Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Adam Theobald, founder at Ordermentum and Hey You.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
Ordermentum provides a platform for both suppliers and retailers in the food service industry to manage their orders and payments. For suppliers the task of receiving orders and payments can be both error prone and super expensive. For retailers, they get back in control of their ordering and payment. They do it when it suits them, and love being empowered. It’s a win win!
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
As a fast growing SAAS business, during the formative years to accelerate growth and fund development we relied on Investment Capital from a group of great investors. To date Ordermentum has raised over $10m in order to fund the idea. Initially this came from some fantastic angel investors, and more recently it has come from both corporate and financial Venture Capital (VC) sources.
In terms of growth, we rely on many sources. However, the number one lead source for our growth is our customers and referrals. Our retailers and suppliers have been great to us, with over a half of all enquiries coming from referrals.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
Our biggest challenge is prioritisation, we talk a lot about it in our business. We have enormous opportunity, and endless things we can spend our time on, but continually focusing our time on the big items that have the largest impact is the big challenge.
Finding the right combination of brainstorming and ideation, then the all-important task of prioritisation is tough… and we are improving. In my opinion, it is the real key to success as a disruptor.
How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?
We are lucky to operate in a fast paced and emerging part of the sector. Competition is largely the legacy of phone calls, sms, email and even fax being the main way people trade. That said, more and more people are emerging in the space and my big thing on this is to be aware of competitors but not distracted by them. Understand their USP, reassess yours and back your vision.
In a previous life I got distracted by pretty websites (much better than mine) saying they could to do the same thing. In reality they never could.
Of the competitors that do emerge, they typically offer solutions that work for only one side of our network. They sell (and charge) suppliers for a solution that doesn't work as well for the retailers. I think this is a really short-term strategy, like a restaurant building their own takeaway app; the restaurant feels great about it, but it’s completely inconvenient (and unused) by the customer.
Our differentiator here is we are a solution built half for retailers, half for the suppliers. By making the retailer happy, we make everyone happy.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
Todoist is an app I use to track my actions and it is great. In the hectic world of startups, you can't help but drop a few balls... this helps me make sure I don't drop the important ones.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
I still remember a good friend of mine, Brad Ross-Sampson, saying that the step into my first startup was an exciting one, but that I had to prepare myself for day by day "kicks to the stomach". My success would be determined by my ability to get up, brush myself off and to never by perturbed by the setbacks.
His advice was spot on. We see research time and time again about how important tenacity is for entrepreneurship.
The advice I give myself daily; "things are never as good or bad as they seem". This is a crucial disposition in our world. The highs and lows can be disorienting. This mandate helps me stay cool in the face of adversity, and clear in the delirium of success.
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