Entrepreneur since: 2002
Current position: Co-Founder & Co-CEO of PlanRadar
Pioneer in: SaaS (Software as a Service)
Recipe for success: stick to your industry/domain
“As long as you stick to your vision, everything else will come by itself. Don’t be afraid of taking risks – there is a solution for everything.”
8 companies. 2 failed (“successfully” liquidated). 1 currently on the best path of becoming a unicorn. Ibrahim Imam, Entrepreneur at heart, father of 2, loves to shape a company with his vision and give something useful (back) to the community.
Stick to your domain
Ibrahim started young to create side businesses in order to finance his studies in Business Informatics. One was “Lern im Team” [Learn in Groups, Ed.] which was a tutoring school connecting students with pupils to help each other out with studying. Next business pioneered the SaaS space and made it to the incubator of INiTS. Another one was a Food StartUp, which, despite branching out to 3 stores, failed in the end. His advice: “Stick to changing the industry you have know-how about”.
And sticking to his domain paid off. Now, looking back at almost 2 decades of Entrepreneurship in Austria, he is one of the 5 Co-founders of PlanRadar, a scale-up PropTech providing services to clients such as STRABAG & Co, and currently expanding to the Nordics, Russia, Poland, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, UAE and Australia. PlanRadar is a solution for documentation & communication in construction and real estate projects. The Unique Selling Proposition? Be on-boarded in less than 10 minutes, usable everywhere in the world, and saves about 7 hours per week to the average employee in the construction industry. Digitilization is not a question anymore in times of Corona; “it’s there, people need it to continue with their businesses. Only hunting is less digitized than construction”.
Listen to your gut
So, how do you get from clients asking to install a CD for your first solution in 2005 to self onboarding in 2020? Ibrahim explained 3 crucial skills:
The Selling & The Negotiating: The best idea sold poorly is worth nothing: “Learn everything about selling and generating revenue from along the whole sales funnel.” While it’s crucial in his job to be closing deals, Ibrahim tries not to bargain and rather create a win-win situation through understanding the needs of the other party.
The Gut Feeling: Listen to your gut feeling for both decisions and people; then compare the initial feeling to the actual decision taken later on, and learn how to close that gap over the years.
“The best part about being an entrepreneur? Being able to learn everyday from smart people, hire them later on, and shape your vision in the way you want it to be.”
This same gut feeling should be listened to when deciding whether to take on the entrepreneurial path, Ibrahim advises. “It’s not a 9-5 job – pick something that you love doing and you are really good at or want to be good at, and talk to loads of people who have done it.” While getting their advice, stay critical and check their track record. Then match the findings with the initial vision for one’s life: “You know your personal situation best”. In the end, everyone’s the constructor of his/her own life.
Next week: Markus Linder
In our weekly interview series, we will be featuring various inspirational entrepreneurs of the Austrian startup scene. Each Monday, you can expect useful insights into their lives and practical tips that you can follow in order to walk your entrepreneurial path. Like, share, comment – and feel free to reach out to us. Suggestions, ideas, remarks are all welcome – let’s shape the ecosystem together!