Years after launching Avocado Vision, founder and MD, Jules Newton realised that the training business experienced seasonal periods, only creating revenue for seven months of the year.
When the recession hit, training budgets were cut in the corporate world and Jules realised that the business model was unsustainable. “I needed to take the business model apart, challenge every assumption, and put it back together to make it work.”
Inspired by CK Prahalad’s book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid about eradicating poverty through profits, Jules starting thinking differently about how to help the poor overcome challenges in their lives. Her new venture, Footprint, targeted the markets at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’, eradicating the seasonal high and low waves in business as the demand was constant.
Jules knew she had to reduce the costs of training, so instead of hiring highly-trained, experienced trainers, she took unskilled trainers and taught them to train the content to their communities. This, combined with the elimination of travel costs, saw the cost of trainers reduced to between 5% and 10% of the cost of using skilled trainers.
Motivated by Footprint’s purpose of helping people start micro training businesses and a stubborn belief that she would make it work, Jules kept going when others told her to give up because of the money lost in the start-up phases. She says she does not think in the present, but is rather always strategising about the next step and looking for new opportunities.
Build a strong, trusting relationship with your bank.
“If you lie to your bank manager you may win this time, but you will lose next time,” says Jules Newton, MD of Avocado Vision. She says it is important to build a relationship with your bank manager so that they trust what you tell them. “Banks want you to survive so you should keep them on the inside track of everything. This could buy you time when things are a little tight.”