“From Struggles to Success” Ask Ask Ask!
The long path of becoming a successful entrepreneur is full of different challenges.Lack of information and help may stop many great ideas to develop into great businesses.In this article we will introduce you to Anders Günzel-Jensen from Denmark; he is a co-founder of Klar Parat Firma (www.KlarParatFirma.dk).
His story and his business are all about helping other entrepreneurs. His company offers education for people who aspire to become entrepreneurs and start up a company; they also want to assist others around the world who wishes to learn from their model. They call this pay-forward-franchise.
1. What is your idea/ business about?
The idea to Klar Parat Firma (translation: “Ready-steady-company”, ed.) was born out of a problem I had when I started as an entrepreneur. I could go to a bunch of free seminars, but the only holistic programs are for people who qualify for very advanced accelerators, typically something that includes investment and people who generally speaking have been in the entrepreneur process for a while.
But most of the entrepreneurs are really more like everyday people. They open an independent consultancy, a bookkeeper or accountancy service, do process consultancy advisory, become graphic design freelancer or start a boutique like a butchery. In Denmark the average age of entrepreneurs is 38-39 and 50 % are men, 50% are women.
All those people (like myself) need to get acquainted with the practicalities of starting up: the admin, the sales tricks and the crucial network.
Therefore, me and my team have set up a business that offers 8 week evening courses, one evening a week, after normal working hours to accommodate for the people who dream whilst working. We have managed to set the course price at about 25 % of the normal price for similar courses to enable everyday people to attend.
2. Tell me about yourself and your team?
I am a PhD drop-out and I’ve been doing management control research at Copenhagen Business School, with the regional healthcare organization in Aarhus. I had organisations in the regional healthcare as case study objects in a project where we gave direct feedback to the Ministry of Finance of Denmark. But at some point I just had to acknowledge that the progress in the public sector is measured in lifespans and my temperament is more like measured in hours.
I like to say I had an entrepreneur career before I “got out of the closet” as an independent entrepreneur. I started my first company when I was student, selling access to students for the recruitment departments in large organisations, and helping a startups to with sells and setting up shop. But I have also led NGO´s of up to 450 people and I have been on boards of directors with responsibility to develop the organizations of entities up to 5000 people. I headed departmental magazines, was on the board of my department and helped the dean in committes merging department and when I was a student; I have done fund-raising projects in Indonesia and taught in rural Zimbabwe.
My partner Karen Falkenberg is a former network and conference consultant for https://trifork.com/ and a network consultant for the IT research hub in Aarhus, called the Alexandra institute. She set up and led a network of female developers, which is pure numbers is a minority in Denmark. This is a brilliant background for us, as she knows the ins and outs of the IT works. In addition to this she has made conferences for Trifolk in places as far from Denmark as Australia, which has gain her a ton of quality experience in working without a pre-established network. She has also done a lot of voluntary work in the political scene, such as helping to campaign and to run the election process.
I can say that the fact that we have so different networks and that we are of different genders allow us to communicate and connect a lot broader, better and with more people than we would ever be able to on our own.
3. What are the main struggles that you have experienced?
We started Klar Parat Firma as a side business and at the beginning we were 3 people. Soon after we started we realized that it’s tough to meet the expectations, while working on other stuff. In the end we had to pull our third partner aside and tell him to either work more, or withdraw. He chose to withdraw in order to be able to focus on his own stuff. This was tough, because he is a really good guy and has super ideas. But is was the best for him and also for KlarParatFirma to do.
4. How did you solve your problems?
I ask people for advice and how they have handled similar situations. For instance:
“How do you do sales? What would you do if you had to have a tough conversation with a partner? How do you approach focused business networking? How do you get into the media“
I spend a lot of time asking and networking. I sometimes think my greatest challenge and strength is to think that I don’t know anything, and therefore have to ask. I always get brilliant answers and get to know good people but I do know some things !
5. If you had a chance what would you do differently?
I would have made more of an effort to understand the need for a clear purchase funnel on my website (they say that it needs to take maximum 3 clicks to buy. That’s tough, I tell you. At least for me it is). For that reason at the moment I am still improving the process. If I had read more business literature and asked more people, then I would have saved days and days of extra work. But I am on that now and am happy that I got good people in my network with web shops who can explain to me what to do!
6. What was the best advice you got and what was the worst?
- Best advice: Find inspiration in an advisory boardand create value.
- Worst advice: Do not take outside advice. You know what is best.
7. What will be your advice to the other entrepreneurs?
“Create advisory board. They are free and they will help increasing your network”
Another interesting thing about Klar Parat is that they haven’t spent any money on marketing. If you want to learn more about the company you are more than welcome to contact them at: hej@KlarParatFirma.dk
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July 22, 2016