to software development as it is not always tangible, it's something that goes on behind the scenes. Many times the complexities involved are difficult to ascertain. He believes the secret to building value with a client lies in education. Angelo invests time into building communication mechanisms which aid clients to grasp an understanding of the depth and intricacies in solving the challenges they are brought in to solve. When the understanding lands, the value exchange between his business and each client becomes easier.

“You have to have processes and systems in place that are designed to help drive high quality, and hold people accountable, which ultimately enables better output. This helps to standardise for efficiency and also to scale. We keep sharpening that sword.”

As we learn, we improve these mechanisms we have in place and our business becomes even smarter over time. Angelo applies his big picture thinking along with the intricate detail in execution from his team, to transform client challenges into a project blueprint that is built to bring exceptional solutions to life. He helps us to see software development as an art, not just a science.

“As entrepreneurs and founders we need to be flying the plane, we can't serve the drinks, we need to keep moving forward and steer the plane. Our focus is on the business, how to constantly improve, to enhance what we do, to continue to make advancements and to keep our attention on our clients and how we continue to help them.”

From a strategic point of view, there are bigger and bolder things one wants to do that may be less tangible and take a more long term commitment to reach. When these bigger goals start reaching fulfilment and one can see the fruits of our labour on such initiatives, it feels deeply rewarding.

Angelo admits that it is important to switch off, but reality is that one cannot switch off the excitement that comes with seeing the impact created for both his clients and team. Without realising, we see his uncanny ability to simultaneously value both the needs of his clients and employees, a trait we put on a pedestal. Thank you Angelo for sharing your secrets to success.

Work with Angelo Z

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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