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Podcast title Startup Secrets Podcast | Business | Entrepreneur | Interviews
Website URL http://www.startupsecretspodca...
Description Hosted by Seb Francis, The Startup Secrets podcast delves into the stories of entrepreneurs and business leaders around the globe. We find out what makes them tick, the challenges they’ve faced, and the journey they’ve taken to start and grow their company. Aimed at entrepreneurs young and old, Startup Secrets will act as a complete ‘how to’ and real insight for both aspiring and established entrepreneurs. You can download each episode, and keep up with the latest news at www.startupsecretspodcast.co.uk
Updated Sun, 08 Sep 2019 11:48:13 +0000
Image Startup Secrets Podcast | Business | Entrepreneur | Interviews
Category Business
Technology
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Episodes

1. #056: “A leap into the unknown” with James McAulay
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Description:

“A leap into the unknown” with James McAulay

 

James McAulay is the Co-founder of Encore: an online marketplace helping events planners find their perfect musical accompaniment. Encore were founded in 2014, and now work with over 25,000 musicians and groups. The platform has provided musical accompaniment to over 6,000 events since 2015 including The X-Factor and a launch party for Game of Thrones. What’s more it’s paid out over £3m to the musicians in its orbit.

 

In the episode we talk plenty about the accelerator that James and his co-founder went through. We also touch on James’ personal background and how he’s found that surrounding himself by the best talent has allowed him to reach his own potential. 

 

In this episode we discuss:

Accelerators and incubators Surrounding yourself with the best talent How to improve as a manager/leader and get feedback from your team Organic customer growth Ads vs SEO And as always, plenty more…

2. #055: “Run towards the hardest part first” with Jeremy King
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Where do I begin? MIT and Harvard Business School Alumni… Member of Founders Pledge… Chair of REAch2… or last (but certainly not least) CEO and Founder of Attest! Whichever angle you come from, it’s hard not to be impressed by Jeremy King’s story to date, and even more so by his longer term plans!

 

I had the pleasure of chatting Jeremy about how he’s built Attest, a platform enabling companies to engage directly with 100+ million consumers worldwide.

 

Jeremy and the team have raised a hugh $20million to date, with solid plans and forecasts to invest that wisely to secure further growth and funding!

 

We also talk about the “giving back” element of Jeremy’s story, and how that same culture is fed into Attest’s day-to-day practices.

 

Please share away and let me know what you think :)

 

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

MVP’s and customer feedback

Tackling the hardest part of your plans first

Hiring well (and then leaving them to it!)

Preparing early on for longer term scaling plans

Fundraising and selecting the right partners

And as always, plenty more...

 



3. #054: “You’re not alone” with Aldo De Pape (Part 2)
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Description:

A couple of years back I had the pleasure of chatting with Aldo De Pape, CEO and Founder of TeachPitch. If you haven’t yet heard that episode I’ve very much suggest checking it out before listening to this one!

 

I try my best to keep in touch with guests after the show and Aldo has had a very busy couple of years business-wise, managed to squeeze his first baby in there as well, and has a slightly different outlook in terms of well-being and efficiency as an entrepreneur. As such, I thought it would be a great chance to check back in with him and see how he’s getting on.

 

As mentioned, check out the first episode if you’ve not already, and hope you enjoy them both :)

 

In this episode we discuss:

International growth Journalling and task setting Fitness and wellbeing Fasting and how it impacts physical and mental performance And as always, plenty more

4. #053: “Don't underestimate people's willingness to help” with Matt De La Hey
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Description:

In this episode I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt De La Hey, CEO and Co-founder of Inploi. Inploi was launched in 2016, and more than 25,000 candidates were registered as of 2018, with applications growing month-on-month. Over 1,000 employers including the likes of Gaucho, Young’s Pubs, Hilton Hotels, the Hurlingham Club, and Polpo use the Inploi system to fill vacancies every single day!

 

Matt has come off the back of an MBA to build Inploi alongside his co-founders, and they’ve already seen some amazing traction after a well timed and planned pivot. They took a really innovative approach to bringing potential investors along the journey with them, and that resulted in a quick and successful round.

 

Let me know what you think :)

 

In this episode we discuss:

Building investor relations before asking for funding

Understanding when and how to pivot

The impact of brexit

Avoiding burnout

And as always, plenty more...



5. #052: “Take a step back” with Victoria Lee
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“Take a step back” with Victoria Lee

 

In this episode I had the pleasure of chatting with Victoria Lee, Co-founder and CEO of 100 Pound Social. Victoria’s company was actually mentioned by another of our guests on their recording (George Lambert, Lambert Labs - Listen here) and so I reached out to find out more. I really liked what they were about and their business model and so thought we’d get them on the show to share their story!

 

Victoria and her sister, Louise, started 100 Pound Social just over 3 years ago when they spotted a gap for affordable social media services to companies. They grew the company organically, and eventually got it a point where they were able to leave their jobs and pursue it full time. Since then, they’ve gone from strength to strength, recruiting a team, signing clients, and ensuring they’ve got the systems in place to support their future growth.

 

If you’re interested in growing a company organically, getting the most out of your social media, or even running a remote team, check out this episode :)

 

In this episode we discuss:

Organic growth

Social media trends and strategy

Remote working

Hiring and staff culture

Delegation

And as always, plenty more...

 



6. #051: '3 things I’ve learned from starting a business' with Seb Francis
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In June, podcast host Seb Francis featured on the Venturi Podcast speaking about the '3 things I’ve learned from starting a business'. 
 
Venturi are an incredibly innovative company that help with tech recruitment. You can find out more about Venturi here
 
Here is what they wrote about the episode - 
 
 
Sebastian is the co-founder and director of Titus Learning.

 

As the co-founder of Titus Learning Sebastian has always championed e-learning and alternate educational routes. After a brief stint at university, he found he worked best when engaging in ‘non-traditional’ educational avenues. This realisation saw him set up Titus Learning to bring the advantages of e-learning courses to as many people as possible.        

 

Key points covered in this show include:

 

How e-learning is disrupting the ‘traditional’ education sectors
How can we create a tech curriculum that can adapt to the pace of change of technology  

 

Seb's three lessons 

 

These are the three key lessons Seb learned when running his own company:

 

Hire Quicker / hire more

 

‘I would have hired quicker and hired more people if I could have done. There were times where I was probably too cautious. I had cash sat there and I thought I could get people in but said ‘lets hold off until we’ve got to X point’. That point may never come, so hire people when you believe it is right too. The real turning point for my business was when I started hiring and getting more people onboard.’      

 

Make sure what you're doing is affecting your companies bottom line

 

‘You need to make sure everything you’re doing is positively affecting your businesses bottom line. You might go through a good few months of sales and be tempted to shift your focus on to an untested idea at the expense of your sales. Be careful about that. Always ask yourself is this action increasing my profits and if it isn’t doing that straight away make sure you have a vision for how the project can make you money in the future.’  

 

Have fun with it

 

‘This one’s a bit cheesy but seriously have fun running your business. It can be really tough at times and there are times where you lose motivation. I find it’s expected of people running companies that they never lose any motivation. But ultimately anyone running a company is only human so don’t be too hard on your self and enjoy your work because you’ll find if you do that your staff will too.’  



7. #050: “I wanna do it fast” with Rachel Carrell
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“I wanna do it fast” with Rachel Carrell

 

In this episode I had the pleasure of chatting with Rachel Carrell - Founder and CEO of Koru Kids. Rachel’s career before founding Koru Kids is impressive enough on its own, and after being the CEO of other companies previously, Rachel was well set to build Koru Kids to the brilliant business it has already come to be.

 

The team of 30 based in London now support over 17,000 families to support their childcare needs, and their vision is to become the “World’s best childcare service”. Rachel has raised £4.1m to date, with other rounds in the pipeline, and amazingly she ‘accidentally’ raised the second round of £3.5m whilst pregnant and gave birth halfway through the process!

 

This episode is a great example of how to take on a large issue within a very large sector, and Koru Kids seems to be growing from strength to strength!

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

Fundraising - how to do it, and when is it right to do it?

