YHP http://yhponline.com Entrepreneurs In Depth | Be Inspired | Your Hidden Potential Tue, 15 Jul 2014 00:07:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pete Dowds and Tom Brooks look to Mopp up the cleaning industry http://yhponline.com/2014/07/10/pete-dowds-and-tom-brooks-mopp/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pete-dowds-and-tom-brooks-mopp http://yhponline.com/2014/07/10/pete-dowds-and-tom-brooks-mopp/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:22:19 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36640 Mopp founders Pete Dowds and Tom Brooks went from working in the city to taking on the cleaning industry with an innovative and simple model. Lawyer, Pete and trader, Tom have taken on the challenge of running a startup and done … Continue reading

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Mopp founders Pete Dowds and Tom Brooks went from working in the city to taking on the cleaning industry with an innovative and simple model. Lawyer, Pete and trader, Tom have taken on the challenge of running a startup and done well so far seeing significant growth in the 14 months they've been running Mopp.

Mopp founders Pete Dowds and Tom Brooks

 

First can you give me a bit of background to yourselves:

We’ve been best friends since University, meeting in our first year at Sheffield. We’d always talked about starting a business together but felt it was important to get some solid business experience first. So after 5 years working in the City (and a few failed business venture ideas along the way!) we came up with the idea for Mopp and realised that was the idea that was going to fly.

So what is Mopp?

Mopp is an online platform to book a trusted cleaner for your home for a flat rate of £10 per hour.

What was the inspiration for it?

We threw a party at our flat around Christmas-time in 2012, and spent ages looking for a cleaner the next day without success.  All the companies we called were cash in hand, had no next day availability and most wanted us to enter into a contract for a regular service.  We started looking deeper into the market and saw a multi-billion pound industry that had remained resolutely offline as its customer base moved online - it was screaming out as an opportunity.

What was the tipping point for quitting your job and going to do this full time?

We had a lot of faith in the idea from the start, it just felt right (probably because we wanted to leave our jobs so badly!). We found a great way to get started was to build out a pitch deck to frame the business and go through the process of building a proper financial model to make sure the unit economics worked.

Building out a model takes time but is crucial because at the end of the day if the unit economics don’t work (e.g. customer LTV is lower than the CAC), you are going to fail.  We then partnered with a developer from our old university and launched a scrappy MVP to the market within 10 weeks, and got our first customer within 3 days.

We were confident with a financial model, and after we saw immediate buy-in from customers we quit our jobs straight away to run the business full time. Personally, I don’t think it works to try and build a startup part-time.  It is either all in or nothing.

What did your time working in the City teach you that you can use when building your startup?

Work hard and push yourself. 100%.  Spending 5 years in the City may have had its negatives but it gave us a great grounding in working hard, surrounding yourself with super intelligent people and getting things done.

We made a conscious decision to take the positive aspects of the City with us to Mopp whilst shedding the pointless hierarchy and stupid office politics that always seemed to exist.  Mopp is a meritocracy where hard work and smarts rise to the top.  There’s no room for ego when you’re trying to build a successful business so ego-maniacs and non-team players don’t go far.

What have been some of the more unusual requests on Mopp?

All sorts! Off the top of my head, some of the more unusual requests we’ve had for our cleaners were to clean someone’s ears, to wash the inside of a washing machine, to clean up after a home birth, and to wear a French maid outfit… We get some pretty strange requests sometimes!

How do you recruit cleaners for the platform? Do they come to you or do you go to them?

It all boils down to trust and quality in the cleaning industry.  Each Mopp cleaner will be entering a customer’s home and it is crucial that they go through a rigorous on-boarding process.

Mopp professionals initially apply online through the site, which consists of an online cleaning test as well as a formal application. We then check their references and get them in for an in-person onboarding session, and finally run a three-part background check with leading background checking provider, Onfido.  Once all of this is complete, the cleaner is ready to go out for their first test clean.

