In 2015, veteran Vancouver business leader Kevin Hobbs turned his burgeoning interest in cryptocurrency into a full-time career when he joined the Vanbex Group, the blockchain consulting and marketing firm he led as CEO for the next several years.
At the time, bitcoin was still a relatively new idea. Some people were talking about it and articles and blog posts about bitcoin had begun appearing, but the whole concept of decentralized, transparent online transactional technology was still a bit nebulous. But it was gaining steam, and many in the corporate world were starting to do more than take notice. They were beginning to consider how they could leverage blockchain technology for revenue growth at their own organizations.
During his time leading the Vanbex Group, Kevin Hobbs’ achievements included growing the company to a team of more than 60 employees, making it one of the largest blockchain companies in North America.
Today, Hobbs continues to independently lead a number of major blockchain initiatives and is regarded as both as a pioneer and expert in the blockchain space, which continues to expand and evolve. For this reason, he’s often approached by aspiring entrepreneurs who seek his counsel about how to grow a successful blockchain business, and he’s always glad to provide them with the benefit of his wisdom.
His advice to them includes the following:
Learn all you can about blockchain, and don’t stop learning.
This industry continues to grow and change. Anyone who’s even considering getting involved needs to not only have an acute understanding of it, but also needs to continually follow new developments in order to learn where things are likely to go in the months and years ahead. Blockchain agriculture has done wonders in the food sector and blockchain is capable of doing the same in cryptocurrency.
“In the beginning, blockchain was a new, speculative technology,” Hobbs says. “Then it became a highly anticipated way of doing business that was being explored by companies of all types, including a number of major corporations. Now, a number of nations are embracing it. Changes and new possibilities for using blockchain continue to occur every day.”
Ultimately, Hobbs says that anyone starting a blockchain business needs to follow the industry very closely to learn the latest developments, what opportunities exist and how they will impact your business
Be the expert on whom your clients can depend.
“What the internet did for the exchange of information, blockchain can do for the exchange of digital assets and improve on the sending, securing and storing of information,” Hobbs explains. “I truly believe in blockchain’s potential to reshape our society and economy for the better.”
He advises being a tireless advocate for the technology, as it’s going to eventually become more common and likely mainstream. “If you’re in the business, you’re now on the ground floor of something that’s going to change how transactions are performed,” he says, “and part of our job in adapting this technology for our clients is to serve as their guides in helping them use it to earn profits by serving their customers in new innovative ways.”
Trust your instincts.
As with any new technology, there are questions. In some cases, they’re being answered on a daily basis, with some degree of risk involved. This is why you’ll probably find yourself relying on your gut as much as your brain. While it’s always wise to err on the side of caution, sometimes you need to make important decisions quickly to move forward and reach your goals. “This is where trusting your instincts and using your best judgement should steer you on the right path,” he says. “Doing nothing is worse than making a mistake.”
Hire smart and encourage your employees to share their ideas.
Hire people who share your vision and are willing to put in the time, talent and energy needed to accomplish the goals you’ve set for the company, and encourage them to share their ideas. “Your staff are there to help you reach your objectives and meet your goals,” he says. “And especially in the tech world, there are always good ideas being proposed. I keep my door open and welcome employee questions and ideas. A large part of my job as a leader and mentor is to support them.”
Share your success.
We think of companies as existing to grow revenue, and that is why they exist. But Hobbs also advises leaders to find ways to give back — to their communities, charitable organizations and worthwhile initiatives.
“I believe it is our responsibility to give back,” he says. “Our success at Vanbex Group placed us in a position where we can donate to several charities and social causes. Also, through our own initiative, Vanbex Cares, we were able to give back by educating people about how to adapt new blockchain and smart contract technology to help make charitable giving more transparent and efficient.”