At the age of 17 in 2009, she immigrated to Taiwan with a scholarship to pursue her bachelor’s degree. She then went on for her master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. This was also the point where she started her entrepreneurial journey in her last semester of study. Born in Honduras, Yadia Colindres, COO and Co-Founder of FOX-TECH, will share her story, from her motivations to the key activities – help shaping her to become who she is today.
1. Why do you choose to do this business?
As a kid, I wanted to be a scientist, helping the people and environment. However, as I grow up, I realise that bringing creations to the world is not as straightforward as learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). So many variables and factors come into play. I have the desire to bring empowering solutions to the communities and the best way to do it would be becoming an entrepreneur.
2. What motivates you?
My biggest motivation is the pursuit of being able to create things that can have an impact on local communities. As a data-driven person, it was logical for me to use technology as a catalyst for this.
3. What are the 3 challenges faced in the business?
Finding the Right People:
When creating a startup, it is very important to find people whom you can share your vision with, and they believe it. As a founder, one of your responsibilities is to create your own startup’s culture. This culture will define what your teammates should do when no one is watching. Sometimes you may find very skilful individuals, but their personalities do not match the culture you are trying to build in the company.
Marketing is one of deep tech startups’ biggest ally but most difficult to embrace. I think this is due to the strong engineering background of the teams. There is such unspoken culture of believing that if your product is good, people will know about it. But to make this happen, you need to convince people on what makes your product good. Hence, marketing is very important. You can make use of marketing to showcase how your product has benefited other people and this can be replicated to similar customers. If you are good, do not be afraid to share it with the world.
Not Managing Time Well:
There are only 24 hours in one day and you probably need to sleep at least 6 hours. This means you only have 18 hours left to do everything you need to do. I learn to put priorities on my weekly to-do list so as to be able to work smarter and meet deadlines. Another tip that make me more productive is learning to tell if a meeting is a must for me to attend or I can delegate.
4. What is the toughest decision you have made till date?
Being an entrepreneur of a startup is like being in a non-stop roller coaster with many ups and downs. Now imagine that the roller coaster is powered only by your willpower. Some days you are on the top and feel like the queen of the world while other days you may feel beat-up by life. When I started becoming an entrepreneur, it was my first time experiencing many ups and downs in such a short period. The tough decision for me was whether I should commit to this type of lifestyle to see our solution go live. In the end, my ambition for witnessing FOX-TECH impacting some businesses is what has driven me to where I am today.
5. What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear will be losing my ambition. When you have ambition, there is always a mountain higher than the one you climbed. There is always be a new challenge to conquer. And as such without ambition, nothing can bring the satisfaction of completing something and knowing there will be more to come.
6. How do you define success?
The definition of success is personal. Ten people will probably give you ten different answers when asked. For me, success is achieving a goal you set for yourself that has a positive impact in your local community.
7. What are the 3 habits / key activities do you think one should cultivate / invest to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Establishing a daily routine:
I am one of those people that thrive with daily routines. From the minute I wake up, I know exactly what I will be doing till lunchtime. This allows me to have more mental free time to work on any hard problems I am currently tackling on. Every Sunday afternoon, I will also prepare my weekly meals and arrange my outfits depending on the next week schedule.
When you start the entrepreneur journey, there will be many things you do not know. Save yourself with some time and life lessons by networking with people that are more skilful and experienced than you. Getting a mentor sometimes is not as straightforward as just asking someone to become one. It is about building a strong relationship with that person whom you can trust and learn from. A mentor can also be your lifelong friend.
Reading is the fastest way to learn from people’s experiences, opinions and studies. I learnt how to read was when I was 4 years old. As the first thing in the morning, my parents would always read the newspaper and discuss the news, allowing me to know more about the world and motivate me to read even more.
One of the tricks that I have been using will be cultivating a habit of reading one sentence a day. This will prevent any excuses of not reading in my hectic schedule.
8. What are the responsibilities of a business owner / entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is responsible for solving all problems. It does not matter if it is financials, R&D or marketing. As an entrepreneur, this is now your responsibility. You do not need to know everything, but you must know where to look for the answers.
9. What are the top 3 skills required to be a successful entrepreneur?
For me networking is one of the most important skills for an entrepreneur. Networking allows you to meet all types of people. Once you have met them, it is easier to build different rapports with them – from mentors to customers to partners. I was once at a party. I was talking with this lady in the elevator while waiting for the rest to enter. It turned out that her boyfriend was a business owner, looking for a solution on the food court he managed. You will never know what a simple introduction may lead to when comes to having a positive attitude in networking.
To inspire people and become a leader, communication is vital. Learning communication skills can help an entrepreneur how to tell their startup story to different types of audiences. When you learn how to communicate effectively, marketing becomes an even more powerful tool as you are capable to convince others through communication.
Always be curious and open towards learning and trying new things. As an entrepreneur, there will be many things in which you may not have the immediate answers. Having a curious and open mind can help you to learn the required skills and help you to step up in challenging times.
10. What has been your most satisfying moment in the business?
One of the most satisfying moments was the post-deployment at a pork farm in Taiwan. The business owner wanted to get visibility from the farm to the last mile delivery. He also wanted to boost the traceability of his product so as to be able to do better audits and increase the quality of the products. So, when I found out one of our customers actually sells to over 90 restaurants in Taiwan and some of which are Michelin restaurants, I was ecstatic. By putting our solution in a farm, we can have such an impact in the pork quality for so many meals!
11. What is the one advice you will give to someone just starting out?
Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs! One of the rite passages that an entrepreneur would have gone through is failing. As such, it will be wise to learn from their experiences, avoiding some mistakes made by them.
I will have a monthly beer session with my group of entrepreneurial friends to share stories with one another. This will also allow me to understand more on other industries and the difficulties they are facing.
12. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I find Elon Musk as an inspiration. Not for the whole he has SpaceX and Tesla, but how he got there. As a fellow immigrant it is inspiring for me to read about other people whom move to a new country and are able to achieve things. Similar to him, though it wasn’t Stanford I found myself in the position where you get accepted to do a degree but quit before I fully enrolled so I could pursue my startup.
13. What will you do during your leisure hours / non-working days?
I take once to twice a week MMA classes. Being an entrepreneur is mentally intensive, through MMA and boxing become both mentally and physically stronger. Plus, sometimes you just need to release the pressure by sparring and pushing your body to the next level.
About BlackStorm Consulting
BlackStorm Consulting is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and manufacturing.