You’ve been going for just over a year now, what has growth been like? 

Growth has been far greater than we thought would have been possible a year ago when it was just Tom and I around our kitchen table!  We have gone from doing one clean per day last April to now doing tens of thousands of hours of cleaning each month across the UK with a multi-million pound turnover run-rate.  It has been a breakneck experience!

How did you get your first customers?

Our own network of friends and colleagues and good old off-line flyering!  We had no capital to spend on other acquisition channels so these two channels combined with strong word of mouth kick-started Mopp.  Flyering outside Canary Wharf tube station is a great way to learn how to sell your service (although brutal at times!).

Where do you currently operate and how quickly do you expect to expand into new locations?

We currently operate in most major UK cities, and will be nationwide by the end of the year.

What is your key competitive advantage over competitors?

A combination of technology, operational excellence, and great customer service. As a closed marketplace, we take significant control of the supply side of the business and this gives us a number of operational advantages. Building a bespoke tech platform for both sides of the business provides huge advantages over incumbent competitors who remain reliant on Excel and people power.  Ultimately, algorithms can do in milliseconds what it takes people hours to do.

We also really focus on caring for the cleaners themselves. Our philosophy is that if you have happy cleaners, you have happy customers, so we really go out of our way to provide them with support and training. Without top quality and happy cleaning professionals, Mopp would not exist as a business so this is just as important as the technology and customer service aspects of the business.

How did you fund the business?

We bootstrapped for the first 6 months, financing everything ourselves. In June 2013 we raised a small amount from friends and family and took a loan each from Start Up Loans.  We were then approached by multiple funds in autumn 2013 and closed an £800,000 Seed round in December with a leading European VC fund.

Startups are always looking for ways to market their product cheaply early on, what sort of marketing have you done?

We’re very data-driven at Mopp, and we focus on performance marketing rather than brand marketing. Each channel’s performance is tracked in every City we operate in and we are always looking for how to optimise each channel.  We have also received some awesome consumer press on both a national and local basis which is great.  The strongest growth driver however has been word of mouth.  We have benefited from strong network effects on both sides of the marketplace, which helps us attract both customers and excellent cleaners.

How did you build your, let’s say, version one of the site? Did you have the skills or did you need to find someone else to do it? And if so, how did you find that process?

We actually contacted our old university (University of Sheffield) to find our first developer. He built the original site, which was basically a single booking page that we used to test the market. We then invited him to join the team full time to help build out the rest of the site and help us grow the company.

What was the biggest challenge you overcame in your first year in business?

Managing growth and building supply and demand simultaneously.  Classic marketplace growing pains I guess!

Managing growth, not a bad problem to have! Good luck guys!

Be sure to follow Mopp's progress, here's there Twitter: @MoppUK 

They also have an app and here's the app release rap video I found:

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Motivational business quotes that actually help! http://yhponline.com/2014/07/09/motivational-business-quotes-that-actually-help/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=motivational-business-quotes-that-actually-help http://yhponline.com/2014/07/09/motivational-business-quotes-that-actually-help/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 11:11:46 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36635 Motivational business quotes are rife. With every day that passes, someone on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+ will rail off a series of profound and eloquent sound bites intended to inspire and uplift their colleagues - or impress their friends and … Continue reading

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Quotes

Motivational business quotes are rife. With every day that passes, someone on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+ will rail off a series of profound and eloquent sound bites intended to inspire and uplift their colleagues - or impress their friends and managers!

Many of these quotes are skimmed over with a lazy and all-too apathetic nod or smile of agreement – and who can blame the reader? At 9 am on a Monday morning, it's difficult to take on board the full scope of meaning behind a potentially complex and sagely phrase.