Understanding how to negotiate with investors

Research and development in the early stages

Validating your idea

Marketplace companies

Building your entrepreneurial network

And as always, plenty more



8. #049: “Understand why people will say no, and eliminate as many of those as possible” with Timo Armoo
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“Understand why people will say no, and eliminate as many of those as possible” with Timo Armoo

 

In this episode I’m delighted to be joined by Timo Armoo, Co-founder of FanBytes, the social media marketing company who support the likes of Universal, Warner, Sony, and Apple!

 

MusicFanbytes own and operate a network of Snapchat communities entertaining millions of teens every day. They create Snapchat optimized content for brands and distribute organically through their influencer networks, and also grow Snapchat accounts for brands and individuals.

 

FanBytes growth has been brilliant so far, and it is showing no signs of stopping with Timo soon moving out to LA to continue their growth!

 

We talk in detail about the different marketing routes, which ones are best suited to which sector and market, and how the market may change over the coming years.

 

Let me know what you think :)

 

In this episode we discuss:

Social media market and the most suited platforms

How to market to a GenZ audience

How to sign large clients early on

Creating a USP in a crowded sector

Pros  cons to having a young team

And as always, plenty more...



9. #048: “Change, change, change” with Alexandra Isenegger
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“Change, change, change” with Alexandra Isenegger

 

Alex Isenegger is the founder and CEO of Linkilaw, a legal platform for startups that provides quality legal services, including contract writing, and other legal advice to businesses at an affordable cost. Alex has been listed on Forbes 30 under 30, is a mentor and coach to other startups, and regularly writes on the topic of wellbeing within entrepreneurship.

 

Further to graduating from her Law degree, Alex was ready to head into the world of work and immediately saw issues in regards to the cost, efficiencies, and quality of legal practices that already existed. As opposed to accepting the status quo and going to work for one of the ‘big boys’, Alex decided to set out on her own and build LinkiLaw into a business that would rival the standard practices.


In the time since she’s started, the team has an international presence and a team of around 40 people support startups, scale-ups, and SMEs. We talk about the LegalTech sector and how Alex pivoted a number of times to get to where she is today.

 

In this episode we discuss:

Disrupting the legal sector

Imposter syndrome

Happiness and balance whilst building a company

Recruitment, culture, and values

Working with a co-founder

And as always, plenty more…



10. #047: “Manufacturers are your first investor” with Ilana Lever
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“Manufacturers are your first investor” with Ilana Lever

 

In this episode I had the pleasure of chatting with Ilana Lever, the co-founder of Motley London. After working for many years as a Management Consultant, Ilana grew increasingly frustrated by the limited choices available for women who wanted stylish jewelry of good quality that didn’t break the bank.

 

With that frustration, Ilana teamed up with Cecily Motley who spent her early career working for an art jewelry dealer. The two have created a brilliant brand in Motley, where they find the best jewellery designers and makers in the world to create unique jewellery collections. Motley have since been featured in The New York Times, The Sunday Times and Vogue!

 

Ilana gives a great insight into building and running a product based company, and some of the pitfalls you can avoid. We also talk about ‘Female Founders’ and some of the challenges they can face in comparison with their male counterparts, particularly when it comes to raising funds.

We really enjoyed chatting with Ilana and hope you will too, give it a listen and let me know what you think!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Manufacturing and launching a product

Female founders and the stereotypes faced

Internationalisation

Fundraising

Personal wellbeing when running a company

And as always, plenty more…



11. #046: “If you don’t start it, you’ll live with regret” with Charlie Pool
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Description:

In this episode, we chat with Charlie Pool, Co-founder of Stowga, a platform for finding warehouse space on demand that’s revolutionising the sector. Stowga is regularly described as a WeWork / AirBnB for warehousing, and has the potential to have just as much impact!

 

Featured on both the BBC and in the Financial Times, the team from London have 650 warehouses in over 10 countries around the world. They are backed by Seedcamp, Speed Invest and CBRE, amongst others.

 

Their customers include BT, KFC, Nike and Unilever, in addition to plenty of other worldwide brands and multinationals.

 

This is a great introduction to the sharing economy and building a marketplace, and we also talk about the passion of Charlie, and that not necessarily being warehouses, but building a brilliant company!

 

Let me know what you think!

 

In this episode we discuss:

The sharing economy Assessing the size of a market Funding and whether it’s the right route for everyone The potential impact of Brexit Content marketing and becoming and expert in your field Finding your passion, no matter what the business And as always, plenty more...

12. #045: “The more you can be honest the better” with Aron Gelbard
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Description:

Who doesn’t love a bunch of flowers? Exactly. And that’s just the market Aron and his team wanted to disrupt. Have you ever tried sending flowers but unsure whether the person would be in, or to what location, and it ends up more of a hassle than it is a nice gesture? Well if not, it really is. Enter Bloom & Wild, famous for their ‘letterbox flowers’ to be sent anywhere, anytime.

 

This isn’t only a quite nice idea solving a very really problem, it’s also a business idea to be reckoned with. The team of 70 now ship tens of thousands of boxes a week across the UK, Ireland, Germany and France, and have raised a whopping £21m+ in funding!


Bloom and Wild are also recognised by Deloitte as the second fastest growing company in the UK, and the second fastest growing company in Europe with a growth rate of 13,818%!

 

Prior to Bloom & Wild, Aron worked as a management consultant, advising technology, retail and consumer products companies at Bain & Company, having previously worked at Google and OC&C. Aron has an MA in Modern Languages from Jesus College, Oxford, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

 

Let me know what you think of the episode :)

 

In this episode we discuss:

Funding and hyper growth

Challenges of fast growth

Customer acquisition

Internationalisation

Managing a large team

Company culture

How to combine tech, flowers and logistics (or any other 3 elements!)

And as always, plenty more...



13. #044: “Just go for it” with David Feinman
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David Feinman had various business ideas growing up, and plenty of those he ran with. It’s no surprise that years on he’s running his own company with his entrepreneur buddy Zach!

 

David explained that Zach and he ‘accidentally’ started their company, but they’ve certainly turned that ‘accident’ into a force to be reckoned with. Based out of Philadelphia, United States, David and Zach run Viral Ideas Marketing. With what started out as a consulting business, they have moved into the content creation space, and have since ‘productised’ their offering with Flixation, a video editing service.

 

If you’re looking at how to scale, and how to use video to better support your company and marketing then give this a listen!

 

In this episode we discuss:

The power of video

How to use video across social media

Evolving your company to scale

Customer retention and happiness

And as always, plenty more...

 



14. #43: “Under promise, over deliver” with George Lambert
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Lambert Labs is the brainchild of George Lambert. A couple of years ago George was, and still is I should add, a very talented developer, but due to health issues he found himself unable to type or work at a desk. When faced with the dilemma of completely changing his career path or figuring out a way to continue doing what he loved, George figured out a way to do that latter!

 

2 years on and George employees a team of developers at their West London office, and their developments reach end-users within the NHS and Accenture!

 

This is a great story about how entrepreneurship can help you overcome personal challenges, and how to adapt to your customer and opportunities!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Starting a company when the odds are against you Scalability Filling skill gaps within your company Sales and marketing Specialisation vs generalisation And as always, plenty more...

15. #42: “Say yes to everything” with Sam Jarvis
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Description:

“Say yes to everything” with Sam Jarvis

 

Ever been sworn at for carrying a big ol’ piece of art on the tube? Nope, me neither! But that’s exactly what prompted Sam Jarvis to start HubBox and solve the issue we all face around deliveries either not getting to us on time, being in the wrong place, or wasting a full day waiting at home.

 

Since founding, more than 100 retailers have signed up to HubBox, and among them are a number of top 500 retailers including Jack Wills, Warehouse, Joseph Joseph, and JOY - all of them utilising HubBox’s revolutionary click and collect options.

 

Sam talks us through their extensive ‘idea validation process’ and how they took the first steps to signing users on both sides: vendors and consumers. We then talk about their future plans for international expansion and how that will be managed stateside!

 

Enjoy!!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Signing the big clients Finding your ‘truths’ and testing them Wider business strategy Motivation International expansion And as always, plenty more…

16. #41: “Smart people want difficult problems to solve” with Dan Hegarty
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Description:

With over £30 million raised in funding, and 70,000 people helped with their mortgages to date, it’s fair to say Dan Hegarty and the team have achieved a HUGE amount in a very short space of time!

