Alison Grieve, founder and CEO of G-Hold - a multi-purpose ergonomic handhold that can be placed onto any type of tablet or reader - sells her product worldwide through partners like Microsoft Surface, Amazon, Apple and Home Shopping Network. Having successfully cracked delivering sales volume, unit profitability, international IP protection, managing a complex export business and moving back to onshore manufacturing, she joins me to advise a founder looking for advice on how to internationalise their startup business and sales channels.
Organic farmer and premium food brand producer Endrina Maxwell is one of the most opportunistic and inspiring entrepreneurs to join me on the podcast yet. She explains how she has maximized value and competitive advantage at every stage of the food production process, from innovative fish farming to organic seed, feed and manure production - and in her latest venture the NutriSecret range of healthy, chemical-free food products and cooking oil. We cover brand, differentiation, pricing, benefits not features and how to effectively diversify to reduce risk and pursue market opportunities. She shares her personal tips on finding purpose, focus, and how she uses goals and planning to drive her onward.
Entrepreneur Jamie Shankland has taken products to market in 40 countries and has found problems worth solving in sectors including oil & gas, fashion and online events planning. He shares the lessons he has learned about ensuring customer meetings have meaningful outcomes, better business development, finding out what customers really, really want as he advises a founder with only 7 months cash left who is trapped having lots of conversations that have yet to convert into paying customers. "You need to reach out to people as you design and certainly before you finish the product. We're ultimately solving problems, your product is only that thing that solves the problem - it is that underlying customer problem that drives everything. Whenever you speak to a customer, it has to be linked to an outcome."
CEO, Chairman and NXD Kenny Fraser advises a solo founder having an existential crisis about what their role as CEO should be, urges entrepreneurs not to neglect their own personal and professional development - and advises a founder to forget everything they've heard about sales and commissions, in order to ensure their team remains aligned to common goals and a shared compensation structure. Great insights on people, teams, incentives and the growth mindset.
Sales expert, author and entrepreneur Jim Sterne talks about how to land your first four sales, pricing those early sales, and how to hire and compensate sales professionals. He also advises founders on how to avoid the pressure to give away your time and expertise for free. He urges: "if someone ever tells you as a founder to hire a sales-person, listen to them - sales comes first. Sales is a skill that can be mastered over time, but that takes talent and experience - and of course - experience costs money!"
Retail technologist Cathy McCabe talks about finding good technical hires for your startup. She believes you need high-performance individuals who can wear different hats. Hungry, ambitious generalists who want to learn and do different roles - but with that comes the challenge of high maintenance.
As a former retail CIO turned tech startup CEO, she also advises how technology entrepreneurs can better sell to large retailers and brands. “Constantly be looking at the pipeline and how you’re growing the business - you have to focus relentlessly on your product. You can’t just hand the solution over and move on. You have to really help them adapt to make sure that what your solution is promising is actually delivered and continues to deliver.”
Cally Russell, founder and CEO of Mallzee, gives wise, practical advice on getting PR, boosting startup visibility on a shoestring, the power of the founder sale and why you should be focussing on OKRs. All while patiently taking the odd below the belt insult from fellow entrepreneur Vicky Brock in surprisingly good humour.