However, there are certain phrases that may have a profound and poignant impact on our sub-conscious. They can help us express ideas we didn’t even realise we had or give us a new perspective that helps us to make progress. Similarly, using quotations from some of your clients and customers can also have its benefits. Companies such as McCarthy and Stone, for example, display quotations on their website that do not necessarily relate to how good their service is, but rather to life and business in general.

Here we look at a few of them and provide you with a handy list of motivational quotes that actually help!

1. Modern traditionalism

The Financial Times describes the policy of including motivational business quotes in emails, statuses and profiles as "a modern manifestation of a long tradition". This collaboration between old and new is something which all businesses can learn from so, while it’s not strictly a motivational quote in itself, it certainly has all the benefits of one!

2. Life happens

Quotations don’t have to be business-related to help companies. One of the finest and gut-wrenchingly impactful quotations of all time is John Lennon's, "life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans." This is something that will instil guilt and energetic productivity in equal measure. John Lennon is hardly a CEO's figurehead or the capitalist's pin-up boy but the implications of his quote to businesses is profound. If you put off something today, it may never happen.

3. Time to train

Peter Shultz's "hire character, train skill" quote is another example of the business mantras which can really help. It's short, sweet and actually carries a message that can be adopted into business practice day-to-day.

The message is that your staff are essentially what you make of them, and this is something you may want to echo elsewhere in your business operations.

4. Reaching the finish line

Business Insider also favours the motivational corporate quote and provides one of its own to kick off its countdown of the most successful sayings by stating, "when starting your own company, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon".

It’s important for business owners to always focus on the bigger picture as well as the smaller details, and this quote really emphasises that idea.

5. Listen up!

Finally, our motivational quote to end all others is this offering from John Doe in Se7en:

"Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you'll notice you've got their strict attention."

The idea here is that businesses can’t afford to rest on their laurels – no matter what their previous success levels. You need to continue to strive to improve and that means getting your message distributed as far and wide as possible. Go online, tap into social media and don’t afraid to be loud and proud!

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5 reasons why Hong Kong will be the next hottest startup hub http://yhponline.com/2014/06/30/hong-kong-startup-hub/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hong-kong-startup-hub http://yhponline.com/2014/06/30/hong-kong-startup-hub/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:16:57 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36563 Recently I've been learning more about the Hong Kong startup scene. Last week I went to an event hosted by InvestHK, who are doing a lot of work to help startups from London expand into the UK. The more I've … Continue reading

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Recently I've been learning more about the Hong Kong startup scene. Last week I went to an event hosted by InvestHK, who are doing a lot of work to help startups from London expand into the UK. The more I've looked into it the more it looks like a fantastic place to startup if you're looking to tackle the Asian market or even relocate too if you're looking to expand into Asia.

Hong Kong startup hub

Here are 5 reasons why Hong Kong is the next startup hub to look out for:

- Gateway to Asia. Hong Kong is close to a growing Asian market. Within 5 hours of half the worlds population (India, Mainland China, Japan, Indonesia etc...).

- No restrictions. Internet not restricted by Chinese government so companies have access to Twitter, Facebook and Google, but also the equivalent Chinese social networks such as Weibo, Renren and Baidu.

- Low and simple tax rate. Hong Kong has one of the lowest tax rates in the world which is a huge attraction to startups looking to make savings where possible. Here's some more info: http://bit.ly/1vp8y0m

- Startup support. Still growing but the level of support is getting better and better. For example government organisations such as InvestHK are providing a lot of help for new startups. Right now is a great time to take advantage of the governments willingness to back startups entering Hong Kong.

- Infrastructure/Culture. Hong Kong is very startup friendly. As one of the worlds smart cities, Hong Kong as an excellent IT infrastructure, good transportation, health care and governance systems.  There is also lots of highly educated local talent. English is also spoken throughout Hong Kong, helping British startups entering the market settle better.

 

To show just how much Hong Kong is embracing startups, co working spaces have grown from just 3 three years ago to 32. Shared workspace helps lowers costs for startups, which is obviously a key concern.

