We're delighted to present a guest blog post from Youth Marketing Strategy event partner Gojimo. In this piece we hear from George Burgess, founder and CEO. In 2015 George was awarded GB Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Futurebook Digital Innovator of the Year, and named as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 for consumer tech. Here he looks back on Gojimo's 2015, and forwards to 2016 and beyond:
As years go, 2015 wasn’t a bad one. We released a major redesign of our free revision app Gojimo; persuaded 1 in 5 GCSE students to use the app in the run up to their exams and secured a further $1.2m funding. All in all, a year to be proud of.
So what lessons have we learned on the way?
Youthful enthusiasm goes further than a big budget
Gojimo is a startup. We are a team of 10 now, but we were 6 at the start of the year. We don’t have deep pockets or big budgets. But we do have bags of enthusiasm and a willingness to attempt the impossible. Knock on the doors of the big brands and ask them to partner up. Approach major VCs and ask for investment. Go direct to bloggers and persuade them to endorse us. It’s been said before but it is a universal truth – hard work, persistence and a refusal to take no for an answer really do pay off.
Be prepared to fail. A lot.
False starts. Campaigns that flop. Product ideas that just don’t work. Wasted time and energy – right? Wrong. We embrace failure and move on. We’ve tried a host of ideas this year – some worked, like our Facebook advertising that has reduced our CPA to pennies: some didn’t, like our foray into student ambassadors. So what – next!
Be bold, be brave
Sometimes it can be terrifying as a business owner, when you look at the numbers and work out the run time. Should we be cautious, or should we throw everything at it and if we run out of cash then at least we know we tried? Guess which approach we favour. It doesn’t make for a comfortable ride but then if we wanted a safe job we wouldn’t be working at a tech start up.
Make disruption your mantra. Gojimo was born out of the desire to do things differently. I wanted to find a better way to revise for my A Levels, and when I couldn’t find an app to help me, I set about creating one. But it’s not enough to innovate once. You need to do it again, and again, and again. In all areas of your business. We are currently preparing to launch our next innovation – an instant support app for maths and science – and we continue to innovate with our marketing in order to stay ahead.
This year we also moved into our new office. It’s orange and comes complete with a dart board, sofas, beer keg and a bunk bed. Having assembled a fantastic team, we needed a similarly awesome environment in order to incubate our great ideas. We think we’ve achieved this but only time will tell. Here’s to 2016. - George.