 

Hegarty’s overall mission for Habito? “To make mortgages as easy to switch as your broadband or car insurance from the comfort of your home, and something you do in moments, not weeks.”

 

I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Dan at their London offices and found out how Habito are managing to ‘make the un-sexy, sexy’ with mortgages (< I said that, not him!). Their growth to date is phenomenal, and their simplistic approach to tackling such a huge problem is enviable.

 

If you feel like you’re facing a brick wall (or brick industry!) with your new idea, then give this a listen to find out how one man is changing the game bit by bit.

 

In this episode we discuss:

Cashflow Investment rounds Investor expectation Recruiting secrets Tackling such a huge industry And as always, much more...

17. #40: “Get on the pitch and give it a go” with Jon Hulme and John Burke
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Launched in January 2015, Craft Gin Club has seen HUGE growth over the past three years to become the UK’s largest subscription club for gin lovers. Jon and John are targeting the massive £1.3bn gin market within the UK, and are well on their way to being one of the biggest names with over 230,000 newsletter subscribers and 450,000 fans on social media.

 

Craft Gin Club have done an unbelievable job of growing their revenue levels, and have cut off other less profitable areas when required. Their appearance on Dragons’ Den did them great favours and I’m sure they’ll continue going from strength to strength!

 

Looking at a subscription business? Give this a listen!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Building a subscription model The impact of an MBA Content marketing Socials media Doing what you love Visiting the den of dragons And as always, plenty more...

18. #39: “Learn to say no” - Ben Saul-Garner
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Description:

“Learn to say no” with Ben Saul-Garner

 

Heading to the Attachment offices you immediately get a vibe of what the company is like, with celeb pics hanging on the walls, bottles of gin lining the shelves, and bose speakers in the corner - the company and what they do is just about as cool as you’d expect!

 

I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Co-founder Ben Saul-Garner. Ben, and his co-founder Chris, have built an amazing team of “superstars”, and an equally impressive list of clients and partners, including Google, YouTube, AirBnB, ASOS, and plenty more. And the talent they link these brands up with isn’t so bad either, with names such as James Corden, Lady Gaga, and Ellie Goulding.

 

We also touch on Ben’s ‘side gig’: Rebel Book Club. RBC is a network for like-minded individuals who love to read (typically non-fiction), but perhaps don’t always follow through on the action points or takeaways. We talk about the club itself (which I highly recommend you check out), and also the business element of building a subscription model.

 

In this episode we discus:

Establishing links with top brands

Building a superstar team

Freelance economy

Beer and books

Subscription businesses

And as always, plenty more...



19. #38: “Don’t innovate” - Peter Watson
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Description:

“Don’t innovate” with Peter Watson

 

Peter started Distract when still at university with just £5,000 from his previous business! By the end of uni, they already had a book of clients and 5 staff. Peter has been involved in marketing since the age of 16 after honing his skills in social media, PPC, and email marketing.

 

Peter has some pretty strong views on why going to university is an absolute must for any new young entrepreneur, and there are some very fair points in there. He’s extremely hungry and will to try anything new to disrupt and put his own stamp on things!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Becoming a ‘Key Person of Influence’

Starting young

Working different

The benefits of going to uni

Relationship building and your network

And as always, plenty more...

 



20. #37: “The outcome speaks for itself” - Ben Corrigan
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Description:

1 of 20 businesses selected out of 3,500 for an accelerator. Offers from all 5 dragons on Dragon’s Den. And acquired within 3 years. Ben Corrigan and the team haven’t done so bad!!

 

Ben joined me very very shortly after Pouch had been acquired as part of a cash buyout. To reach that stage after 3 years of founding (and only 2.5 years from product launch) is insane, and so it was great to speak to him fresh off the back of this acquisition.

 

We touch on the growth, product testing, preparing for Dragon’s Den, and how they managed the acquisition process.

 

In this episode we discuss:

Pitching and raising funds

Dragon’s Den

Finding the right co-founders

Accelerator programmes

Acquisition and the details

And as always, plenty more…

 



21. #36: “You need to look bigger than you are” - Sara Trechman
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Description:

*** GIVEAWAY***

 

Want a snack? ;)

 

Sara and the team at Well and Truly have very kindly given us some of their goodies to pass away to our listeners! Simply share this episode on social (FB, IG, Twitter) and tag the Startup Secrets page (links on website) and we’ll pick some lucky winners :D

 

In this episode we speak with the brilliant Sara Trechman - not only because of the unbelievable business she’s built, but also because she’d had her newborn baby just 6 days before this recording and still joined us!!

 

Sara and her co-founder have managed to build a widely recognised product and business with Well and Truly: they’ve raised chunks of money, have exported overseas, are stocked in Tescos and Sainsburys, and rocked an electric tuk tuk around the streets of London (why not)!

 

If you’re in the product and/or FMCG sector then give this a listen!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Focus groups and testing Manufacturing Marketing Selling to the big boys Internationalisation and exporting And as always, plenty more...

22. #35: “We’ve burnt a hell of a lot!" - Daniel Jeffreys
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“We’ve burnt a hell of a lot!” with Dan Jeffreys

 

In this week’s episode I speak with the refreshingly honest co-founder and COO of Resooma: Dan Jeffreys. The student accommodation platform has gone from strength to strength, after some harder times in the early days!

 

One of the great things about speaking with Dan is how open he is about not only the good times and their amazing achievements, but also the challenges they’ve faced, and how they’ve overcome those challenges.

 

If you think entrepreneurship is all a walk in the park with multi-million pound raises, 100s of staff, and beautiful exits… then give this a listen :)

 

In this episode we discuss:

Grants and investment Identifying skill gaps (and filling them!) Outsourced development KPIs and metrics for success Growing/hiring too big Forecasting And as always, plenty more...

23. #34: “The product has to earn your respect” - Louise Doherty
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“The product has to earn your respect” with Louise Doherty

 

Did you know it can take over 9 apps, 22 app switches, 77 swipes, 13 minutes on the phone and 10 texts to make a plan, and even then, 40% of the time planning fails completely!? Well now you do, and that’s exactly the problem that Louise and the team at PlanSnap are solving!

 

In this episode I chat with Louise Doherty, Founder and CEO of PlanSnap, the revolutionary new app to help you and your friends manage all your plans! PlanSnap amazingly signed its first brand partnership contract for £46,500 before a single line of code was written, and have since completed Techstars Connection in partnership with AB InBev in New York. Techstars is one of the world's top business accelerators. 1000+ companies have completed the Techstars program and 90% are still active or have been acquired, with a market cap of £8.3bn. Louise and the team also ran a crowdfunding campaign which was a resounding success after funding 152% of their target!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Offsites and strategy days ‘Remote first’ teams User acquisition Funding and grants The calm tech revolution And as always, plenty more...

24. #33: “Don’t try and be superman” - Harry Hugo
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Description:

“Don’t try and be superman” with Harry Hugo

 

Offices in London, New York, Singapore, and Monaco. 100+ staff. Working with some of the world’s biggest brands. A $50million business. Oh yeah… and they’re only 3 years old!!

 

In this episode, I had the pleasure of chatting with Harry Hugo, Co-founder of The Goat Agency. I joined Harry at their stunning offices in London and we chatted about their amazing growth in such a short period of time, his backstory and previous experience, and future plans for what sounds like world domination!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Rapid growth and how to manage it

Recruitment

Team culture

Internationalisation

Social media influencing and the future of marketing

How the role of the co-founder changes as the team grows

And as always, plenty more...



25. #32: “Fail to plan, plan to fail” - Chris Forbes
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“Fail to plan, plan to fail” with Chris Forbes

 

In this episode I was joined by Chris Forbes, Co-founder of The Cheeky Panda, a massively innovative company offering sustainable tissues made exclusively from bamboo!

 

Starting out in 2016, The Cheeky Panda have managed to gain a presence in 15+ countries, won various awards, and have been featured in numerous publications. They have been through a number of funding rounds, including Crowdfunding and offering equity, both of which surpassed their target, and eventually gave them a multi-million pound valuation!

