There are always times when your goals feel impossible to reach and your obstacles appear insurmountable. It is critical in such times to take a moment to reconnect with your vision, and create a solid plan on how to achieve it.
Pratik Kothari is the founder & CEO of TechArk, an award-winning digital creative agency based out of Norfolk, VA specializing in mobile and web apps, website design and development, and digital marketing. Pratik’s entrepreneurial journey all began with a dream.
Traveling to the United States in 2003 he worked hard to earn his Master’s in computer science. He found a job in the technology industry working to connect innovative ideas with reality, while building a technology team of brilliant minds who would later transform the industry forever.
The dream lived on and by working after hours on his passion project, Pratik was able to bring his vision to life. TechArk was born in 2012 and since then we’ve doubled in size, acquired an office downtown, and won some big-name RFPs.
Where did the idea for TechArk come from?
TechArk started as a daydream in my son’s bedroom. As I tucked him into bed each night I would tell him stories about the future, about the company I would start, and the life we would build. The name, TechArk, is a combination of my trade, (technology) and my wife’s vocation (architecture). As TechArk has grown and evolved the name has come to represent what we do: we are technology architects, designing and constructing digital domains for websites, apps, and more.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake very early and am frequently at the office before my employees. My days are filled with back-to-back meetings both on- and off-site. I introduce, network, and negotiate extensively, and typically don’t get to enjoy a lunch unless it’s a part of a meeting, or I make time in the late afternoon.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My team is comprised of very talented, intelligent, motivated individuals who work hard every day to bring my vision—as well as those of our clients—to life. The key is to hire for skill: the right people in the right seats will take you far.
What’s one trend that excites you?
We are very excited about the upward trend of mobile apps. TechArk cut its teeth on software development and has won awards for several of our apps. Right now we are exploring the seemingly limitless possibilities for Bluetooth beacon tour apps, following our success last summer with Old Donation School beacon tours.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am constantly reading. There is always a pile of books on my desk waiting for me and my car stereo is more often than not playing books-on-tape.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t give up! There are always times when your goals feel impossible to reach and your obstacles appear insurmountable. It is critical in such times to take a moment to reconnect with your vision, and create a solid plan on how to achieve it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Perfection is a mirage. Leveling out means it’s time to level UP.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Keep learning. Never lose your thirst for knowledge and growth, and never assume you’ve learned all you need to know. There is always more wisdom to be devoured.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Working hard is a way of life for me. TechArk was only made possible because of the full-time job I had when I started it. Working forty hours a week only to come home and freelance until well beyond midnight enabled me to pursue my dream of entrepreneurship.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As a company, we are always learning and improving. One such lesson is to always manage client expectations carefully. We sometimes have had brainstorming meetings in which we discuss creative ideas and concepts with clients.
Later we realized a particular client had left a kickoff meeting with expectations disproportionate to the project’s scope of work. Ultimately, we lost the client and learned a very important lesson about communicating clearly. Moving forward, we always make sure that both parties are clear on the scope of work when beginning a project.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Sometimes the best business ideas are simply a twist on an existing business model. Pick a service, product, or industry, and adapt it to a previously unexplored audience or demographic—pets, for example.
What is the best $100 you recently spent and why?
TechArk recently launched a quarterly event initiative in which we host members of the community after work for chips, dips, drinks, and a presentation on a specific aspect of our services. It’s a very cost-effective way for us to gain leads and reinforce our reputation as subject matter experts.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Basecamp is our project management tool of choice. It allows the team to remain connected, communicative, and accountable—even with our remote team members.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I highly recommend “Traction“, by Gino Wickman. We’ve been in the process of implementing Traction’s techniques and methods for several months now, and it is streamlining and improving our workflow in a very tangible way.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” -Zig Ziglar
- Never underestimate how far hard work and pure determination can take you.
- Always have a clearly defined goal that you’re working towards.
- Trustworthiness and loyalty are priceless. Surround yourself with people who exemplify such characteristics and rely on them to steer you true.
- Keep learning, growing, and adapting—there’s always so much room for improvement!
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