Much like London, Hong Kong is not a cheap city to live in, but the increase in shared workspaces and initiatives to help startups helps cut costs for entrepreneurs whilst still staying at the heart of the action is hugely beneficial.

Here's a nice video which puts it all together:

 

InvestHK are even helping early stage and growing startups with the opportunity to set up in Hong Kong with a competition, StartmeupHK. With benefits totaling over $500,000 including support and workspace in Hong Kong, you'd be crazy to not even consider it. Here's more about StartmeupHK. But be quick, applications close on the 31st July, 12pm Hong Kong time.

 

 

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Gary Gallagher, the man behind Tippy Tap, the viral app that made over $51,000 in its first month http://yhponline.com/2014/06/26/tippy-tap-gary-gallagher/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tippy-tap-gary-gallagher http://yhponline.com/2014/06/26/tippy-tap-gary-gallagher/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 21:04:06 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36561 Last month I spoke to Gary Gallagher who recently saw his app Tippy Tap, rise to the top of the top of the app store for games. It has made him a couple hundred thousand dollars in the few months … Continue reading

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Last month I spoke to Gary Gallagher who recently saw his app Tippy Tap, rise to the top of the top of the app store for games. It has made him a couple hundred thousand dollars in the few months it has been out and has seen over 110,000,000 plays worldwide. From humble beginnings working on his farm, he saw an opportunity in apps. His first attempt failed but crucially he learnt from it and didn't give up. Gary then had the idea for Tippy Tap, and the rest his history. Learn more about his journey from the farm to Tippy Tap:

Gary Gallagher Tippy Tap

Hi Gary, could you just give me a bit of a background to yourself before Tippy Tap:

Well, I am thirty years old, I grew up on a horse farm - I've pretty much been a farm boy my whole life. I always grew up fascinated with computers and graphics design, and I always wanted to be part of the movie industry, so where I learned a lot my graphic design skills is from learning visual effects and green screens and animation and such. 

And I was going to school in Florida for VFX and graphic design... and then my dad died. So I had to go back home, to Minnesota, and I went back there, started helping out with the farm again. And then my mum died seven months later, that was when I was 26. So I inherited the farm from them, and became this full blown cowboy I guess, for about two and half years.

And then I finally realized: I have the means to do what I want to now. My parents not only left me this farm but left me an opportunity to pursue whatever it is that I want to do. I ended up selling the farm and using some of the money I got from it to buy some equipment and started watching tutorials and signed to online classes to develop mobile apps.

I remember seeing my mum playing Farmville on Facebook one day, and I watched her pulling out a credit card and spend $50 sitting at the desk.

And I go: What are you doing? She goes: Well, I am buying more land.

What do you mean more land?

More land inside this game, so I can make my farm bigger.

I said: but you're spending real money on it!  She goes: yeah, it's fifty bucks.

From that moment on I knew I needed to learn how to do this. If my mum is crazy enough to spend that kind of money inside of a game, just for fun, I am sure a lot of other people will do it too.

Absolutely, you saw the opportunity and went for it. So how did the idea for Tippy Tap came along?

I don't know really – my ideas just kind of come to me, they just kind of pop into my head at random times, I could be doing the most random thing...

And I just so happened to be waking up, I was lying in my bed and I opened my eyes and I thought of it - and started designing it. I didn't have the name for it right away. … but I came up with concept, the design and the colours and stuff - I figured, why not add some feet to it - like you're tip-toeing across the little tiles.

So I was trying to come up with a catchy name and I incorporated some little bare feet. That's how Tippy Tap was born.

Tippy Tap

How well has it done up until today?

As of today on iOS we're at 1.2 million downloads. And Google 175 000. So it's about 1.4 million on both platforms.

Update: Tippy Tap is now pushing 2 million total downloads, and it's been played over 110,000,000 times worldwide!

And how long has this been running for?

It's been running for a month and two days; it started on April the 9th.

