In this constantly developing digital era, organizations need leaders who can completely comprehend the traditional ways of processing, have a firm grip on the technology trends, and use their understanding and creativity to innovate the procedures to get better outcomes. Such leaders produce dynamism in an organization, whereby individuals caught up in their influence take action, bond and connect with others, enroll and participate producing better results.
An evident example of such a competitive, reactionary, gregarious, ambitious and inspirational leader is Shaz Khan, Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder of Vroozi. Vroozi is an end-to-end, cloud-based procurement solution for both business customers and suppliers, which effectively breaks down silos between organizations and offers an efficient, intuitive platform to improve procurement productivity and spend management.
The Inception of Innovation: Vroozi
Elucidating the spark of his entrepreneurial journey, Shaz recalls, “It struck me that while individuals had become very accustomed to buying products online, that same familiar shopping experience was lacking for business purchasing. Instead, companies were operating on a bizarre landscape with antiquated user interfaces that took a long time to process.” He continues,“We live in an ‘on-demand’ economy—where you can immediately make reservations at a restaurant or book a flight, yet purchasing for companies lacked that same ease of use. The workforce is already adept at making these transactions in an expedient way at home, and we believe they just need a sophisticated outlet to do so at work. Vroozi was founded to tackle that opportunity.”
Thus, Vroozi was founded to consumerize and democratize the B2B purchasing experience for businesses of any size. While many SaaS companies have focused their software entirely around the needs of Fortune 500 companies, Shaz envisioned great opportunity in giving mid-market companies access to the benefits and power of an enterprise-grade solution.
Shaz has learned that a company needs to be adaptable to the market’s needs, and the mission you started with may change in time. He says you have to be prepared to make those transitions and pivots. He also says you must be able to identify when an idea no longer makes sense vs. when it’s worth fighting for. Shaz asserts, “With good ideas and integrity, you build a culture within a company where your employees—regardless of their experience level—believe in the company’s mission and will fight tooth and nail to make it happen.”
An Earnest and Visionary Leader
Shaz is working tirelessly toward making Vroozi the most scalable, efficient and easy-to-use platform in the B2B mobile procurement space. He attributes his greatest entrepreneurial influences to his parents: his father started a number of successful businesses in the computer peripherals space in the early 1980s, and his mother had an event coordinating business that specialized in luxury weddings. Shaz shared in both their successes and their failures and took careful note of their constant drive and dedication. After growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Shaz has gone on to apply his own brand of innovation in the B2B industry for nearly two decades now. He has extensive experience in project management, software development and systems implementation methodologies, along with business process modeling.
Shaz received his B.A. in Computer Science and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. His extensive curriculum in each field gave him a taste of both worlds. In Computer Science, he saw how algorithms were the nuts and bolts of solving complex problems, while the study of Economics gave him a macro perspective on those same solutions.
Shaz says, “Honestly, I wasn’t a great programmer, myself, but I was fortunate to partner up with some really talented people in the Computer Science department. So I would come to them with ideas, and we were all able to work together to put that into a program.”
Strengthening and Nurturing the Business
A necessary counterpart to the desire to manifest a particular solution is enthusiasm. It is vital to impart some level of enthusiasm and passion to your employee base, as well as to your market, partners and customers. It becomes your responsibility to “listen to the people who help make companies a reality: the employees. That’s often where you get the best ideas—from the people who live and breathe a common mission.”
Vroozi thrives and differentiates itself by designing its products in preparation for an increasingly mobilized workforce and in a very user-friendly way. Their platform can be used by the consumer as seamlessly as checking an e-mail on a mobile device. Their software also includes a pre-integrated shopping marketplace, which arms customers with the ability to connect with an approved list of suppliers and make purchases at pre-established, negotiated prices that save time and drive the business forward.
Stay hungry. Continue learning.
Shaz suggests surrounding yourself with extremely talented, driven people who will motivate you on a daily basis. He emphasizes the benefits of getting to know your employees on a personal level, taking an active interest in what drives them and forming lasting friendships with your team.
He also reminds entrepreneurs to know their numbers. He says, “Incorporate fiscal discipline into your vernacular. Know how to project where there will be heavy traffic or open freeways down the road, so to speak, that could affect your business. Educate yourself every day about every aspect of your business, your market and your customer base.”
Advice for Ambitious New Entrants
Shaz advises young entrepreneurs to narrow their focus. “You have to be completely focused on the task at hand… You want to solve one problem really well, rather than try to solve five or six problems in a mediocre way. Also, put in the time! Take advantage of how the global economy and modern technology make communication easier, and make yourself as available as possible. Entrepreneurs don’t have a traditional nine-to-five work schedule, so it is important to find a way to be productive at all times during the day.”