 

It’s great to hear Chris talk about specific challenges of working in the product sector, so if you’re eyeing up the FMCG market then give this a listen!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Sustainable companies Supply chain management Running a successful crowdfunding campaign Market testing Product launches Company valuation Angel funding Cashflow Funding and bootstrapping Working overseas and internationalisation And as always, plenty more...

26. #31: “The idea of perfect evidence is a trap” - Rob Fitzpatrick
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Description:

“The idea of perfect evidence is a trap” with Rob Fitzpatrick

 

Ever since I first read ‘The Mom Test’, I’ve been obsessed with recommending the book to friends and entrepreneurs who are looking for business advice. For me, it’s the ultimate ‘how-to’ guide when it comes to validating business ideas, understanding your customers, and deciding whether you have a real idea of value. To say I’m excited to have the author, Rob Fitzpatrick, as the guest on this episode is a huge understatement!

 

Rob’s background is in tech companies, where he was part of incubator/accelerator groups alongside the likes of Dropbox. After running a number of his own successful companies, and (in his own words) a ‘failure’ or two, he’s extremely well-placed to write about how to best validate ideas to see when you’re on to a winner, and when you’re not!

 

When Rob’s businesses didn’t end up exactly the way he wanted/expected them to, he felt like he was doing a lot of work, and having a lot of conversations, but soon realised he wasn’t having the right conversations, and was also experiencing burnout. It was at this point he wrote his guide so others could avoid doing the exact same thing!

 

For any entrepreneurs with new businesses or ideas, if I can urge you to listen to any episodes, please let it be this one!

 

**As we’ve done with previous episodes, we’ll be giving away copies of Rob’s book (The Mom Test) to 3 lucky listeners who share the episode on their social platforms**

 

In this episode we discuss: 

How to get honest feedback Validating your business idea - a masterclass! Tips for public speak and presenting Why surveys are no good for your pitch deck Blogging to improve your writing skills Why talking to customers is not enough, you have to talk to them properly Avoiding burnout Lifestyle businesses How and when to pitch your idea And as always, plenty more...

27. #30: “Insecurity drives improvement” - Phil Neal
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Description:

“Insecurity drives improvement” with Phil Neal

 

In this episode, we had the amazing opportunity to chat with one of (if not THE) most prolific EdTech entrepreneurs in the UK: Phil Neal.

 

For any listeners who went to school in the UK in the last 30 years, there’s a very good chance you’ve used or been exposed to Phil’s software. Phil is the brains behind the SIMS Management Information System, used in over 80% of (or 20,000!) schools in the UK. It’s reached many 10s of millions of users, and also has an international presence across 50 countries around the globe.

 

As a teacher in his earlier years, Phil, like many entrepreneurs, had an ‘itch of his own to scratch’ - the outcome, a system that soon caught the attention of multiple school groups and councils, and some years later, the attention of Capita who eventually acquired SIMS.

 

To scale any business to that size is unbelievable impressive, to do it in a market as challenging as the UK education sector is even more impressive.

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

Scaling and huge growth

Finding the right partner for acquisition

Appetite for risk and spotting opportunities

Focusing on the benefits you’re providing

Smart pricing strategies

Picking the right founding team

And as always, plenty more…



28. #29: "You need to be unrealistically optimistic" - Steven Mendel
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Description:

“You need to be unrealistically optimistic” with Steven Mendel

 

Have you ever been fed up of sorting your insurance or the costs involved? Course you have! Did you do anything about it? Probably not! But, that’s exactly what this episode’s guest did back in 2012!

 

Steven Mendel is the CEO and co-founder of Bought by Many, a free, members-only service that helps you find insurance. Since 2012, they’ve seen rapid growth with 80+ staff and over half a million members around the globe. In 2016, they were featured in the European FinTech50 list, and in 2017 they were named as one of 15 ‘Ones to Watch’ companies by The Sunday Times Tech Track.

 

Further to their amazing growth, Bought by Many were able to do their own buying and acquired the UK’s leading provider of insurance for exotic pets. We touch on this topic in quite some detail so it’s a must listen for any entrepreneurs considering acquisitions as part of their growth strategy.

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

Company acquisitions SEO Email marketing Social media marketing Content writing Legal cases Pricing strategies And as always, plenty more…

29. #28: "You’ve got to walk the walk” - Jamie Bolding
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Description:

“You’ve got to walk the walk” with Jamie Bolding

 

4 billion+ video views every month 100’s of millions of social media followers 150+ staff across the UK and US and all just in 4 and half years…

 

In this episode we chat with Jamie Bolding - Founder and CEO of Jungle Creations. Jamie spotted the potential and power of social media at very early stage, and it was that foresight, along with some careful strategy and great content, that has led him to build such an impressive company with Jungle Creations.

 

The team have achieved a HUGE amount in a very small amount of time, and it’s very likely that if you’re a social media user, you’re familiar with their content. Having amassed an enormous following, Jungle Creations now work with some of the world’s best known brands, including; Virgin, McDonalds, Walkers, and Oreo.

 

Jamie is a true entrepreneur in every sense of the word, starting his first company shortly after university. The Jungle Creations story is super exciting to date, and only sounds like it’s going to get bigger and better!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Hiring and recruitment Signing the big dogs Organic growth Being a disruptor Supporting Nobel peace prize applicants Delegating responsibilities And as always, plenty more...

30. #27: "Only start a business if you absolutely have to” - Brian Meece
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Description:

In this episode I had the pleasure of chatting with Brian Meece - Co-founder of RocketHub, Founder of Wingadoos, and a pretty mean ukulele player! Brian has also spoken at world-renowned events such as SXSW, TEDx, and the World Economic Forum.

 

Brian has always had a huge interest in music, and for a good chunk of his life (and still to this day) has played in bands, performed, and recorded. It was his love of music that led him to his first venture, RocketHub. RocketHub was created as a crowdfunding platform allowing artists to raise the funds they needed to produce their music and continue doing what they love. After successfully working in the arts space, RocketHub soon attracted the attention of the science sector, and thereafter entrepreneurs looking to raise money. After 5 successful years of growth, this led to an acquisition valuing the company at $15million.

 

Following the acquisition of RocketHub, Brian worked with Citi Ventures and helped mentor and advise newer startups, with a particular focus on the FinTech sector. As with his musical background previously, Brain used his understanding of the Finance space to work on his next venture: Wingadoos. This venture was created to tackle the huge, and global, issues of under education when it comes to financial empowerment and understanding. Brian and his team aim to work with young students, with the help some clever technology, games, and music, to better educate people when it comes to all things finance!

 

This episode covers a lot of ground (including raising money for a meth lab… yes really!) and was great fun to record! Let us know what you think :)

 

In this episode we discuss:

Following your passion

Utilising your network

Recruiting the right team and how it’s like a band

Fixing pain points

Looking for ‘whitespace’ and new opportunities

Financial empowerment and education

Social impact

And as always, plenty more...

 

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

Brian Meece TEDx Talk

Brian Meece LinkedIn

RocketHub Website

RocketHub Twitter

Wingadoos



31. #26: "Say yes to absolutely everything” - Filli Studios (Sam King, Andy Asprou, and Thev Edirisingh)
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Description:

In this episode I had the pleasure of chatting with not one, but three entrepreneurs! I headed to the London offices of Fillistudios where I spoke with the co-founders; Sam, Thev and Andy. It was great to get a different perspective from the three guys, including the sales, technology and community growth.

 

Fillistudios was the result of select set of skills each of the team had, and they now have a database of close to 3 million (yes you read that right) influencers who they work with to connect amazing brands and consumers.

 

It was great to hear more about how the influencer model is reshaping marketing strategies, how technology is making all of that possible, and what the future may hold for new marketing methods.

 

This episode is for you if you’re looking to get a heads up on the latest and most effective marketing techniques, if you’re looking to grow your own social media presence, or even if you’re looking at how to best apply technology to a problem/opportunity you have identified!

 

In this episode we discuss:

How to add additional value to your community

How to build a strong value proposition

The future of social media influencing and other marketing methods

Building a large social following

How companies have been built on the back of Instagram and other social media platforms

Making money from social media

And as always, plenty more...

