Growing your business is important. It’s all the rage, isn’t it? Growth. Growth for the sake of growth. Growth because investors expect growth. Growth because what is a business if it’s not growing?
Well, Sean Hidden would argue that your business needs to be stable to grow. In the latest episode of It’s Not Over, Sean emphatically states that the most responsible thing that a business owner can do is ensure that the business can last for ten years.
Baristas, free coffee, lunch and drinks once a month might feel cool but profits and sustainability are even cooler. This is a very counterintuitive stand to take in the world of high growth tech startups.
Sean has gone from derivatives trading to selling ads for social media platforms in Africa. He is an entrepreneurial force to be reckoned with and his latest business, Ad Dynamo went from the brink of closure to a successful exit in 2022.
Sean has a way with words and an affable personality that makes him the perfect salesman. He has used these gifts to sell everything from payment gateways to performance management software.
In this episode Sean and I cover a wide range of topics including firing clients and partners, raising the right kind of investment from the best kind of investor and doing right by your employees.
If you’re currently struggling with bad partners, catastrophic growth or being a better leader then Sean has words of wisdom not to be missed.
A few key lessons from this episode to whet your appetite:
Expanding quickly into new markets is brutal
While Sean and Ad Dynamo were expanding rapidly their growth had brought out the rats and mice, not the best partners they could hope for. So in the short term, they had traction in new countries but in the long term, they suffered because their partners were below par and needed to move on.
Owning a tiny part of many markets isn’t interesting
After expanding into new markets through local partners, Sean realised that nobody is interested in a company that plays a tiny part in a big market. His entire business changed when he decided to focus on the untapped inventory in Africa, which nobody else controlled.
Tell a unique story
It doesn’t matter how good you are, how good you think you are or how much you believe you deserve success, if you can’t tell a compelling and unique story with a golden thread running through it then you’re dead in the water.
Sean needed to focus and tie together loose ends before his customers and staff would be able to take the business seriously.
Above are three of many, many important business lessons that Sean talks me through. Don’t miss this episode, it’s full of experience and hard lessons learned through suffering.
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