“Know how to research and road test your concept”, with Jason Remilard and Angela Knox

Know how to research and road test your concept. Many people come up with an idea for a business and think it’s the greatest thing ever — until they discover that someone has either already done it, or that there is something similar available that would be difficult to improve, or that there is no […]

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Know how to research and road test your concept. Many people come up with an idea for a business and think it’s the greatest thing ever — until they discover that someone has either already done it, or that there is something similar available that would be difficult to improve, or that there is no demand for your idea. This is tough and takes time — online research is the best starting point, then you need to talk to as many people and companies as possible and if you have the capacity do some professional market research to establish if and where the opportunity lies.

Asa part of my series about “Lessons From Inspirational Women Leaders in Tech”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela Knox.

Having started life with a creative focus and being a more right brain than left brain person, dreams of becoming a professional concert pianist following years of study were soon replaced with a discovery that the business world was much more diverse and interesting, and en entree into marketing swiftly followed. Working in London and her native Yorkshire for a range of large marketing agencies and client companies, Angela soon realised that pursuing some kind of independent path was going to be more fulfilling than always working for someone else. After various stints in marketing consultancy, travelling to out of the way locations and setting up a number of small business ventures, she landed in Essex (30 miles from London) in the late noughties and together with her partner of 15 years decided to set up what has now become an all-consuming business venture in the shape of their employee wellbeing programme, keepfiteatfit.com.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

This career path is the result of a long period of evolution, and has only become possible because of the tech that we now all have at our fingertips. Having worked for many years in a variety of marketing and business focused roles as well as consulting for private clients, I have always had the yearning to run a business of my own, as has my partner Mark. I started my marketing career in a pre-digital era, and in those days my focus was on direct marketing which mostly included devising direct mail campaigns for lots of mainstream financial institutions and other large database owners. It had always seemed to me that being the business owner rather than the hired marketer was going to be the way to achieve something bigger and better, and having learned a diverse set of skills from working with many different clients, I wanted to apply what I had learned and invent something creative and impactful for myself. In the pursuit of looking for very different business ideas I left the comfort of a large marketing agency job in 2001 and became involved with some characters who were setting up some international ventures, and so began a 4–5 year period of travelling to Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe in the pursuit of setting up some import/export ventures. This involved exploring supply routes for natural stone and furniture items from Pakistan, including travelling many times along the main routes between Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar, meeting some diverse business contacts and bumping into foreign journalists when there was a terrorist bomb explosion in one of the churches there, as well as the surreal experience of passing by the road in the midst of the military bases where bin Laden was eventually found years later. Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe were no less intrepid experiences, and I found myself several times trekking through undergrowth and bush in various very remote locations looking for gold and precious stone mining sites, with a sturdy team of local helpers wielding their machetes to clear the pathways. This led to some very interesting learning experiences but not much in the way of profits, as investors and partners eventually dispersed, one of whom ended up being scammed by some Africans posing as miners and losing all the money he had in the pursuit of non-existent business opportunities. There were also issues in some places as a woman in business — being in meetings where projects are being discussed and no-one is listening to the one woman in the room is not a rewarding experience, and so it became obvious that it was time to move on. My ideal project in general would involve creating something of value that customers would derive benefit from, and having always been interested in health, fitness and wellbeing — as well as being a committed vegetarian — this subject had the most allure and I discovered a gap in the market that was not being catered for. After many years of being office bound and experiencing a general lack of useful wellbeing tools from employers, I started to experiment with practising the simple kind of bodyweight exercise routines that can literally be done anywhere, i.e. no need for a gym or change of clothes. I learned this through memberships from various gyms and personal trainers and applied the learnings to my day to day office life, as I fully believe that people are more productive and healthy when they are moving their bodies for at least parts of the working day. I also realised that there were no fitness apps that focused on this idea, and in fact at the time most of the apps or websites that did exist didn’t include any decent video demos, rather they were mostly written descriptions, which are hard to follow and don’t get people engaged. Then Mark and I both sat and thought about all the other areas of wellbeing where there was scant information available, so we conceived the idea of a complete digital wellbeing programme encompassing modules on office and home based fitness, nutrition/health, recipes, pre and post-natal fitness, sleep, mental health, finance, and retirement, using video channels, audio books and blogs to deliver the content. Now we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and most companies are putting in place measures to have home working become the norm, this concept is even more vital than when we started. All of these modules work in harmony, so that the overall wellbeing of the user is helped and improved by using all the modules together.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