That's impressive – that's quick, that's really quick! So - are you making money off this right now? Is it through ads?

I am! So in the month of April it made $51 000. 

All from ads which have been OK. I had some early ones that were popping up during game and ruining peoples' games. It never happened to me, but I've seen it happen with my own eyes on friend's phones – so I changed the ads to pop-up after the game, to kind of get rid of the problem – and I haven't really got any complaints on the update yet.

So before Tippy Tap you had another app call ScratchPic right?

Yes, well the idea for ScratchPic came about when Snapchat was bursting. I woke up one morning and I saw on the news: Snapchat had just got it's first-round funding, I think they got $13m investment and then it was valued at $70-80 million – but there's no revenue!

I started thinking: OK, if this thing is worth $80m and people are going nuts over it, what's the next best thing… and what if we could turn it into a game?

So I came up with the idea of ScratchPic: you take a picture of whatever you want and then you assign a word to it, that's affiliated with an object in that picture - it could be any object you want. You send it to one of your friends, they get it as a kind of scratch card, and try to guess what the picture is.

ScratchPic

At that time I just had the idea and had the graphic design part done. I had started designing it, but had no idea how to make a working app. So I hired a company off a freelance website, and they were form India. Long story short, it ended up being really buggy, it didn't work the way they said it would. They weren't able to do what they promised me they could do – and ScratchPic was a total flop.

It cost me about $10,000 to get it developed for both platforms, and then I spent probably another $8,000 marketing it.

And it was featured on iTunes, and people were talking about it everywhere before it's release date. And it came out and it didn't work right, it was full of bugs. Not a mention they were a month late on their deadline.

You know, the biggest thing about an app is its initial release - that's the most crucial part.

For the most part. I mean, it took Candy Crush a year before it started to make any waves. It took Flappy Bird three months before it was at the top of the chart earning $50,000 a day.

What was the crucial difference between ScratchPic and Tippy Taps success at launch?

I think the addictiveness. To be honest I didn’t play it much until the last update. But now I can’t put it down. Tippy Tap sometimes makes me want to smash my phone.

Tippy Tap app

What's your top score then?

My high score is 328 but I think that was like a miracle when I did that, because now I can only get like 170 – 190. I have no idea how I got 328 that one day.

What's next?

I am actually setting up a game company, I want to do this full time, I want this to be my career.

And Tippy Tap has obviously set me up for this. I've got a lot more ideas, and actually, I am working on Tippy Tap 2 right now, which I think is going to be bigger than the first one.

Thanks Gary and good luck!

Some key learnings:

Stay switched on to what is happening around you and in and around your industry. Opportunities are everywhere. Gary shows it willingness to go and make the most of the opportunities. It didn’t always work out but he learnt and kept going and ended up creating Tippy Tap an app which went viral and made more than enough to cover the time and money he lost of his failed ventures.

Make something that you can’t put down and its likely it’ll be the same for others. If you’re not using it much, figure out why not? Iterate till you can’t put it down.

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Rowan Gormley, Naked Wines founder on working with Richard Branson, to crowdfunding wine http://yhponline.com/2014/06/24/rowan-gormley-naked-wines/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rowan-gormley-naked-wines http://yhponline.com/2014/06/24/rowan-gormley-naked-wines/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 23:07:23 +0000 http://yhponline.com/?p=36454 Recently I have heard a lot about a company called Naked Wines founded by Rowan Gormley and decided to learn more. I discovered a company disrupting a niche industry and a founder with a very interesting background. I decided to … Continue reading

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Recently I have heard a lot about a company called Naked Wines founded by Rowan Gormley and decided to learn more. I discovered a company disrupting a niche industry and a founder with a very interesting background.

I decided to get in touch with Rowan Gormley and we had a chat about everything from his time in private equity to meeting Richard Branson, starting and growing 4 startups and what he's learnt along the way.

