Chapter 9: Bye bye comfort zone!


Demos Demetriou

Chapter 9: Bye bye comfort zone!

Building a start-up is one thing. It takes unwavering dedication, a bit of luck and many other factors. I am lucky because of how this all started and that our team are totally and utterly dedicated to our vision. So, I guess I have the ingredients, right?

Wrong! There are many other things too but there is one thing that you really need to do, and I mentioned it in Chapter 3. You need to tell people about your start-up. You need to shout from the rooftops otherwise nobody will find you. I remember when I first started out in business more than 20 years ago, getting exposure was different then. You advertised and went to networking events. There was no such thing as social media, even the Internet was only just starting! Yes, for all of us who can remember those days, Google wasn’t even on the map. To some kids this will be utter disbelief.

The First Time

I remember one particular event many years ago. We had a stand at a conference promoting our new digital business cards. Some of you may remember them. They were a business card size CD (do CD’s even exist anymore?). You placed the digital business card in your PC which launched into an interactive presentation about your business. It was a popular alternative to a regular business card but was eventually replaced by websites. Anyway, as part of the conference we were exhibiting at, a businessman at the time came past and said to me “I have walked past your stand twice and I was actually looking for your company”. He went on to say, “You have to stop everyone in their tracks and tell them about your business because it is a great idea.” At first it felt really uncomfortable, almost bordering on harassment for the visitors we literally stopped in their tracks as they walked past our stand, but as a result we collected a ton of business cards and sparked a lot of interest.

Had that gentleman not said that to me at the time we probably would have spent two days in the shadows. We must have done something right because I recently came across an old picture on the day with the local mayor and my colleague at the time Tom Bandy. It must have been a while ago because I had hair then!

So, with all the new ways on social media to reach out to people this takes a different approach. As many of you know I will shortly start posting videos about our journey and also talking a bit more about some of the features of the App. This has been a real challenge, something I am not used to and yes, I am not afraid to say I am out of my comfort zone. This hasn’t and would never stop me from trying though.

It is one thing to talk about your business to a couple of people, but it is a completely different thing to write blogs just like this and record videos too. In a recent meeting with my team we were discussing about me talking at events and to start doing some interviews with some podcasts. The comment from Nargis was ‘Bye, bye comfort zone’. She couldn’t have said it better.

It’s true, I am well out of my comfort zone but if you want to achieve anything in life you have to do that. You have to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone as much as you can. I recently read a post from someone who was talking about going back to School after 10 years. As part of their day at School they had to write about a subject and to their surprise, they then had to deliver their findings in a speech to the class. Long story short, she was so nervous about it that it was a terrible speech. She has since improved her speaking skills and she gave some tips on how to deliver these types of speeches. No doubt when it is my time, I will also use some of these tips.

What’s New

Unfortunately, we are still no further with our investment. It seems so many investors in the UK are a little pre-occupied with something called ‘Brexit’, have you ever heard of it? It is amazing how much disruption Brexit has caused for big businesses and even small start-ups like us. That still doesn’t stop us approaching investors, but it is just taking a little longer than we initially expected. It’s also understandable given the current climate and the number of start-ups that investors can choose from now.

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t publish a video for investors too. No way. I am in video mode at the moment and already working on a small recording to try and attract them to the Marlin App. As I have said before these will not be Oscar worthy titles, but they will be authentic.

OK, so slightly off topic but it is important because it is about my team. Steph is climbing to Everest base camp at the end of this month. We are very proud to have her part of our team, I mean come on, having a team member that can say she has climbed Everest… that is just awesome! Only one small issue, she just has to get there. Last week Jet Airways kindly cancelled her tickets to Nepal because they are in trouble and finding a replacement ticket wasn’t easy. Anyway, Nargis and I wish her the very best of luck with the climb and look forward to seeing the pictures and videos when she returns. I said off topic at the beginning of this paragraph but is it really? Climbing Everest has to be a bit out of your comfort zone, right? 🤔 Okay, maybe just a bit!

Finishing Up

I am still very thankful for all of the comments I receive about these blogs and I would be interested to hear from anyone who wants to discuss a particular business topic. As always if you are in the start-up world working 24/7 trying to build a business why not get in touch. Until next time…