First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID19 Times?
Joris De Koninck: For me, the covid-19 period so far has been a diverse one. In Belgium, where Kayzr is located, we had total lockdown and not allowed to interact with others.
Personally, that gave me some time to rest and focus on work. However, I hope that everything will go back to “normal” as soon as possible.
I hardly saw any person physically apart from my girlfriend. My parents embraced social-isolation immediately the pandemic started. Not seeing them as I use to affects me.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded or Joined Kayzr
Joris De Koninck:I started the company while still writing my Master’s thesis at the university. We experienced a lot of bumps on the way as founders due to lack of experience.
The most important thing is that you learn to deal with and overcome setbacks. We have grown the team to 14 people now, and we are proud of that.
How does Kayzr innovate?
Joris De Koninck: Brainstorms, collaborations with third parties, talking to clients, market research, and studying our competitors.
There are many ways to innovate, but good ideas are not enough, execution is key. That’s how we distinguish ourselves from the crowd.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business, and how are you coping?
Joris De Koninck: I have a two-fold answer to this question.
First, Kayzr’s advertising and brand activation income has dropped sharply because many brands have frozen their budgets. However, we have adjusted our target to the end of the year.
Next, our digital products, such as the esports software which we offer to brands and sports clubs, is experiencing strong customer growth.
In general, we are very fortunate to be in a company that is strongly committed to digitization.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Joris De Koninck: We have learned so many lessons, which will not change in the future.
Building a company is just all about people, and they are the biggest asset we have. We have created a culture where people can grow, speak openly, and where everyone’s voice counts. We are strict on mediocrity, and with limited resources, you don’t have room to muddle on.
We have learned to get rid of big egos and rotten apples in the team, for they will only cost a lot of energy, no matter how skilled they are.
Furthermore, it is a sprint, not a marathon. We have learned to focus on sales and never lose sight of our cash flow.
With most entrepreneurs, it takes a while to find a good product-market fit and requires many iterations.
How do you Deal with Stress and Anxiety, how do you Project yourself and Kayzr in the Future?
Joris De Koninck: Stress and anxiety is something that is often neglected by entrepreneurs. Personally, I am blessed to be surrounded by friends, colleagues, and family whom I can talk to freely.
However, sometimes you feel very lonely in what you do as an entrepreneur because only fellow entrepreneurs can really talk about it. One often feels that people non-entrepreneurs have so much security that it’s challenging to be on the same level as them.
I also feel that the bigger your team, the more people you have to count on, and the more stability you have. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee a good business, but extra people and their expertise give peace of mind. Further, when the business runs smoothly again, it gives more certainty and less anxiety.
On the other hand, when anxiety begins to affect you due to having many worries on your mind, you should try to find a solution. Try to delegate some responsibilities instead of carrying the burden alone.
Indeed having a heavy workload will leave you stressed throughout the year. So as a founder of a growing company, this seems a bit inevitable to me. Of course, I always have to take stress-reducing steps.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Joris De Koninck: Kayzr.com is a community and tournament platform for gamers in Europe. We primarily focus on advertising and offering value to keep users on our platform for an extended period.
So our biggest competition is in parties that respond in the same ways to the needs of this target group, which is not limited to gaming companies themselves.
We plan to stay in the game by focusing on our core activities and doing this very well.
Your Final Thoughts
Joris De Koninck: Entrepreneurship is exciting, but a small percentage of people are willing to start due to the fear of failure.
My view on this is that the welfare state in Europe is unbalanced for the safety net that exists is more tilted towards employees than entrepreneurs.
This risk aversion ensures that many people who would be good entrepreneurs never start. For that reason, we miss out on a lot of innovation, but we need to embrace entrepreneurship as a society.