 

Links mentioned in this episode:

Fillistudios Website

Fillistudios Twitter

Fillistudios Instagram

Sam’s Instagram

Andy’s Instagram

Thev’s Instagram



32. #25: "You have to be in love with your problem" - with Lydia Yarlott
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Description:

This episode we speak with Dr Lydia Yarlott - Founder of Forward Health, the ‘MedTech’ startup connecting healthcare teams around the world.

 

After graduating from the University of Oxford, Lydia began her career as a pediatrician. Not long into her working life, Lydia faced a challenge that thousands of healthcare professionals before her has already encountered - a lack of efficient technology solutions that would allow them to spend more time with their patients.

 

Lydia, along with her two co-founders Barney and Philip, came up with the idea for Forward after experiencing these real-life issues, and have since been mentioned in “The UK’s Hottest Healthtech Startups”, 70 Ways to Save the NHS, and have featured on ITV and BBC news, as well as being profiled in The Times, The Guardian, Forbes, and The Telegraph.

 

What we discuss in this episode:

 

Find a big problem to build a big company Getting the right people for your team Building a SAAS company Time management Marketing and the power of case studies Metrics and measuring success And as always, plenty more...

 

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

Forward website

iOS app download

Android app download

Forward Twitter





33. #24: "It's easy to start, but hard to master" with Jacob Wedderburn-Day
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Description:

In this episode I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Jacob Wedderburn-Day, the Founder and CEO of Stasher. After graduating from the University of Oxford to complete his Economics and Management degree, followed by UCL for his Masters in Economics, Jacob founded Stasher alongside his co-founder, Anthony.

 

In the early days, Stasher was referred to as the “AirBnB for storage” - a no doubt complimentary term for the young company, but one which Jacob and his team were keen to shake as they carved their own space in the ever-growing market place sector.

 

Jacob himself acknowledges that they really started as ‘kids’ trying to convince individuals and companies to work with Stasher, but after some clever moves on their part, they quickly started working with some of the most well known names in the travel industry, including; Expedia, Hotels.com, Premier Inn, and Accor Hotels, to name just a few.

 

In this episode we discuss:

Business validation Measuring success Overcoming objections Finding and establishing the right partnerships Raising finances, angel investment, and venture capital Marketing routes

34. #23: "The future is freelance" with Kirsty Hulse
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Description:

In this episode, we were lucky enough to speak with the Founder of Manyminds, Kirsty Hulse. Manyminds is a digital marketing agency, BUT,, “The digital marketing agency that is actually different”... and after speaking with Kirsty, I can see exactly why!

 

Kirsty worked within the SEO and PR industry for 10 years before she got a bit fed up with the stale environment, and people paying above board for services that could have been delivered better, faster, and more in line with their requirements.

 

It was a conversation with a friend that sparked the idea for Manyminds, and Kirsty decided to follow through on her word, and in the process, won her first big deal!

 

Years on, Kirsty is captain of a fully functioning and ‘all steam ahead’ freelancing ship! If that’s not enough, Kirsty decided to write a book (see links), talking about her journey, and why the ‘Future is Freelance’!

 

If you’re currently working with freelancers, or have ever considered it, then this is a great episode to listen to. We also talk a lot about different business structures and finding the right one for you without bowing down to social pressure.

 

**WANT A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF KIRSTY’S BOOK?** - Just share this page on social media and tag the Startup Secrets account (Insta, Twitter or FB) and we’ll enter your name in the draw :) GOOD LUCK!

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

The power of freelance

How to find your perfect freelancers

Motivations for starting a company

Why a ‘lifestyle’ business might be for you

How to write a book

And as always, plenty more…

 

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

Manyminds Website

Manyminds Twitter

Manyminds Instagram

Manyminds LinkedIn

Kirsty Hulse Twitter

Book recommendation - The Future is Freelance by Kirsty Hulse

Book recommendation - Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

System/tech recommendation - Slack



35. #22: "Our main focus is on creating something amazing" with Ricky Hill
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Description:

In this episode we have the pleasure of being joined by Ricky Hill: Founder of SYNCR, and CEO of Born Communications.

 

Ricky joined Born straight out of university, and it wasn’t long before he was running the show. He’d had an immediate impact on the company, and has since expanded it to include Born Music which is one of the most read music blogs in the UK!

 

As a musician himself (a drummer obviously… just look at the guy!), Ricky had a shared frustration with his band members of not being able to get their music heard widely enough. He talks about the concept of ‘music syncs’ which was new to me, but very obvious when you think about it, and it’s a key element of the music marketing mix. He then built a company around this concept to match musicians and those in need of music, such as film producers, TV shows, live events, etc. Their next step is to move into the realms of creating original content, and you can read more about this on their website (see links).

 

After the recording stopped, we spoke more about Ricky’s further plans with SYNCR and other ideas, and it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing plenty more… keep your eyes peeled and ears open!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Building a marketplace business What does an ‘exit’ look like Staying true to your mission Introducing new tech into your business Partnering with influencers Creating original content Keeping yourself fit and healthy whilst running your venture And as always, plenty more...

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

Ricky Hill Twitter

Born Communications Website

Born Communications Twitter

Born Music Online Website

Born Music Online Twitter

SYNCR Website

SYNCR Twitter



36. #21: "It can be hard to give up control" with James Gupta
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Description:

In this episode we speak with fellow Yorkshireman, James Gupta. Founder and CEO of Synap - The revision app used by 1 in 4 medical students in the UK.

 

Like most great inventions, Synap was born from first-hand frustrations. 3 years ago James was a medical student at The University of Leeds where he identified issues with the way revision was taking place, so like all great businessmen, when he had a problem and no known solution, he created one.

 

3 years since it was founded, Synap now has 5,000 daily users, 13 million questions have been answered, and its users include; engineers, pilots, medical students and A-level students. Future plans include white-labelling and using the software within other industries, such as the work they’re doing with ‘MyTaxi’ in Dublin where they’ve seen driver pass rates increase massively since introducing the new system.

 

In this episode we talk about:

Outsourcing

Crowdfunding

User Acquisition

Staying local

Incubators

Accelerators

And as always plenty more...

 

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

James’ Twitter

Synap Twitter

Synap Website



37. #020: “Keep asking yourself why” with Tejpaul Bhatia
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Description:

We had the pleasure of being introduced to Tej through a mutual friend of the show, and how glad we are that the intro was made!

 

Tej is an entrepreneur through and through, and isn’t shy about talking about the personal and emotional side of entrepreneurship. After quitting the ‘dream job’ with ESPN in 2007, Tej wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do, but he was fed up with being told ‘no’ and knew he needed to be in charge of his own destiny.

 

After a period of consulting for multiple firms, Tej founded his first startup, however, it wasn’t without a number of pivots, rounds of funding, and rebrands that they eventually landed on the company that came to be acquired: Kaptur. After Kaptur, Tej moved on to his second startup which he says ‘failed’, but he undoubtedly learnt a lot of lessons both in a business and personal sense. With years of entrepreneurial experience in his pocket, Tej moved on to Citi Ventures as an Entrepreneur in Residence, and then to Google where he works within there startup team.


This episode really jumps into the emotional side of entrepreneurship, and for anyone considering or currently in the acquisition process, it’s a great listen!

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

Taking the plunge to start your first venture When, why, and how to pivot Living through the acquisition process The power of persistence Measuring your success as an entrepreneur Bouncing back from ‘failure’ And as always, plenty more...

 

Links mentioned in the episode:

 

Tejpaul Bhatia Twitter

Tejpaul Bhatia LinkedIn

Citi Ventures



38. #19: “Always offer the right advice, not the easy advice” with Will Lewis
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Description:

In this episode we speak with Will Lewis, Co-founder and Director of the Manchester-based boutique real estate firm, OBI Property.

 

“It was a stupid time to set up” admits Will, but nonetheless, 8 years on, OBI is doing better than ever, and part of their success could well be down to never having “that easy patch”!

 

OBI was the first company Will started, and after time within the corporate sector, he was ready to create a disruptive and innovative company that he could put his own stamp on. OBI now work with a range of national and international clients including; The Hut Group, NCC and The Lad Bible.