The most interesting story surrounds the learnings we gleaned in the early development phase of our product suite. We had originally started thinking about offering the product mainly to end users, but when we started to explore the area of what employers were doing for their employees and the market need that plainly existed, we found a vein of potential that shaped our whole development process. We set up meetings with potential B2B clients and had some very stimulating discussions with some large companies, one of whom even asked us if we would contemplate selling the business, before we had finished developing the concept! They are one of the biggest global insurance brokers who also sell benefits packages to thousands of corporate clients, and they admitted that they had no wellbeing products to provide to them, despite a clear need that existed. We didn’t pursue the selling our company conversation, and continued to work night and day on developing our content and functionality, with the result that we now sell this solution to employers globally to offer to their employees, to help them create a positive company culture that wholly supports both individual and organisational wellbeing. We also discovered provable stats linking the deployment of wellbeing programmes within companies to increased profitability due to the enhanced motivation, health, fitness and loyalty of employees, as well as lower levels of health insurance claims. We started to realise that what we had created and how it was to be used would ultimately not only help employees but also define the employer brand and reputation for years to come.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One thing that happened when we were just launching our product was having a conversation with a Canadian reseller in the wellbeing space, and then realising that he was expecting a full and detailed demo of our system — it had actually been planned as an introductory call. As we were still in the midst of covid, the call was conducted over zoom, and we were half way through the demo when the sound failed — although the client waited until we got to the end before telling us. So 5 minutes of talking to ourselves was not helpful, and although this is a common problem when using this technology, it wasn’t possible for us to retrieve the situation so the call was ended in a fairly terse way. The lesson we learned from that was to restructure our demo process and ensure that introductory calls were understood to be just that.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

At the start of this journey, as with any new project that fires you with enthusiasm, we were excited and had belief that the concept had huge potential, and this has carried through during the whole time leading up to launch and where we are now. But there were certainly some hugely challenging times along the way, and it was both my and my partner’s total commitment to the project and our ability to get it done that took us to the end of the process of building the concept out — we are both very resilient and stoic characters and dig our heels in when times get tough.

It has taken nearly 4 years in total to bring the concept to fruition, and during this time we have had financial challenges, health challenges and family bereavements to deal with. We have had to learn a long list of new skills and embrace new technological tools which we never knew existed when we started, and worked intensively in a way that has drained our energy and brought the inevitable sceptical comments from friends and family — none of whom have set up in business or understand the challenges of doing so.

In the middle of developing the website I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in 10 years and so had to undergo treatment and deal with the stress of coming to terms with it, as did Mark, who found it tough. I also had a battle with a previous employer which didn’t help my stress levels or my bank balance, so this added extra strain. Not long after this my mother passed away after more than 2 years in a dementia care home, and although it was hardly unexpected, it hit hard and took time to recover from the shock.

Mark, as ever, was a rock during this period, and we managed to pull together and keep going. My mother had always been a great believer in passing wealth down through the family, so our lack of funds situation at this time was greatly helped by the ensuing inheritance. We used these funds to complete the extended web development work on the website back end, and it turned into a very long process as we continued to build out some really exciting and unique technology.

Developing a deeper understanding of all the tech was challenging and Mark in particular spent a lot of time researching new tools we could use — now we have a complete suite of analytics and CRM tools which paired with our own software and security solutions enables us to be super efficient, secure, and comprehensive in our offerings.

Finding the right people to work with is also a challenge, and we found a great PHP developer in Dan Dabner from Lucid Crystal, and some creative freelancers we have built up great working relationships with — as employing people in the early stages is too big a challenge.

During all this time of building out our concept, we never considered giving up as we had a vision we wanted to achieve, and we believed in it 100%. We supported each other and worked tirelessly together, and as we have lived together for almost 15 years, we knew each other well enough to be able to survive the experience unscathed. Luckily we both share the same sense of humour, and laughing is one of our favourite pastimes — we keep each other sane by finding humour in the most remote places.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

