As part of our interview series, we’ve been reaching out to successful entrepreneurs around New Zealand to ask them about their top tips and insights for budding entrepreneurs.
This week, we interviewed Michael Speight of glimp – a New Zealand success story and recent client of ours.
Read on to learn about the struggles he faced and lessons he learned while building a business from the ground up.
Michael Speight is the co-founder of glimp, New Zealand’s first one-click-switch broadband comparison website. He helped create glimp with the goal of helping Kiwis compare, switch and save money. glimp also allows New Zealanders to compare power companies, insurance providers, mortgages, loans and credit cards – all at no cost to them.
What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur?
Take your time and be patient; this game is a marathon and not a sprint like most people think.
Live your truth and not somebody else’s.
Age is no barrier; youngsters have so much time ahead of them to learn the skills they need and the oldies have an immense amount of life experience to leverage.
Double down on your strengths and don’t worry about your weaknesses.
Don’t be scared of asking questions if you do not know the answer.
Entrepreneurs often have to deal with setbacks or failures. How do you cope with this?
Take time to assess the problem at hand. Sometimes you may actually find the new solution is better than the old way of doing things!
Don’t be romantic about ideals – take your ego out of the decision-making process and make an objective call that is in the best interests of the business.
What are the top 3 challenges you’ve faced as a business owner, and how are you overcoming them?
Having $10 a day marketing budget – This has been a blessing in disguise now that I look back. Spending those dollars immensely carefully taught us a very valuable lesson. Convention tells you to follow the crowd and do what they do, but we didn’t have the luxury to do that. We found out just how overpriced in terms of ROI certain marketing channels were, and also found some that were massively underpriced. Taking the time to carefully navigate this landscape has given us a roadmap of where we spend our marketing dollars as we scale.
Threat of competition – Initially we saw this as a bad thing and spent time worrying about them instead of concentrating on ourselves. We have flipped our thinking on this now and we see competition as a good thing. It keeps us on our toes and encourages us to consistently improve what we do whilst not getting complacent. We have probably learned more and are further ahead of where we would have been if we had no competition.
Lack of experience in lead generation – We had zero experience in online lead generation but this did not dissuade us from not giving our idea a crack. We were time rich but cash poor so we learned the ropes as fast as we could by gaining knowledge from people, books, assumptions, running A/B tests, etc.
What’s the best way for an aspiring entrepreneur to raise capital?
Firstly ask yourself, is the capital absolutely necessary? The reason I ask this question first is that people are often too quick to think money is the answer to their problem when in fact it could cause them more headaches than they initially had. Are you sure you can’t be patient and self-fund the next step? Or think outside the box and solve the problem another way?
If your answer is no to those questions then my advice on raising capital would be:
Look for people/someone who have/has a track record in what you are trying to achieve. They will understand what you are trying to build and no doubt bring huge value.
Don’t be scared – hit them up on social channels, find out if anyone in your network knows them or someone close to them to try and get a warm intro.
Try and find someone who brings more value than just the money they put on the table.
Ask yourself: Can they help you accelerate your company to where you want it to be? Are they on the same page as you in terms of where the company is going and of your exit plan?
Most of all, trust your gut feeling on the person or investment partners. Be patient and choose the right path for you.
Do you think there’s a recipe for success in business, and if so, what is it?
Hard work, humility and thirst for knowledge.
Which industries do you think are the most ripe for disruption?
Everything! There are so many inefficient ways we do things at present. If an idea can save people time, money or entertain them then you are on to a winner.
Which entrepreneur, or entrepreneurs, do you admire the most?
Phil Knight – Nike. Unbelievable story (read his book, Shoe Dog, you will love it). The persistence this guy had when the chips were down is incredible.
Steven Bartlett – Social Chain. Watch his TEDx talk here. His personal story is gripping and so is his belief in his ideas/himself.
What sets a good business idea apart from a bad business idea?
If someone will buy it or pay to use it and you can make a profit, then it’s good to go. It’s that simple.
What do you think are the top 3 qualities of a good leader?
Belief in the vision
How do you attract and retain talent?
Hire the right people when they become available, even if you don’t need them at the time.
Find out their drives/goals and provide help them to achieve them. People are not just driven by money. Happy staff = happy customers.
Rachel is a Filipino Kiwi with a passion for the arts. Having graduated with an Arts Degree in English from UoA, she found writing work at PureSEO as a Junior Copywriter and quickly moved on to the role of Editor. In her spare time, she reads Austen and teaches dance classes in the weekend.