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

Disruption, innovation, and keeping ahead of the competition Staff values and incentives Picking your co-founders Raising finance Growing a business in a volatile market And as always, plenty more...

 

Links mentioned in this episode:

 

OBI Property Instagram

OBI Property Twitter

OBI Property Website



39. #18: "The big guys? They're only human" with David McQueen
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Description:
David McQueen is a professional speaker. Some would describe him as a Motivational speaker, others a host/facilitator, and others will recognise him from his podcast or previous TV shows. However you'd describe him, he's an absolute expert when it comes to all things 'communication'!
 
David started his working life as an accountant, and, as a self-proclaimed 'proper geek', then transitioned to a second career in technology. In both of those careers he spawned a love for effective presenting and communications.
 
After leaving the corporate world, he went on to start his own company where he predominantly taught public speaking and coaching. He realised most presentations were pretty terrible and instead of complaining about them he thought he'd do something about it!
 
He really put in his 10,000 hours to hone his craft, and has since gone on to present shows on Channel4, has hosted events for Virgin Media alongside Sir Richard Branson, and has even spoken at two TedX talks.
 
In addition to working with individuals, David has worked with some business giants, including; Sainsburys, Barclaycard, BP, Cisco, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Northern Trust, and the BBC, to name but a few!
 
If you're looking to sell yourself, your product, or simply better articulate your story... tune in!!
 
In this episode we discuss:
 
Presenting and public speaking
Signing the 'big dogs'
How to master your trade
Incubators and supporting startups
Minority ethnic founders
How to build a robust company that survives the 2, 3 and 5 year bumps
And as always, plenty more...
 
Links mentioned in this episode:
 


40. #17: "It's quite difficult being a pioneer" with Peter Roberts
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Description:
In this episode we’re very excited to chat with an amazing guest, Peter Roberts, founder of Britain's largest gym chain, PureGym. 
 
Peter himself states that he’s come from a family of entrepreneurs and his entrepreneurial ventures have always been borne out of frustration that others were not doing things, or were not doing it right.
 
Peter started his business in the leisure sector, which he launched in the 70’s after becoming a qualified chartered surveyor, he then moved onto Langdale Estate where he built 120 holiday lodges and from there, moved onto Nightclubs. In 2009 he founded PureGym, which quickly grew into Britain's largest gym chain with a membership of around 900,000 and plans to open 300 locations by 2020. 
 
After years of planning, hard work and growth, Pure Gym was acquired in November 2017, at a valuation of £600 million!
 
This is an absolute must listen for all entrepreneurs, no matter where you are on your journey!
 
In this episode we discuss:
Spotting trends
Having a global understanding
Learning how to differentiate
Raising finance
Rapid growth
Selecting the right people to help you realise your vision
Planning for an exit
And as always, plenty more...
Links mentioned in this episode:
 


41. #16: "It's all about the freedom" with Fred Buckley
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Description:
In this episode, we speak with eCommerce whizz kid Fred Buckley! Until Summer 2017, Fred was your typical student, however, he was inspired by others in his school and those he saw online to reach ‘financial freedom’. 
 
After receiving amazing grades at school, Fred chose to not go to University, and instead decided to create his first online store and delve into the world of drop shipping. After only 6 months he’d managed to scale his store to turn over $50k per month!!
 
Not content with one store, Fred has since been building additional stores, recruiting others to run them, working on his personal brand, and planning how to add other income streams!
 
In this episode we talk about:
 
Choosing the right path for you
eCommerce and drop shipping
How to build and scale your first online store
Building your email/contact list
Developing a personal brand
Multiple income streams
And as always, plenty more
 
Links mentioned in this episode:


42. #15: "99.9% of people are good" with Tim Fung
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Description:

In this episode we speak with Sydney native Tim Fung, Founder and CEO of AirTasker - the online community for with over 1.5 million users!

 

Airtasker was borne out of a very real frustration Tim had when moving house. He needed assistance with smaller jobs but no marketplace existed - so he did what any natural entrepreneur should do and built one!

 

Tim has gained a mass of experience over the years, including working in Finance, being involved with other startups, and even “looking after Victoria’s Secret’s models”!

 

Tim and Airtasker have raised a huge $32million in funding and are now expanding into the UK after great success in Australia.

 

In the ever expanding market of the “gig economy” apps like AirTasker play an important role in allowing people to outsource small tasks, and allow people to find quick jobs.

 

In this episode we talk about:

Fundraising The gig economy PR and marketing Virality and user acquisition The Network effect Working with a co-founder And as always, plenty more...

 

Link’s from this episode:

Tim’s Instagram

Tim’s twitter

AirTasker UK Instagram

Airtasker Instagram

Airtasker Twitter

Airtasker UK Twitter

Airtasker Website



43. #14: "If I knew then what I know now I'd do it differently!" with Claire Mitchell
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Description:
In this episode I speak with Claire Mitchell - the brutally honest Founder and CEO of Mimi and Mago (formerly Chillipeeps)!
 
I had the pleasure of meeting Claire at an event in Leeds where we were both sharing our entrepreneurial story. What blew me away with Claire's presentation is how openly she spoke about the challenges she'd faced, the amount of time it took to get her product to market, the huge costs involved, and all the other hurdles along the way. 
 
Now about 10 years into the journey, Claire has overcome a huge amount to get Mimi and Mago where it is. She recalls the time she sobbed all the way through her first major presentation, missed out on an order for 1million units, and battling with Trading Standards (only later to get them on her side.
 
This podcast goes into all the above and more and is an absolute must listen for anyone looking to start a business in the product sector.
 
In this episode we discuss:
Patenting, prototyping, and testing your product
Understanding manufacturing
Creating your fanbase and marketing from day one
Pitching for investment 
Selling to the 'big boys'
The challenges of running a company on your own
The power of social media
Selling overseas
And as always, so much more...
 
Links from this episode:
 


44. #13: “It’s just as important to not start a business that isn’t going to work” with Nick Jenkins
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Description:
In this episode I speak with a dragon... in the TV sense at least! I had the pleasure of chatting with Nick Jenkins; founder of Moonpig.com, Dragon on the BBC's Dragon's Den, Philanthropist, and Angel Investor.
 
Nick has an amazing backstory, starting with him reading Russian at university, before going on to live in the Soviet Union (as it then was) and surviving its downfall. Further to starting and successfully exiting a business in Russia, Nick went on to do an MBA in the UK during which time he came up with the idea for Moonpig.com.
 
After years of planning, hard work, and very impressive growth, Nick sold Moonpig for a cool £120,000,000 (

45. #12: "You have to be looking to build a £100million+ company" with George Burgess
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Description:
George Burgess... where to start? Founder of revision app company that raised $3million, Venture Partner for InMotion (Jaguar Land Rover),  Stanford Uni dropout, Co-founder of EdTech Exchange, public speaker, and part-time 'tinkerer'!
 
Further to meeting George at The BETT Show earlier this year, we stayed in contact via the EdTech Exchange network he co-founded. After finding out more about his story it was one I just had to share.
 
George founded the revision app company Gojimo which is used by 1/3 of GCSE and A level students in the UK, and over the past couple of years has achieved a successful exit to the Telegraph. This however wasn't without its challenges... they achieved huge user acquisition, constantly developed the platform, but did struggle to monetise!
 
Alongside Gojimo, George founded EdTech Exchange which is a network for EdTech founders (of which Titus Learning are a part of!). This started off as a way to speak with peers in the sector, but soon grew into a large organisation and a real business opportunity. 
 
As well as George's business ventures, we discuss how he manages his time, his other interests and ideas, and what's next.
 
In this episode we discuss:
 
Nailing the process of user acquisition
Challenges and considerations for monetising your app
When is it right to look at VC funding
Validating your idea
Time management (and generally how to spin a lot of plates!)
Avoiding burnout and how to bring balance to work
Product testing, KPIs, metrics, and constantly iterating
When to pivot
Creating a network around you to share ideas
Building something that your target market love
Managing stakeholders e.g. investors
 
Links from this episode:
 


46. #11: “The most painful word for most entrepreneurs is no." with Ron Carucci
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Description:
Ron Carucci is the co-founder and managing partner at Navalent, working with CEOs and executives pursuing transformational change for their organisations, leaders, and industries. With a 30-year track record helping execs around the globe, Ron has worked with startups to Fortune 10s. He has worked in more than 25 countries and is the bestselling author of eight books. Ron's work has been featured in Fortune, CEO Magazine, HBR, BusinessInsider, MSNBC, Business Week, Smart Business and thoughtleaders.
 