In 2005 I met my now partner Mark, and when we eventually established our relationship and started living together, we often discussed plans on how we could set up a business, which we both wanted to do. Early on we realised that we had shared values and ambitions, which is an essential part of all good partnerships — whether business or personal. We have worked together tirelessly to get this project off the ground, and Mark’s determined exploration of many of the tech aspects of both video production and assessments of the many tech tools available which have helped us to run the business have been key components of what we have built. And as a 50/50 business partner with responsibilities for many other aspects such as strategy and marketing, he has been the ideal person to work with and amazingly supportive in every possible way. It’s also a great way to grow a relationship, and there are not many people who could work together and live together 24/7 especially during stressful situations, of which we have had many. His father also passed away earlier this year during the covid lockdown, and that has been another stress factor we have dealt with during a time where there have been endless challenges. But we are not deterred from our task.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Out of the many life lesson quotes that are relevant to me, I think the one that resonates the most is this one from Steve Jobs:

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time”.

This is more to do with people’s perceptions of things and when they notice them. Anything that is worth something takes time and ability to develop. From the age of 6 when I started learning the piano, I soon realised that practising for several hours every single day was the only route to success, and so I dedicated my early years to the pursuit of music, when most of my school friends were doing other things or out partying. The most often heard comment I had from people when I ever played in front of them was ‘I wish I could play the piano’ — which I always found odd as it seemed as if they believed that I woke up one morning suddenly being able to play without first having learned and practised hard over many years. The same is true of many things, and it seems that people believe that you suddenly have an idea and it happens instantly, and that if you become successful it is somehow by luck rather than application or planning. Film stars and professional musicians practise their art for many years before they get a break — if indeed they get one — and it’s usually only after all of those years honing their skills that they can hope to make an impact on their profession. Business is really like that, and it takes a series of idea formation, learning and practising a variety of business skills and making them fit together to launch your idea on the world. Often those processes don’t result in a successful project, and many successful entrepreneurs have had false starts, I know I have — it gives you the experience and resilience to hone your ideas and rigorously work on any weak points before you go to full launch.

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Lets now shift to the main focus of our interview. Wed love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?

The pain point Keep Fit Eat Fit Wellbeing Ltd is addressing is the issue of how to provide easy to consume services for employee wellbeing, and in particular work from home wellbeing — especially now we are in the grip of an extended pandemic with more people than ever working at home. We have devised and developed an all in one software programme which is holistic, and it provides easy to consume content on several subjects which are the main challenges that employers, HR and wellbeing professionals face, now that the need for the provision of employee wellbeing solutions has been fully adopted and accepted. Employers realise that they need to be able to keep their employees fit and healthy, both in mind and body, in order to help them be the best they can be, whilst at the same time boosting their credentials as a caring and responsible employer that values their bottom line. It has been proven by many case studies in both the US and Europe that a small investment in employee wellbeing programmes returns a big benefit in terms of increased employee resilience, motivation, productivity, and loyalty, and it also reduces the cost of health insurance premiums when employees follow the programme, which creates a new profit centre for the company. The returns are at least 5 to 1 in terms of cost incurred and financial benefit recouped, and in some cases up to 8 to 1 and higher. What we are doing here is providing the employer with a simple and complete B2B SaaS software solution that avoids the need for searching around for separate apps and services.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We have a few ways in which we believe we stand out with our product. The main stand-out is the holistic nature of the website programme, as described in the last question, and there are some other unique features.

When we first started discussing our plans with corporates, they identified a few areas that were challenges for them, including the need to include ways to measure and promote engagement with any product they may use, and to be able to measure ROI. There was also the need to have a globally available product, and one which would include recipe content for all tastes and international cuisines. We have addressed all of these points in our product, by including the ability to provide all of these aspects.

The engagement issue is a big one, as there are many companies who have put in place such schemes as subsidised or free gym memberships but many employees don’t take them up — which costs the employer. There are other programmes that employers have tried, and there are many variants, but anything that is not digital is hard to measure. We have developed unique technology in our HR dashboard and our member’s portal which provides the ability for the employer to measure uptake (using anonymised data), and we have gamified the whole process for both user portals to make participation fun and rewarding. There are digital awards for the end users, a global leaderboard and a social wall where they can share their stories — so we have created an environment of community.

Data use is a big issue now, and there are many apps out there which are quite focused on obtaining user data as the main objective, and many of these need a wearable to work properly. We have veered away from the data grab approach, and all of the data is anonymised so it will not be used to personally track behaviour, and you don’t need a wearable to use our system. It is designed to be used in home working environment, which is a desktop or laptop, with a mobile and tablet optimised version for added convenience.

