“Failure is the biggest teacher for an entrepreneur or business leader. If you have never made a mistake or failed, you will never have learned how to succeed,” says Eric Klein. He is Co-Founder, COO, and CISO at Cloudonix, a cross-platform, in-platform communications infrastructure that provides businesses with faster, smarter communications channels that can integrate with existing business communications systems and save businesses both time and money.
“At one startup, we had a product that every enterprise and small business needed, but we spent all of our time educating customers about their needs,” says Eric continues. He continues, “This process of teaching about the need makes the actual sales process harder and much longer. Another part of learning is that you will need to wear multiple hats when you are in a startup. So, you need to be flexible and be willing to learn on the fly.”
Describe Cloudonix’s offerings that address the needs of your customers.
While Cloudonix has many uses, our two biggest use cases where we are helping our customers are in sales enablement and work from home.
Cloudonix’s voice communication technology turns your existing digital assets into communication channels, accelerating sales and increasing customer satisfaction. For working from home, Cloudonix adds cloud capabilities to your existing on-premises call center, enabling your agents to work from anywhere in the world. Rapid deployment is more rapidly deployed and cost effective without replacing your existing systems or retraining your team.
Thus, we are both helping accelerate the time to revenue and enabling the support needed for our customers’ primary pain points. Following are the data that signify the average improvements, across all customers.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in this industry through your expertise in the industry?
The biggest impact we have made is less in our industry than those of our customers. The work from home/anywhere solution came about based on a random call I had with a potential partner. In fact, it started when they tried to sell me services and I started asking questions about how they were addressing things during the pandemic.
By asking the questions and understanding what was possible, we went from a preliminary sales Zoom call, to a business development call, to an integration and demo in under 30 min. You need to be open to the possibilities, as you never know where a chance discussion may lead.
What are the challenges you and your team at Cloudonix come across in your day-to-day operations?
As a small team, we need to keep changing hats. This can lead to some loss of productivity or confusion. I find it best to take a 2 min walk to change mental “hats.” Otherwise, going from marketing to sales to accounting can take a bit of effort.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
One of the best books I have read on starting a business was “Smart or Lucky: How Technology Leaders Turn Chance into Success” by Judith Hurwitz. This helped put things in perspective for me, as a lot of entrepreneurs seem to think that you need to create something brand new and be the first to market with it. The problem with that is twofold. First, you spend all of your time educating people about the problem and solution rather than selling (or sometimes building) it. The second is that it is not true. Look at the biggest companies out there today, and they were not first in their market. Google wasn’t even in the first generation of search engines, and they are the largest one today – so much so that their name has turned into a verb to describe searching the internet for something regardless of the tool you actually use. Apple was not the first personal computer by a long shot, and yet today everyone knows the Mac brand. Knowing that you can take an existing category and make it better is where the real future is for a lot of companies, so look at what is out there and find ways to make them better.
Taking into consideration, the current pandemic, and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your organisation to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your employees at the same time?
From the beginning, we were ready with steps and processes that enabled our team to work from home. This helped reduce risk and allowed the team to be flexible so long as the job got done.
With the onset of the pandemic, we shifted focus both on our solution (the work from home solution mentioned before) and on how we sell. We noticed that from direct sales to working via partners that were already doing business with our target audience. These combined to create significant increases in our number of paying customers.
So, as an organization, we are looking at what pain points the pandemic has brought and are trying to tailor our solutions and marketing towards easing that pain.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drive Cloudonix.
Cloudonix is almost a family. The founders have known each other for almost 20 years. In fact, I danced at both of my co-founder’s weddings. We understand that working from home requires a different level of work and family requirements. The management team decided to be relaxed about actual work times so long as the job got done. In some cases, that meant working after the kids went to bed, and that was fine. The key is to understand that your people are people first and not machines.
What do you envision yourself being in the long run, and what are your future goals for Cloudonix?
We are targeting taking the company all the way to an IPO and beyond. We are already servicing customers in multiple regions, and our vision is to make in-platform communications accessible to all — simpler, faster, and more affordable than ever.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Stop and listen to your market, customers, and prospects. Don’t try to sell them on your tech, learn what their pain points are and then consider if and how you can help. A prepared answer early on means that you are not listening and can cost you a huge market.