What's really great about this episode is we get to chat to Ron both as a business leader and founder, but also delve into the world of consultancy and how he assists startups and large companies alike to reach their potential. We talk a lot about implementing the processes needed to scale successfully, and how you can do this whilst retaining the company culture that you've created.
 
Having worked with the likes of Accenture, GSK, McDonalds, Starbucks, Pepsi Co. and so many more, this is a MUST LISTEN! Let me know what you think :)
 
In this episode we discuss:
 
When to start implementing processes that will help as you scale
How to spot the symptoms you're stuck in 'startup mode'
When, and why, to say no
Spotting trends and testing your assumptions
Identifying your USP
Understanding and instilling your company culture
The 'dark side' of culture
How to spot the next leaders of the company
When to add ‘senior staff’ to your company vs fostering internal talent
Keeping discipline and not just 'chasing the money'
The benefits of working with external contractors and/or consultants
Using your initial small size to your benefit
Doing business with big business
Not comparing yourselves to others when defining your placement
And as always, plenty, plenty more...
 
Links from this episode:
 


47. #10: "When everyone else sees a problem, entrepreneurs see an opportunity" with Luke Massie
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Description:
Luke Massie started his business journey at the age of just 17 when he launched a call centre in the cut throat world of insurance. After 12 successful months of trading, Luke sold the business to start the next chapter of his entrepreneurial journey – a student discount and benefits website.
 
With a real taste for business, and an understanding of the commercials, Luke founded Vibe Tickets in 2013 to address a very common issue that he experienced himself - the hyper inflated ticket resale market. Luke is aiming for Vibe Tickets to become one of the most disruptive presences in the secondary ticket market. 
 
Amongst other achievements, Luke is the youngest person to ever make Business Insider’s 42 under 42 list – an exclusive list which tips up and coming entrepreneurs under the age of 42 for success. Luke is also a proud ambassador for Lancashire county councils Boost programme. 
 
In this episode we discuss:
 
Starting young - the challenges and benefits 
Lessons learnt from unsuccessful ventures
Vibe tickets and the problem they're solving
Disrupting markets
Creating and retaining the company culture
User acquisition and sticking to your business model
Raising finance and 'selling the dream'
Thinking of 'THE idea'
Hiring the best
Encouraging entrepreneurship in others
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology
And as always, plenty, plenty more...
 
Links from this episode:
 


48. #9: “If you really really want to be successful, you have to pick an arena and become absolutely excellent at it” with Matt Isaacs
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Description:

Founding partner of one of the world’s largest digital marketing agencies, angel investor, and father of 4 just in case he’s not busy enough! In this episode we chat with Matt Isaacs, Chairman of Essence … and it’s a beauty! 

 Matt co-founded Essence with his two friends and colleagues in 2005. After some seriously explosive growth (at one point growing tenfold within 3 years), and with turnover into the 100s of £millions, Essence were eventually acquired by WPP, the world’s largest marketing group. Essence focus on the paid media component of advertising, and across their 11 offices and 750 staff, they manage $1bn of digital media. Their customers (spanning 70 countries) include Google, The Financial Times, Universal Pictures, and eBay, just to name a few. What’s more impressive, they never received any external funding and managed this growth organically.

We cover a whole heap of topics in this episode which I’ve listed below, and I personally found it very inspiring to see how a company can reach such heights by focusing on what they need to do well, and doing it without the need for external finance. There are so many takeaways from this recording and I’d be really keen to hear feedback, and perhaps any follow up questions you might have.

 In this episode we discuss: 

Background on Matt Isaacs Who are Essence and what do they do How to compete with (and beat) the ‘big boys’ when you’re a startup The importance of a business plan (and not because of what you may initially think) Building a diverse team that is multi-skilled and multifaceted Goal setting and creating a mission for your company Mergers and acquisitions - the right time to consider MnA’s, the challenges, how to integrate different cultures Why and when you should consider external funding, and when to say no The future of marketing and advertising Top marketing tips from an industry expert When to start paid marketing Angel investment and what Matt looks for in new companies New technology Matt is excited about Must watch TED talks 

Links from this episode:

Essence Website

Essence Twitter

Essence YouTube

Matt Isaacs Twitter

WPP agrees to acquire a majority stake in leading global digital agency Essence

TED talks:

Simon Sinek - How great leaders inspire action

Sean Achor - The happy secret to better work

Quotes to listen out for and live by… I usually only pick one quote as the title of the episode, but this recording was absolutely littered with them so I had to list a few more :) You’ll notice a number of these quotes are referring to a similar thing; that’s no mistake. 

“This idea that you have a fixed plan and follow it - that’s not how it works, that’s just not how it works”

 “If you really really want to be successful, you have to pick an arena and become absolutely excellent at it” 

“You can build a great brand without doing any marketing”

 “The best form or marketing is to have a great product that you deliver in an incredible way to your customers, to the extent that they recommend you to all of their friends and you don’t need to spend anything“

 “The biggest barometer of whether you’ve got a winning proposition, is whether your current customers are referring you”

“Don’t get distracted by marketing, get your product right, get your brand right, and the rest will follow”

“When you get those chances to shine you have to be able to show you can do something that’s extraordinary and goes above and beyond what they might expect from an organisation at your stage”

“All the traditional rules of marketing apply: have a great product, tightly align your brand around that product, and be consistent “

“Nirvana is: someone sees marketing from you, and they know it’s you without seeing your name” 

“Setting some tangible goals, and a clear mission as a business, are incredibly powerful motivators, and mechanisms for alignment of your organisation”



49. #8: “We all want to be an overnight success… but that takes a long time” with Mike Wilkinson
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Description:
“We all want to be an overnight success… but that takes a long time”
 
In this episode with Michael Wilkinson, we take our first look at an entrepreneur who has successfully started, grown and exited from their company. After 7 years hard graft, Michael Wilkinson and his co-founder Steve Holt, sold their company 'i-Education' for very healthy sum, but also realised their dream of seeing the product being used by even more students than they ever could have imagined - over 12 million worldwide!
 
As a fellow Yorkshireman it was great to chat with Mike about his journey from founding the company, through to the sale, and how he's stayed involved thereafter. 
 
In this episode we discuss:
Challenges of growing a company organically
How to let people know you exist
When to bring in a non-exec for outside advice
How to structure your business for a sale
Intrapreneur vs Entrepreneur
Should you plan to sell from the outset
When is the right time to sell
How to find your ideal buyer
Advice and top tips for those going through the sale process
How did Mike feel when they sold
How to resolve challenges with a co-partner
What to do after the sale
And much much more :)
 
Want to find out more about Michael? Check out the details below:
 


50. #7: “All new ideas will be incubated through crowdfunding” with John Auckland
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Description:
John Auckland is the founder and CEO of Tribefirst, a published author, and a Virgin StartUp Ambassador. He's an expert on all things crowdfunding, and with the increasing interest in this area for businesses, I couldn't wait to get him on the podcast and chat further!
 
In their very own words "TribeFirst helps you build a loyal tribe of customers through crowdfunding, via recognised global platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdcube and Seedrs.".
 
Crowdfunding is a seriously hot topic amongst startups and established businesses alike, and there were plenty of questions I had for John (as well as few from listeners!) to go cover in our discussion.
 
Interested in running your own crowdfunding campaign, or perhaps investing? Then you need to give this one a listen :)
 
In this episode we discuss:
 
What is crowdfunding
'political campaign' vs 'marketing campaign'
What are the different types of crowdfunding
Which type of crowdfunding is suitable for your business
What are some of the platforms you can use for your campaign
The ups and downs of in investing in crowdfunding campaigns
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme
What control do crowdfunding investors have over your company
Overfunding and underfunding
The do's and don'ts of running your own campaign
The importance of company valuation
And as always, plenty more!!
Want to find out more about John and TribeFirst? Check out the details below:
 
 
 
Useful Links from the podcast:
 


51. #6: "I'm an absolute hustler" with Aldo De Pape
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Description:
Aldo De Pape is the Founder and CEO of TeachPitch, a technology that helps teachers identify the best online teaching resources.