We have made it super easy for companies to sign up, they can do so right from the pricing page of the website, and it only takes a few minutes for employers to onboard their staff and get them started. It’s also very affordable, and starts at less than £7 per month per employee — less for enterprise clients, for whom we provide bespoke pricing. It is a small investment that can provide a huge return in improved wellbeing, increased motivation and productivity.

These points of difference are the eye-catching aspects of our product suite, that have caught the attention of the clients we are onboarding, as well as investors we are currently in discussions with. Our corporate aim is to make wellbeing universally available globally, as we believe it makes a huge difference to people’s lives and brings quality of life in a new way that makes it easy for people to follow and to learn about topics which will give them new skills and abilities, independence, better health and longevity.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We have thought of some other projects we want to start when we have more time availability, and we are never short of ideas. Mark has thought of an idea for an app in the legal space, which would really help people to access services (not giving away any specifics at this stage!), and we have a great concept for a footwear brand which has elements of comfort, versatility and ease of use for office workers (a specific concept which is currently under wraps).

Lets zoom out a bit and talk in more broad terms. Are you currently satisfied with the status quo regarding women in Tech? What specific changes do you think are needed to change the status quo?

Speaking as someone who is older than the average person working in tech today, I think there has been a general assumption over the years that tech is not really for women, and that men are more naturally attuned to learning this field. I think this is wrong, and anything that limits women’s opportunities to explore any subject or profession is a bad thing — although the problem is not as extreme as say 10 or 20 years ago.

I think girls need to be encouraged at the earliest age, when they are in school or college, to learn about technical subjects, including coding, and not be typecast because they are female. I remember when I was at school and the headmaster was sectioning off the class into boys doing woodwork and girls doing cookery, his comment being ‘we don’t want any male chefs do we?’ How incredible that seems now.

Any initiatives that encourage girls and women to step outside of accepted norms in terms of career choice or interests should be encouraged, as I believe that everyone should be allowed access to as broad a spectrum of learning as possible — and this can be at any age, you are never too old to learn new skills.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women in Tech that arent typically faced by their male counterparts? What would you suggest to address this?

Challenges in this area include things like having the courage to enter a male dominated work environment when you are a female tech expert. Sometimes an all male office can be intimidating, and everyone needs to form bonds with work colleagues which are not always as easy in this situation. It is also often the case that a woman doing a job in a traditionally male environment has to work at least twice as hard to be recognised as being equally skilled as their male counterparts.

Positive recruitment policy in companies and universities to train and recruit a minimum number of female students for tech subjects would help There should be equal opportunities for women to enter the tech professions, and as with any business you need a balance between male and female to incorporate both perspectives — the business will benefit from incorporating both and be richer for it.

Some kind of PR and education campaign would help to redress this balance so that girls and women do not feel intimidated or put off by considering a career in a tech field.

What would you advise to another tech leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth or sales and restart their engines”?

When it comes to boosting growth and re-starting a business, I think good advice would be to take stock of the business and stand back objectively to look at where you have got to and act as if you are looking from the outside in as if looking at someone else’s business. Look at where you started, what markets you are penetrating and how those markets have changed since you started. Adopt a flexible approach so that you can adapt to changing market conditions, e.g. if there are new entrants to the market look at what they are doing that you are not, and if there are things you can do better than anyone else. Or even look at if you need to pivot to make your product or service different in any way to address the market from a different angle, or even address a different market altogether. Look at new opportunities and brand extensions, so you can add further services to your offering and create something new.

Do you have any advice about how companies can create very high performing sales teams?

The first thing I would recommend is ensuring that sales teams are properly rewarded for doing a good job, and that the incentive for doing so is made very clear, so that achieving pre-agreed KPIs earns them clear financial rewards. Also if you have a team, I would make sure that the whole team is recognised in the reward system so that they work together as a team rather than individually and help each other to achieve maximum results. This also creates harmony and great team spirit. Have clear targets and put everything in place necessary to help the team to achieve and surpass the targets. Put recognition mechanics in place to ensure that nothing is missed in terms of encouragement for consistently exceeding sales targets. Have regular team and individual meetings, take on board suggestions from sales staff, treat them with respect. Make sure the processes and admin systems you have in place are efficient, enabling and user friendly — the last thing you need is clunky processes that hold up your sales people from doing their job effectively. Also you need to address any training needs — there are many courses available that teach specific skills and you need to provide these as needed to be a responsible employer. Above all, treat your team with respect, reward them well, and they will exceed your expectations.