I have highlighted some key takeaways at the bottom of this article, but first take a look at my in depth interview with Rowan Gormley below.

Rowan Gormley

Hi Rowan, can you give me a bit of background to yourself?

I am a very bad accountant. Qualified as well - but I never cracked it since then. I spent some time in private equity, and then had the good fortune to meet a man called Richard Branson - and ended up setting up Virgin Money, and then the Virgin One Account and Virgin Wines together.

Now I am running Naked Wines, which is my fourth startup.

And how did you come to meet Richard and get started with Virgin?

I was at private equity at the time, and we were working on a deal with Virgin. Through that I ended up meeting him. The deal never actually happened, but one day after, I got this phone call completely out of the blue, saying: it's Richard Branson, would you like to come and work here?

I said “yes” without knowing what the job was or what the salary was or anything else, I just thought - opportunities like that don't come by often.

 Then you went and started Virgin Money? How did that come about?

Well, literally the first day I started working at Virgin a group of us sat and had lunch together, and we were joking about what Virgin should be going into. Everyone was talking about: spaceships, boutique hotels and night clubs; this kind of thing.

I put up my hand and said: financial services? Everybody laughed and went, “aaah, financial services - who wants to be in financial services?!”

But my argument was -and this is almost 20 years ago- nobody trusts banks – and it's only going to get more so.  Virgin's strongest quality is trust. So therefore it will be most valuable in a business where trust is a rare commodity.

So, niche business, no one trusts the banks, why not Virgin? And that was the idea, that's how we got going.

Virgin Money

We ended up launching the business in 10 weeks. We built a system, got a regulatory approval, hired the people, built an ad campaign, built the product, trained everyone, kitted out an office in ten weeks.

How long after did wines come into it, and Virgin wines?

That was in 1999, and being in financial services for five years, which is long enough for just enough anybody, and the company have really completely outgrown me. I mean it was huge and I am really a startup person.

The Internet was just happening, Amazon was just happening... and I used Amazon - and of course I appreciated the price and convenience – but I thought that the thing that Amazon did really well, was that for the first time I was discovering new bands and new authors, because of their if-you-like-this, you-will-like-that.

I though that's something the internet can do really well. But Amazon's already done books, it's already done music, so what else is there? The obvious thing to do was wine. Because it's the only other thing that you don't know what it's like till you've got it home.

So I pitched it to the Virgin guys who said no. So my brother, myself and a friend, we just worked nights and weekends and built it in our spare time. And we built it as Orgasmic Wines to start with. It ended up working really well. So went back to the Virgin guys, and they came in, and put in a pile of money and the Virgin name and everything else – and the astonishing thing was: the sales didn't grow at all! So that was pretty disastrous.

We did all the usual dot-com mistakes: raised too much money, fancy headquarters, too many people, fancy ad campaigns that don't deliver anything – so we blew it all. And we had to fire everyone, shrink the company down to a fraction to its size and restructure. We eventually build it up and sold it to Direct Wines.

And seventeen of us left and set up Naked Wines.

Naked Wines

Right, ok, so give me the lowdown on Naked Wines:

Well, the idea behind Naked Wines is that: you shouldn't need to be rich to drink great wine. Because great wine doesn't cost a lot of money to make - it only costs a lot of money to sell.

We are a subscription-based, crowdfunded wine retailer. The business model is a virtuous circle: so our customers crowdfund our wine makers. That means the wine makers don't need to waste time and money selling to the customers, which means they are able to give us the wine at preferential prices and we pass those onto our customers.

You started Naked Wines in 2008 during an economic downturn, how was it getting this new business model up and running during that time?

Well, I think probably because it was such a bizarre time, that was what probably made us bold enough to say: instead of just setting up a slightly better wine retailer, offering slightly better product, at slightly better prices – it made us bold, and said: if we're going to change people's behavior in the middle of a down-turn, we need to offer something that is so fantastic that even in a downturn people will change their behavior.

