1. Look bigger than you are
“Without mentioning that I was alone in a garage, I told them I was an Internet security firm in South Africa.”
Justin Stanford was in his early 20s, working alone out of his garage and hacking into client websites to find their security flaws, when he came across ESET, at the time a small Slovak Internet security software developer.
“I knew there was huge potential, and so I contacted them. Without mentioning that I was alone in a garage, I told them I was an Internet security firm in South Africa, and that I was really impressed with their tech. With some tweaks, I thought it could be a great fit for our market.
“They agreed to give Stanford sole distributor rights in southern Africa, but he still needed to look bigger and more serious to clients. He had one employee, an intern, Carey van Vlaanderen, and they shared a desk and a phone line.
“Because we did most things online, no one knew how young I was. When we got a call, we would put the person on hold, and put them through to the ‘department’ they wanted, which was really just me handing the phone to Carey.”
Read more: Justin Stanford: 4Di Group’s Risk-taking, Convention-bucking Lunatic