In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?

There are many ways of attracting key clients and in our industry it’s all about generating trust. As we are selling B2B we have to project a very professional image and target our efforts in areas where clients are active, which involves a lot of face to face meetings (or zoom in the current situation), attending events and working hard on networking. These are all harder things to do now we have covid, however as things are moving online that is the medium we have at our disposal, so online events and running webinars, gaining as much of a connection as possible with prospects is a good way of building a pipeline. Linked In is a great way of networking online and should be a part of everyone’s marketing strategy, although I would advise caution in the mode of approach — give people a reason to accept your connection invitation, don’t just send out a blanket generic message.

Content marketing is also a good strategy as it enables you to build up trust and credibility with your target customers by providing a constant supply of free information and establish your company as a thought leader in its field, so that people can understand your proposition and your place in the market before they buy from you. PR is also one of the best means of establishing thought leadership and credibility, and is a tremendously important way of getting your messaging out to a wide audience, especially if you are targeting a global audience.

Collaborative relationships are also very important, and have been crucial for establishing our particular business. We have alliances with a number of key companies and organisations who help us with content validation and provision of some content, whilst also helping us to build credibility with clients, and even become clients themselves.

Based on your experience, can you share 3 or 4 strategies to give your customers the best possible user experience and customer service?

With regard to user experience, a good plan is to test your offerings on as many people as possible before you launch a product. Ask people to go through every process to make sure everything is clear, understandable and as simple as it can be. When developing any product with a tech element, it is sometimes easy to put in place functions that you think are easy to complete, whereas when you show it to an end user there can be road blocks or clunky procedures that could be better thought out. This is an art in itself and hiring UX specialists and researchers to test your product can be a good strategy.

Another idea is to constantly review your procedures as technology changes and sometimes customers highlight areas that can be problematic. Your customer success team should encourage feedback constantly from users and the company should act on any issues that could potentially hinder progress, especially if you are adding new features after a customer has joined. Always make it easy for customers to access information about new features and improvements and encourage their feedback.

With regard to customer service generally, always aim for the highest level you can provide. There is nothing better than knowing that a company is responsive and available for communication and will take your issues seriously. It creates an all round positive user experience and enhances your reputation, and will increase the amount of referrals you receive for new business.

As you likely know, this HBR article demonstrates that studies have shown that retaining customers can be far more lucrative than finding new ones. Do you use any specific initiatives to limit customer attrition or customer churn? Can you share some of your advice from your experience about how to limit customer churn?

I learned from my early days in direct marketing agencies working for big clients who worked hard at retaining existing customers that it cost around 10 times more to acquire a new customer as it did to retain an existing one, and that efforts should always be focused on extending the potential lifetime value of an existing customer — a metric that should be factored into your business planning. You can also generate referral business from happy existing customers through member get member schemes — but remember to reward both the person referring and the referred customer.

Often companies tend to ignore their existing customers and take them for granted, e.g. mobile phone, insurance and utility companies who reserve their best deals for new customers and let their existing customers leave, although some have last minute rescue deals but only if you threaten to cancel. This is reverse thinking, and thankfully some providers have now realised this and now make efforts to try harder to retain existing customers e.g. when you renew a phone contract.

Some basic retention actions can be put in place to head off the possibility of churn, such as making your product the best it can be, and communicate regularly with your customers — if there are key large clients you need a dedicated account handler who is pro-active in relationship building, and with smaller customers or lower level business values you can use email, chat and SMS, but make sure you have the mechanics in place to follow up any highlighted problems or queries — don’t leave people hanging in mid-air.

Another key method of creating longer term value from a customer is to make sure you have the correct customer acquisition policy in place and you know your buyer personas. Being analytical at the start of your journey and identifying who you are selling to in detail pays dividends in the long term, as you can make sure that you are matching your product offering to the right customer groups. If you can also reach a point where you have product market fit at the earliest possible stage, this will help you in moving forward, so you are targeting the right people with the right offering at the right time. This in itself will limit customer churn, as the customers who have bought from you have done so for the right reasons, and as long as you keep on deploying the right customer retention strategies they will stay with you for the long term.

Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful tech company? Please share a story or an example for each.

