Entrepreneurship is about starting up, falling down, getting up and starting over. You have to accept the highs and lows. Making mistakes in order to grow is a part of it. But, if you can learn from the mistakes of others, you can avoid them yourself or minimise their consequences. On the 12th of September, The Growth Agency organised the second edition of The Growth Stories Meetup. Four entrepreneurs joined a panel and answered questions from an audience consisting of entrepreneurs, CMOs, growth hackers and marketers. A short summary from that evening, including 4 strong insights, can be found below:
Experimenting is a must and making mistakes is a big part of it
The first question from the audience hit the mark straight away: “What was your biggest blunder and eye-opener on your path to growth?” The 4 speakers immediately responded with a few stories, because every entrepreneur makes mistakes. Charles Van den Bogaert, marketing manager at Deliveroo Benelux and shared his story first. To promote Deliveroo, the acquisition of a food truck seemed a logical idea. And it was, on paper. But in practice, it turned out to be a cumbersome business that yielded few to no customers. OK, so be it. “Accept it and move on!” Charles recommends starting small and experimenting, especially during the start-up phase: “When you make a mistake at the beginning, you will be able to avoid it when scaling up.”
The other three panel members agree. For example, Florent Piqué, VP of Growth at Xpenditure, believes making mistakes must be acceptable. After all, “If you don’t make mistakes, you are not pushing hard enough.” He concluded with a tip – communicate transparently within your organisation. This way you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Ewout Meyns, founder of Piesync “Make sure you start measuring before you start experimenting, so you know exactly what works and what doesn’t.”
Don’t let perfectionism stop you from reaching your goals and ship early
As a perfectionist, you always have the feeling that you can do better, which is true. But that mentality can also mean you sometimes waste valuable time because you take longer to develop your ideas and launch them. Before joining Xpenditure, Florent Piqué was working as a musical composer. “When you are creative every day, you become a perfectionist”, he explained. “You mainly focus on details. But you cannot be a perfectionist when you need to get things done. Is it 80% complete? Send it into the world, listen to the feedback you get, and improve! Find the balance between being a perfectionist and getting things done.” To be a perfectionist certainly does not have to be a disadvantage. But exactly how you deal with it will determine whether it helps or prevents your growth.
Florent Piqué VP of Growth at Rydoo: “Is your product 80% complete? Send it to the world, get feedback and improve! Don’t wait until it’s 100%, because that may never happen.”
Maintain your focus and don’t be fooled by ‘opportunities’
As a leader in a growing company, you will be pulled in all directions. We are naturally not used to saying “no” and do not want to let opportunities pass us by. But do you want to grow effectively? Then you have to focus. Thomas Goubau is co-founder and CEO of Aproplan. When his scale up began to grow considerably, he often received collaboration proposals from large companies. Usually these are partnerships. But according to him, there is often a catch. So think about the consequences of every step you take in such cooperation, and make sure your team does not lose focus, because there is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’.” As a scale up you have to focus primarily on your own product roadmap and your own strategic vision, not that of a partner. Do not be discouraged by the many success stories. Sometimes it seems entrepreneurship runs smoothly for some companies, but you should know that it is really very hard behind the scenes. “Maybe it’s better they do not show it as it really is”, Ewout added, smiling, “otherwise no one would consider creating a start-up.”
Ewout Meyns is currently very far ahead with his scale-up, PieSync. But in the beginning it was difficult to make a living from his business. Since there was no capital to distribute wages, he was forced to freelance part-time on the side. But after a while, he began to lose his focus on the goal: creating his own company. According to him, this could have been avoided easily. He concluded that it is essential to focus on your goal, not to look for easy options that distract you.
Think global from the beginning and scale fast
Ewout’s plan from the beginning of Piesync was to take care of synchronisation for the major SaaS players in the American market. But after a poor partnership and receiving advice to start in Belgium, he deviated from his initial plan. Not such a good idea, it turned out. It did not take long before he completely focused on the US. “The latest integration with Sharpspring is an example of this. Both companies make use of the partnership and we can reach a much larger audience than we can in Belgium” Thomas is also working with Aproplan to test the product-market fit in various countries in the EU, and thus shifting the focus on Belgium.
Check out all the picture of our Growth Marketing meetup below: