Business Technology

Using blockchain to enhance your business

6 min read

23 November 2018

Luke Shipley explains how he created a blockchain startup and provides advice for any entrepreneur looking to integrate blockchain into their business plan.

Entrepreneurship is at the heart of all blockchain projects and with new technologies, new paradigms are born. Innovative, dynamic, fast-paced and collaborative, blockchain and startups go hand in hand.

Yet of all the blockchain-based projects launched in the last year, over 59% have failed, according to Fortune. That’s a total of $233 million on failed startups. What’s going wrong?

Starting your own business, whatever it is, is not for the faint-hearted, and that’s no different when it comes to building blockchain into your architecture plan.

However, this groundbreaking technology has huge potential to disrupt the status quo. Blockchain has applications far beyond the realm of financial services, and I have spent the last couple of years building Zinc, and implementing blockchain to revolutionise the hiring process.

Having spent several years working in recruitment for a large corporate, I rapidly became disenfranchised with the repetitive, slow and archaic processes used throughout recruitment. Having had a sideline of e-commerce based businesses since university, I knew working for a large corporate wasn’t for me, which eventually led to me building Zinc.

However, it was not without its challenges and the statistics above act as a warning to anyone entering the industry to make sure they are well informed and well prepared.

Below is some of the top advice I would impart to any entrepreneur that is considering implementing blockchain technology into their business.

Avoid the hype

The bright lights, the mass marketing and the promise of millions can easily lure an entrepreneur into thinking there is a quick buck to be made, but we can see from the stats that this isn’t the case.

Before diving in and creating your whitepaper, consider whether blockchain is really for you.

Does it support your overall business plan? As a business owner, your number one role is to build a product that is right for the market. Do you need blockchain technology to do this?

No one is an expert

If blockchain will enhance your business then don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Believe it or not, you don’t need to be a tech expert to contribute to the industry.

Whilst I have always had an interest in technology, it is not something I ever studied and the knowledge I did have was broad and not deep.

As with any tech business, there are opportunities in all disciplines, be it marketing, sales or accountancy.

However, blockchain knowledge is useful and the good news is that it is easily accessible. There are numerous online courses, face to face workshops where you can start to hone your skills such as the ConsenSys Academy.

Intrigued, involved and immersed

As a nascent industry, everyone involved is on the learning curve. If you are already thinking about building a business based on blockchain, simply get involved. The industry is brimming with new business models and new ideas. As an open source community the doors are wide open to anyone with the energy and interest.

Research projects around your area of interest and see how you can contribute. Don’t waste time – there is no need for formalities in this industry!

This is undoubtedly the best way to build your skillset quickly and will put you in good stead to assess your idea and whether it is right for the market as it stands.

Know your cheerleaders

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt,” William Shakespeare said in Measure for Measure.

Any entrepreneur will know how the onset of doubt can hold us back, and no more so than when you’re navigating uncharted territory. I learnt this when I first started promoting my idea and calling for backup and funding.

I was fortunate enough to meet our now co-founder, who quickly saw the potential in the business but recognised some of the issues holding me back. By following his advice to invest in more market research, our project quickly moved forward. As a leader and entrepreneur it is hard to wear all hats.

We need our cheerleaders not only to remove doubts and give us confidence but to provide objectivity and advice. No more so than in the complex world of blockchain.

Navigating and understanding the blockchain landscape is fascinating, fast-paced and on occasion, headache inducing.

At Zinc, we see a genuine opportunity to solve many of the problems that are holding back the recruitment process, simply by implementing this privacy
based technology.

The industry is brimming with new ideas and ways to implement this new technology across multiple industries and for any entrepreneur considering blockchain, there are opportunities aplenty.

Luke Shipley is entrepreneur and founder of Zinc.