- Players: Lynette Hundermark and George Reed
- Company: Useful and Beautiful
- EST: 2014
- Contact: +27 (0)76 787 3310, email@example.com
- Visit: usefulandbeautiful.co.za
Do you want to play the volumes game or the quality game? For mobile guru Lynette Hundermark that was one of the most important decisions she made when she and business partner George Reed founded mobile solutions company Useful and Beautiful.
“There are so many generalists in the tech space, we decided to go the specialist route,” says Hundermark.
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“I am only confident selling what I believe in, and after 17 years in the industry, with six in mobile, bespoke mobile solutions is what we specialise in.”
As the former head of product strategy at digital agency Prezence Digital, Hundermark stresses that mobile is practical, not theoretical.
“There are functional but unattractive apps and mobi sites that have been hacked together by developers and there are those created by agencies which are great looking but lack functionality. Our mantra is to create mobile solutions that are both useful and beautiful.”
A stand against mediocrity
“When people come to us for a mobile solution, we make sure that they want to develop a product for their target audience, and not just tick the box called ‘mobile’.”
Most companies approach Hundermark saying, “we want an app,” and provide a ten-line brief.
“The selection process comes in when I determine whether or not the client is prepared to spend time unpacking their specific needs. That’s when I know who is serious and who is ‘dip sticking’. App development can cost anywhere between R200 000 and R2 million, so you have to engage with people who are committed.
“I work with clients to understand what their business and user objectives are, because apps are ultimately in the hands of the consumer. Few clients have a comprehensive business strategy, so that is our real value-add. Only once we understand the business strategy do we work on a product strategy. The product strategy is essential, because it allows a business to zero in on specific target audiences. It’s a process that enables us to define key product and user or consumer attributes.”
With Hundermark bringing strategic expertise to the business and her partner Reed offering creative capability, they have chosen to keep the business small because clients pay for specialist know-how.
Her aim is to have between five and ten big clients, and to scale up or down as required by accessing expert resources in her network.
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Hundermark says she will not undercut to keep clients.
“I respect that some clients will find a cheaper option, but you can’t maintain an A-class team by dropping your prices. I’ve seen it happen at agencies, and it’s demoralising for everyone. If your business is not profitable, it’s not worth running.”
Why product strategy matters
Products create revenue. That’s why product strategy must be carefully crafted and aligned with the overarching business strategy.
“Product strategy has a huge impact on what you get at the end of the development process,” says Hundermark.
“When someone comes up with an idea for an app, yes, we can jump in and start developing. We can create a usable minimum viable product. But where to from there? Product strategy is like building a house — you would not do that without a plan. It’s the only way to determine how to get the functionality that the business and that its customers will demand.”
There’s another key benefit to helping clients develop a product roadmap.
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“It enables you to offer a premier service. Because we are so closely involved in the strategy, we end up ‘owning’ the product, even though we don’t really. That makes a massive difference because we share vested interest with the client and are able to advise on updates and changes that may impact their business, making it easier to remain a trusted advisor and retain that client’s business in the long term.”
#Wealthiest List: 8 Self-Made Millionaires On How They Built Their Wealth
These inspirational self-made millionaires built businesses with nothing less than hard work and sheer determination.
1. Nick D’Aloisio Wrote a Million Dollar App At Age 15
At the age of 15, Nick D’Aloisio wrote an app while sitting in his parent’s bedroom in the UK. At the age of 17, D’Aloisio sold his app Summly – a mobile news summarisation app to Yahoo for a staggering USD 30 million.
As one of the youngest millionaires, D’Aloisio is also the world’s youngest entrepreneur to be backed by venture capitalists – having secured seed funding from Sir Li Ka-Shing, Hong Kong’s billionaire, as well as raising USD 1.23 million from celebrity investors, including Yoko Ono and Ashton Kutcher.
“The number one thing I did that I think was wise was to get, through some of my advisers, was a Chairman; basically someone who was a very experienced business person, an industry veteran — Bart Swanson, who had been at Amazon and then Badoo. Then, myself and Bart really started finding people and growing the team.”
7 Cannabis Industry Millionaires Making It Big In The Marijuana Business
These entrepreneurs have capitalised on a new market set to continue to grow rapidly as more countries legalise marijuana across the world.