What was the original reaction to the business model? Because I guess crowdfunding wasn’t as well-known back then.

I don't think the word had even been invented then!

I think the reaction - there just wasn't one. We'd get about 20 orders a day. We were all sitting there twiddling our thumbs.

Then, somehow the flywheel starts turning, and starts gaining momentum. It's partly that we got the message right and we got the execution right on the site. It was also about building up a core of customers, that when someone went along to the website and said: “what's all this Naked Wine stuff?” there were other people there for them to talk to.

How long did it take for you to turn a profit?

We turned profitable halfway through our third year, and we've been profitable ever since.

What’s the stats?

We've sold 10 million bottles of wine last year. 200 000 Angels, who are the people that fund us, who give us 60 million EUR a year to invest in wine.

Naked Wines stats

I came across Naked Wines through vouchers I’ve seen in deliveries from Amazon for example, and I noticed on your site as well, that you go on it say “do you have a voucher”. It seems to be quite a prominent marketing tool; I just wanted to know what the idea behind this was?

The idea was – to get people to change their behavior is pretty hard. To get people to try something new is pretty hard. And we're confident that once people have tried it, they'll keep buying. So being such a good deal, people who would normally go “no I can’t be bothered” give it a shot.

What do you think was the biggest challenge when setting up this business.

Definitely people. When we set up Naked Wines in the UK it was very straightforward. Because seventeen of use left, we were quite a cohesive team, everybody knew the other people could do their job so everyone just focused on getting their own job done – and I had the luxury of being able to take only people who I knew were brilliant.

When we set up in the US for example, we've got 65 staff in the US, and I just never really appreciated how hard it is to hire effectively. And after I've made a few mistakes, I started reading about it and saw that it's not unusual to be... that 1 in 2 is a good hit rate. We're a small business, it's a tough thing to be dealing with. So definitely people is the hardest thing.

Did you come across any tips you'd give to other people who are hiring?

I tended to hire people who were like me – instead of hiring people who were complementary to me, and had strengths where I was weak.

The second thing is, you go through the interview process, offer someone a job - and by lunch time on their first day you knew they were wrong for the job. We thought “How do we take that first morning of the job and actually put it into the interview process so that we can avoid those mis-hires?” and that's been very effective.

Now with everyone that comes in, I give them some work to do. We actually work on some real-life problem together. It's just interesting how quickly you can separate the talkers from the doers.

And lastly what do you think was kind of key to your success so far?

Never giving up. I think it’s key to being an entrepreneur. It's not creative genius, or technical ability; you just got to really want it.

Almost always your first idea doesn't work.

You see people who are not entrepreneurial: they come up with a brilliant idea, try it, and it doesn't work, go in the slump – and you can just see the entrepreneurs just unphased by that, they go: all right, that one didn't work - let's try the next one!

Rowan Gormley Naked Wines Takeaways

Key takeaways:

 1. Take your opportunities - "I said “yes” without knowing what the job was or what the salary was or anything else, I just thought - opportunities like that don't come by often."

 2. Look at existing technologies and it's use and see where it can be reapplied to similar effect - "I though that's something the internet can do really well. But Amazon's already done books, it's already done music, so what else is there?"

3. Don't give up because someone turned you down - "So I pitched it to the Virgin guys who said no. So my brother, myself and a friend, we just worked nights and weekends and built it in our spare time. It ended up working really well. So went back to the Virgin guys, and they came in, and put in a pile of money "

4. Don't be afraid to be bold, even when in difficult times - "it made us bold, and said: if we're going to change people's behavior in the middle of a down-turn, we need to offer something that is so fantastic that even in a downturn people will change their behavior."

5. When hiring give them some practical work to do and see if they can back up their interview - "I give them some work to do. We actually work on some real-life problem together. It's just interesting how quickly you can separate the talkers from the doers."

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