A hardworking entrepreneur, Agus Dinata specializes in cryptocurrency and the tech industry. Originally hailing from a humble background, Agus’ parents were strict and disciplined when it came to education. He was always taught to be independent and not to cause any trouble for others. His parents also taught him to live a disciplined life, regularly plan for the future, and always be punctual. He truly believes that he grew up different from other young people because of his parents’ guidance. He didn’t party nor did he play too much when his friends were having the time of their lives. Instead, at the age of 16, he was already business-minded; his entrepreneurial mindset has always been encouraged by his family, especially by his parents who always encouraged him to be an independent person. At the age of 20, he decided to join his parents and help out running their business. It was also at that point when he was also thinking about establishing his own business.
Agus has always been interested in starting a business within the technology space especially something that’s related to web and mobile applications. In 2010, he started getting into cryptocurrency which was very new at that time – most people still did not know what cryptocurrency was. Eventually, he decided to try running a business within the cryptocurrency industry. Without much preparation, he just jumped straight into the crypto world through various companies that at that time, launched crypto-based projects. Then finally in 2019, he initiated a fairly massive business in Indonesia with an established loyal community that consisted of thousands of people. The business was called “Smart Ecosystem,” Agus, along with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs created this smart contract-based ecosystem that in the future can disrupt the technology industry; specifically when it comes to creating utilities that can benefit many people in the long term.
Global Millionaire Magazine recently caught up with Agus to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
Education and internalization of militancy or leadership values are my backbones when it comes to developing a cryptocurrency-based business that opens up opportunities for others to participate in the market and make profits through the affiliate system the I am currently working on, i.e., the “Smart Ecosystem.” The type of business with an underlying asset such as crypto is indeed unique because you could say that marketing or customer acquisition is not the most important part of the business. Similar to many other digital businesses, there are more crucial things to look into such as community management, community education, and project management. With good community management and education, we can create numerous loyal customers which we currently call the cool “Smart Army”, this is a community of people who are loyal to this smart ecosystem business. Besides marketing, we also provide education about crypto fundamentals, DeFi, as well as promote the spirit of leadership to the Smart Army.
Additionally, my team and I constantly develop the business by conducting seminars both online and offline in various cities in Indonesia since 2019. Even though we are currently facing a massive challenge due to the ongoing pandemic in Indonesia, we are still trying to continue to grow by investing in research and development, especially those related to smart contracts and AI (artificial intelligence). Finally, after a very long preparation, we are about to launch the latest sub-products and systems of the Smart Ecosystem, namely: Smart Academy, Smart Living, Smart Utilities, and Smart Wealth. Several sub-products of the Smart Ecosystem have contributed to each other to provide more benefits and income opportunities to the Smart Army.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
Twitter and Youtube. They have become the favourite social media for cryptocurrency enthusiasts because on Twitter there are numerous tweets from influential people from all over the world who support the cryptocurrency existence and its development globally. We also frequently use YouTube as a medium for interaction with the community to increase community engagement.
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
Talking about our experience in using paid advertising, we always do trial and error and various experiments before we determine a paid advertising channel that is suitable for a typical niche market business like ours. In the end, we decided on some of the most suitable paid advertising channels, i.e., advertising through social media such as Twitter, Youtube, and several websites specific to the crypto industry that are frequently visited such as Coinmarketcap, Coinecko, and so on. The impact of paid advertising is huge if we do the right analysis beforehand such as being attentive to the factors of traffic, visitor personality, good copywriting, and one more thing, an eye-catchy animation-based promotional video content, so that makes it easier to deliver marketing content more emotionally and ultimately convert visitors into buyers.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
Brand awareness and customer engagement are the two most important elements of product management we created. We took several strategic steps to ensure that our brand continues to be the leader in the market even though we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. We do cross-selling through the sub-products we launched, and provide additional benefits beyond the main benefits. So that our customers can continue to automatically engage with our business longer while providing them with a platform to gain income through a Smart Ecosystem called Smart Wealth. Smart Wealth is a decentralized platform that allows the Smart Army to contribute to smart token sales and Smart Army licenses. So, we can also make efficient customer acquisition costs due to the very large contribution from the Smart Army. Through these strategies, we firmly believe we can build and continue to maintain brand awareness of the Smart Ecosystem.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Marketing by influencers and the affiliate system which is a sub-product of the Smart Ecosystem, namely Smart Wealth, has become the main strategy of our marketing and sales division. Apart from it, we also carry out various marketing strategies such as digital marketing, paid advertising, copywriting, video marketing, and so on.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision I’ve ever made in the last few months was to lay off some staff due to the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is very hard for us to do this because we have a corporate culture that emphasizes teamwork, collaboration, and mutual understanding on issues between divisions so that we can maintain a very close relationship between colleagues in the company like a family.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
A money management mistake I made a few years back before I started my Smart Ecosystem business was that I didn’t realize the importance of portfolio diversification in multi-product financial management. I used to think that some products could be managed through centralized organization and financial management. However, it turns out that this has actually backfired because there is a conflict of interest between the interests of one product and another. It has really been my biggest lesson and I have now diversified a good portfolio of products from the Smart Ecosystem.
What new business would you love to start?
Financial products, such as E-Payment. In fact, I have prepared this for a long time and it is designed as a long-term goal that I can achieve together with the Smart Army community. We design e-wallets like Alipay and Google Pay, but it is backed up directly by one of our tokens, SMT cash. In the future, we will name it Smartpay, the one and only e-wallet with underlying crypto where the underlying SMT cash is designed as an absolute deflationary token or non-inflation-able token.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I would have started a Smart Ecosystem business back in 2010! Unfortunately, this brilliant idea came to me in 2019 and it got further improved this year. If I worked on this idea even earlier, its value would be much bigger now.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
In the past, when I first started a business, I was always thinking about how I can increase personal wealth through business. And it affected the business; the business was unable to develop properly and management fell apart. Until one time I got advice from a person (I can’t mention his name) and this person said “Don’t even think about starting a business so you can have a lot of money. Instead, start a business so you can make a difference in people’s lives.” I continue to take this advice to heart up to now so I can be in this position.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
My advice for newbie entrepreneurs who are starting their business is to never have a mental block when it comes to starting a business and initiating a business based on trends. Expand your relationships, and learn about the industry you’re interested in deeply and seriously. Don’t invest in a business you don’t understand.