1. Brendan Kennedy
- Company: Tilray
- Website: https://www.tilray.com/
Brendan Kennedy worked on job sites as a carpenter to pay his way through university, with his eyes set firmly on becoming an architect, until the allure of Silicon Valley changed the course of his direction. While working at technology start-ups Kennedy began thinking about the possibilities that medical marijuana provided.
“I was really sceptical of medical cannabis,” he says. “It took a year of having conversations with patients and physicians and hearing the same story, repackaged but essentially the same, over and over and over again, where my scepticism eroded and I became a believer.”
In 2013, Kennedy and his partners applied for a licence from Health Canada and launched Lafitte Ventures, which was later renamed Tilray. Today, the company is a global leader in medical cannabis research, cultivation, processing and distribution.
Scaleup Learnings From Our Top Clients – What The Most Successful Entrepreneurs Do Right
So, how do our successful clients move through these constraints to scaling up? We see four key drivers of success, and they are: people, strategy, flawless execution and finance.
You’re out of your start-up boots, staff is increasing, your client base is growing, revenue is up and you’ve proven your case to the market. Now it’s time to scale up. The challenges of this vital growth phase are different and it’s a time that demands different mindsets and different actions. In a world littered with small business failures, it helps to be well-prepared for scaling up using a proven methodology. At Outsourced CFO, we get an inside look at the success factors of our clients who are mastering the transition.
On the one hand, scaling up is a really exciting phase; this is what moves you into real job creation and making an impactful contribution to economic growth. On the other hand, it is really hard to scale up successfully. We see three major constraints that limit companies’ transition from start-up to scale-up:
The business has to have the leadership that can take it to the next level. When you start scaling up, especially rapidly, the founders can no longer do everything themselves. The team must grow and include new leadership talent that can take charge and execute so that the founders are working on the business instead of in the business.
The processes, procedures, networks, systems and workflows of the business all need to be scalable. This is imperative when it comes to your infrastructure for the financial management of your business. You’re only ready for growth when your infrastructure can seamlessly keep pace.
Scaling up demands more innovative marketing and storytelling so that you can more easily connect and engage with the new employees, clients, network partners, investors and mentors that need to come along with you on your scale-up journey.
Businesses that build a market conversation and a compelling brand narrative during their start-up phase are better positioned to have this kind of market access when they need to scale up.
It is critical to have the right people on your team. Our successful entrepreneurs have what it takes to attract, inspire and retain top talent. A strong team of smart, ambitious and purpose-driven people who love the company and want to see it succeed contribute greatly to a world class company culture. They are adept at communicating a compelling vision and establishing core values that people can take on. These entrepreneurs are tuned into the aspirations of their people and focus on developing leaders in their teams who can in turn develop more leaders.
It is planning that ensures that the right things are happening at the right times. At successful scale-ups strategies and action plans are devised to ensure that the most important thing always remains the most important thing.
Strategy includes input from all team members and setting of good priorities for the short, medium and long term. Goals are clear and everyone always knows what they are working towards. The needle is continuously moved because 90-day action plans are implemented each quarter to achieve targets and goals that are over and above people doing their daily jobs.
Top entrepreneurs are not just focused on what operations need to achieve, but how the business operates. They have the right procedures, processes and tools in place so that everyone can deliver along the line on the company’s brand promise. Frequent, quick successive meetings ensure the rapid flow of effective communication. Problems are solved without drama. There is no chaos in the office environment. Everyone is empowered to execute flawlessly to an array of consistently happy clients.
Everyone knows that growth burns cash. A rapidly scaling business faces the challenge of needing a scalable financial infrastructure to keep the company healthy. Our successful entrepreneurs pay close attention to finance as the heartbeat of the business, ensuring that everything else functions. They look at the tech they are using for financial management and for the ways that their financial systems can be automated so that they can be brought rapidly to scale. The capital to grow is another vital finance issue.
The best way to finance a business is through paying clients on the shortest possible cash flow cycle. However, when you are scaling up and making heavier investments in the resources you need for growth, it is likely that you will need a workable plan for raising capital. Our scale-up clients know the value of accessing innovative financial management that provides high level services to drive their business growth.
Navigating the scale-up journey of a growing private company is one of the hardest but most rewarding of careers to pursue. Having people in your corner who have been through this journey before helps take a lot of pain out of the process. No growth journey looks the same, but there are tried and tested methods that will – if applied diligently – lead to definite success. Happy scaling!
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