When Raj Nair started Yotabites Consulting in 2014, many clients didn’t really understand data analytics—let alone know why they should be paying someone to help them navigate it.
But they quickly saw the value after Nair and his team began using data to solve some of their most vexing business problems. As analytics has become more and more essential to companies’ growth, demand for Yotabites’ service has soared.
With the assistance of ScaleUP! Kansas City, Nair has created a long-term vision for growth. The free program—which is offered by the UMKC Innovation Center with support from the Kauffman Foundation—provides training, peer mentoring, professional guidance and more. It’s open to businesses operating in a market capable of supporting more than $1 million in annual sales.
Finding the Stories in Data
Yotabites specializes in strategic consulting, solution delivery services, training and open-source software around big data and deep analytics.
Or, as Nair likes to say, his team discovers the hidden stories in data.
Years ago, major retailers didn’t know if a customer tried on a shirt at a store only to ultimately put it back on the rack. But now companies use data to learn exactly what a customer viewed in their online stores, and they can use that information to tailor their lineup of products. Yet tracking that data is cumbersome for many companies.
Nair calls the Yotabites office in Fairway a laboratory. If that conjures up the image of a researcher or scientist, then his plan worked.
Most people don’t think of a consulting company as creating a product, the same way a factory might produce a shirt or a tire. But it’s not that different to Nair. He explains that, inside their “lab,” his 16 employees create code or find existing code that can be tailored to clients’ data problems.
Many clients have searched high and low for answers to their problems before ultimately hiring Yotabites.
One financial client spent years searching for a simpler way to find errors in its highly technical system—a process that could take months and, unless properly handled, expose the company to lawsuits from customers.
That was before Nair’s team went to work.
“We were able to go in and actually build a solution and identify those errors within the hour almost,” he said.
It’s why Nair was so open to ScaleUP! Kansas City experts helping him to navigate the administrative side of his business. He understands that you can’t be an expert at everything.
“We do on the technology side what ScaleUP! does on the business side,” Nair said.
‘Our Journey Is Laser-Sharp’
One of the biggest lessons ScaleUP! Provided for Nair was how to think strategically, with the long term in mind.
Before, Nair took every job that came along so he could improve cash flow, even if those jobs weren’t the right fit for Yotabites.
“We treated almost every situation as hand-to-hand combat situations,” he said. “We didn’t have a strategy,” he said.
ScaleUP! experts encouraged Nair to target jobs that centered on the core competencies of Yotabites, which ultimately allow the company to earn the most money and win more clients.
Nair had another aha moment when ScaleUP! experts emphasized the need for goals and strategic plans to guide growth. Without a solid plan, ScaleUP! experts pointed out, Nair wouldn’t know what clients to look for, which employees to hire or what financial target to hit.
Nair immediately drew up a three-year plan that has guided virtually every move he’s made since that day.
It’s a version, he said, of “work smarter, not harder.”
“Because we have set the three-year goal, our journey is laser-sharp,” he said. “I ask the question: Does that apply to our three-year goal? And if I say no, we move on.”
Nair knows what jobs to turn down, but more importantly, he knows what his company needs to do this month in order to land big clients and grow efficiently years from now.
“When you set your vision, everything has to work backward from that vision—the number of projects, the kind of projects I need,” he said. “Then we have to figure out, how do we acquire those customers? Everything falls into place from that vision.”
Talking Up the Business
Because of ScaleUP! Kansas City, Nair is focusing more on marketing and sales.
His expertise is technology, after all, so he plans to bring on a marketing professional to help the company go to the next level.
He’ll still be part of outreach to potential clients, though. For example, the entrepreneur will conduct seminars to attract prospects. It
was how he started the company early on. It proved to be an invaluable way to bring in new business.
“Frankly, that actually helped us get into our business,” he said. “We didn’t do a lot of that last year and not much this year because we got clients and we had to put our heads down and work on clients.”
Leaving a growing business once a week to attend ScaleUP! classes wasn’t easy. But, Nair said, it was an ideal move for his business
and definitely worth the time commitment. He expects the connections he made with the people there to yield returns for years to come.
“It’s a lot of knowledge that’s embedded in the organization that we were able to leverage,” he said.
The instructors, he said, provided critical support in part because they were entrepreneurs and also because they know where to turn when you hit an obstacle.
“What I love about ScaleUP! is the people.”
Entrepreneur // Raj Nair
Company // Yotabites Consulting | (913) 449-9699 | www.yotabites.com | Yotabites provides strategic consulting, software, training and other services around big data and deep analytics
Are Your Ready to Scale Up?
ScaleUP! Kansas City—a free program for KC small businesses—is looking for companies that want to supercharge their growth. Applications for the next round are due by Dec. 6. Learn more at www.scaleupkc.com