After founding in 2014, TeachPitch is already been utilised in over 125 countries (yes, 125!!) and they've received investment from China as well as the UK. Last year they completed a £300,000 investment round via Crowdcube, and they have just launched their latest round on Crowdcube which you can view via the link below.
 
Aldo and I have had many a discussion about 'blagging it', and doing what needs to be done in order to get the company out there. He starts off in great form by saying "I'm an absolute hustler" which is so true!
 
In this podcast we talk about:
 
Hustling and making the business your life
Validating your idea
How to increase your PR and publicity 
Key lessons to increase your chances of success as a first time founder
Working within an area you're familiar with
Founder envy
Managing and building remote teams
The importance of getting to know your team
Crowdfunding and raising finance
When (or when not) to pivot
The importance of location when starting up
And much more…
Want to find out more about Aldo and Teachpitch? Check out the details below:
 
 
Useful links from the podcast:
 


52. #5: "An idea is only worth anything when it's put into action" with Seb Francis
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Description:

So this episode is a little different :) A while back I was contacted by Lisimba Pink who hosts his very own podcast. I was super excited to hear that he wanted to feature me, and chat about what I've achieved with Titus, and my own entrepreneurial journey to date. I really enjoyed chatting with Lisimba, and felt there were some useful pointers in my own story to share with everyone. I've kindly 'borrowed' Lisimba's show notes and details below for you to refer to. Hope you enjoy!

 

In the episode we discuss:

An introduction to Seb Francis

Seb's motivations for becoming an entrepreneur

We hear a story about one of Seb's first money making ventures

Seb explains if you need to reinvent the wheel in creating a new business?

What is a lifestyle business?

We find out if sacrifices helped get Seb to where he is today

Seb shares how his company grew internationally

We learn how to deal with the cultural challenges of doing business abroad

We find out how Titus Learning is doing in business

We find out how technology is affecting the education industry

What to do if you want to create software for your business

What to do if you don’t have money to develop your idea, and your scared of someone stealing your idea

Seb shares where he gets his inspiration from

What Seb learnt from Sir Richard Branson

We find out more about Seb's up and coming podcast, Startup Secrets

Seb shares a story about one of his failures in business

We learn what Seb wishes he knew before he started in business

Good places to network

We find out what is working in promoting Titus Learning

 

Links and resources mentioned:

Seb Francis Twitter 

Seb Francis Instagram

Titus Learning Website

Titus Learning Twitter

Education is GREAT Blog post

Department for International Trade 

Lisimba Pink Podcast

 

Homework:

Make a list of problems or things that bug / pester you everyday

Review your notes to see if there is anything in your list, that could be applied to a wider audience

Use this to find a real market pain point, not just an irritation, and a solution thereafter



53. #4: "You don't know what you don't know" with Lucy Stonehill
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Description:
Lucy Stonehill is the Founder and CEO of Bridge-U, has been selected as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30, and is responsible for raising a huge $2.5million investment.
 
After working in the legal and consultancy sectors, Lucy had the idea of Bridge-U, a platform that harnesses big data and machine learning to enable schools and students to make smarter and more efficient decisions about their university/college placements.
 
In the podcast we talk about:
 
Lucy’s background and key influences
Validating your business idea
Finding the ideal co-founder
Accelerators and incubators
Investment - when to do it, how much you need, and what steps to follow
Breaking the entrepreneurial stereotype
And much more…
 
Want to find out more about Lucy and Bridge-U? Check out the details below:
 
 
Useful links from the podcast:
 
The Lean Startup - Eric Ries
Predictable Revenue - Aaron Ross


54. #3: "Don't try to boil the ocean" with Oliver Page
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Description:
Having grown up in a family of entrepreneurs, you could say that Oliver Page was always destined to start his own companies - however, it's his drive and passion for finding and fixing very real problems that has led him to where he is today.
 
Having started his first company, Nutkase Accessories, at 17, he has since gone on to attend Draper University, talk on the TedX stage, travel the world, and start up business no.2, Scooterino. He's had some amazing success with fundraising and has recently closed a round for €500k.
 
In this episode we discuss:
Being a lifetime learner
Starting young
University - to go or not to go
How and when to get investment
Recruitment
Involving family in your venture (and/or creating a family ethos)
The benefits of having a co-founder
Giving equity to your starting team
Motivations for starting a company
How to find your focus 
 
Links mentioned in the podcast:
 
The Lean Startup - Eric Ries
Zero to One - Peter Thiel
80/20 Sales and Marketing - Perry Marshall
 
Want to get in touch or find out more?
 


55. #2: "If you work hard enough, you will create your own luck" with William Adoasi
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Description:

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A VITAE LONDON WATCH!!

 
Before I tell you more about Will, I have to mention the amazing chance you have to get your hands on one of the unbelievable watches by Vitae London! Will and Vitae have kindly agreed to giveaway a watch to one lucky listener!! All you have to do is share this podcast with the hashtag #startupsecrets on Twitter, or tag the Startup Secrets Facebook page on FB. We'll the pick one lucky listener at random and announce the winner on 20th May 2017! Good luck :) 
 
Now on to Will... I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Will Adoasi in Richard Branson's home after we'd both been selected as Virgin StartUp Ambassadors. His charisma and charm is immediately evident, and you quickly understand how he's been able to create such an amazing brand around his company, Vitae London.
 
As a fan of watches myself, and obviously being in the education sector, it was brilliant to hear his story of not only creating awesome timepieces, but also having such a positive impact on those who struggle to get access to one of the most valuable things; an education. Each watch purchased puts a child in a developing country through school for a year.
 
Will is currently focused on providing the equipment needed (uniform, stationary, etc.) to help a child through school, but has future plans to actually build schools!

Vitae have sold watches within 26 countries and had some amazing names supporting them such as Emeli Sande, Paloma Faith and Philip Schofield. Hope you enjoy the episode and please get in touch on twitter if you have any comments!

 

In this episode we discuss:

Early inspirations Providing a quality product at an affordable price Profit with a purpose vs social enterprise Maintaining margin as you scale Branding, marketing, social media, PR and influencer marketing Risk taking  Utilising your network How to start with little/no immediate funding Creating a product - sourcing manufactures, design, etc Understanding your customer base What's next for Vitae and Will

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Vitae London Website
Vitae London Twitter
Vitae London Instagram
Will Adoasi Twitter
Will Adoasi Instagram

Want to get in touch or find out more?

Buzzmarketing - Mark Hughes
Backed by Richard Branson, this start up has African children at its heart - CNN



56. #1: “The ultimate failure is giving up” with Jacob Hill
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Description:

Jacob Hill is first and foremost an entrepreneur. He caught the business bug as a teenager running a sweet selling enterprise, followed by local music events. During his enterprise degree he founded his first ‘proper company’, The Lazy Camper. His entrepreneurial antics led to him winning a string of awards, including the Yorkshire Post’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Duke of York’s Young Entrepreneur Award.

 

However, after some challenging times, Jacob’s personal and business life took a shocking turn for the worse when he was arrested for possession with intent to supply class A drugs. He was sentenced to 28 months in prison. Immediately remorseful, and keen to repay his social debt, Jacob spent his time ‘inside’ helping others to see a future after time behind bars.

 

Jacob has since embarked on a new business venture, Offploy, a recruitment agency developed solely to support companies who are looking to hire ex-offenders as part of an ongoing commitment to reducing re-offending within society. With support from the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Offploy is on track to revolutionise the recruitment and justice system.

 

In this episode we discuss:

 

Access to funding and investment

How to handle the ‘hype’

What is success

How to flip the negatives to positives

How to overcome negative stereotypes

Establishing a support network

The basics of business

And much more… :)

 

Links mentioned in the podcast:

 

Swipes

 

Dashlane

 

Evernote

 

G Suite by Google Cloud

 

Trello

 

Want to get in touch or find out more?

 

Jacob Hill Twitter

Jacob Hill Website

Offploy Website