In my experience, the five things I would share are:

You need to have a great idea. This is the start of any successful tech company, and it’s important to come up with a concept that is different or has some unique element to it that is better than the competition. Who thought that home delivery meals would become such a massive business when Deliveroo and Just Eat started out? There was no such sector until a few years ago, and now this has boomed to a multi-billion dollar industry, where aside from product and service, positioning, brand image and advertising creativity are the main differentiators influencing success.

Know how to research and road test your concept. Many people come up with an idea for a business and think it’s the greatest thing ever — until they discover that someone has either already done it, or that there is something similar available that would be difficult to improve, or that there is no demand for your idea. This is tough and takes time — online research is the best starting point, then you need to talk to as many people and companies as possible and if you have the capacity do some professional market research to establish if and where the opportunity lies. A recent example of this I experienced was Rand Fishkin who was one of the founders of Moz, who has recently set up his new company SparkToro which aims to discover where audiences spend time, who and what they listen to, and where they engage. He had detailed knowledge of this market space and went on to identify a new opportunity which he fully road tested and piloted before rolling out, which I believe has now happened and the product is now fully built out.

Learn as much as you can about the technology you plan to use and build a great team. Technology is a fast moving area, and whilst you can as an entrepreneur learn some of this you will never be an expert, as you need to be running your business (unless you are a tech expert to start with). Many start-ups bring in hired help either on a paid or pro bono basis with the promise of shares — this is what investors like as they can see you have obtained commitment from people who are happy to work on your business without draining the coffers. It’s not always easy to do this and will depend on your situation — if you are a group of graduates from university for example, you may be able to assemble a team on this basis. But in our case, we had to hire an external tech team as we needed PHP specialists, and that turned out to be a great move because they are very experienced and although there is a large cost element, we know we have achieved the best end result possible and we own the IP.

Understand financials and your business model. Spreadsheets are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they are an essential tool for business planning and you have to get your head around financial modelling and how your business is going to make money. You will need to constantly refine and adjust as you go along, and before, during and after your business has started you will need to keep referring back to them so you know you are on track. Have a good accountant to help with this, they can keep you on the straight and narrow. My own experience of learning this skill is a practical example of this. When we started out, I was the one with a certain amount of financial knowledge and experience so I have always been the one to work on budgeting and financial planning, and looking for ways of making money go the furthest distance. We managed to find a few small grant funders as well, and great help from AWS in the form of credits, as well as software providers who gave us start-up deals. We operate on the premise of ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’, and that has worked extremely well!

Get to understand and work on PMF (product market fit). This is the idea that after you have launched a new product, you will need to aim to get to a point where you know your product fulfils a need, you have found your ideal customer profile, and you have paying customers who are established long enough to know that they will keep buying your product. The best customers are those who say they would be upset and bereft if your product was taken away from them. Some businesses achieve this early, some take longer, and an example of one that came to the market and sold its product successfully but didn’t achieve PMF until several years into the project is the design software company Figma. They built up a customer base through initially interacting with the design community, and later attracted external investment at Series B investment stage when they raised 35m dollars.

Wonderful. We are nearly done. Here are the final meaty” questions of our discussion. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think a movement that would bring good to people is an extension of our wellbeing product concept so that the whole message of personal health and wellbeing permeates the globe, and people everywhere can benefit from improving their health and quality of life. There are millions of people who don’t have the knowledge or resources to access this kind of information, and I think putting as much of it into the hands of as many people as possible would be a great thing. Knowledge is power, and if people understand for example that cooking food with fresh ingredients regularly instead of using processed alternatives gives them so many health benefits and the ability to fend off illnesses, they will be healthier and happier human beings, and they can also educate their children to acquire these skills. Likewise with too much sedentary behaviour — it is detrimental to health, and both employers and people in general need to be aware of how this affects health, to be able to take remedial steps and improve their longevity and quality of life.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

One of the people I would love to have a private meeting with would be Melinda Gates. She is obviously one of the most high profile women in tech, but also a very active philanthropist and promoter of such worthwhile causes, I would like to learn more about both of these aspects of her life. I have always believed that the result of building up a successful business or businesses should lead to putting back into the world community, both in terms of ideas and funds. There are so many ways I would like to explore this further, based on my life experience and having seen many areas of the world that need assistance, and it would be a great legacy to have an impact on some of the world’s many inequalities and injustices.

Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!

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