Hello! What's your background, and what are you working on?
Hello! I actually come from a legal background. I worked as a corporate lawyer for a city law firm for 6 years specialising in energy and infrastructure. I advised energy companies on large infrastructure projects as well as on M&A deals. But feeling the need to escape the corporate life, I quit my job earlier this year to start a new company with my three brothers called pilcro. We are a family business!
Describe your business in less than 50 words
Pilcro is a asset management tool for marketers. We help companies maintain a consistent brand image across all their correspondences, deliverables and marketing channels. With our drag-and-drop access to your most frequently used assets, you will never waste time digging around in your drive again!
How did you get started with Pilcro?
Pilcro came out of market research, conducted for a previous idea. With the aim of transforming how people collaborate on content, we began making a document editor. However, driven by market research, we found that one of the major frustrations felt by startups and, in particular, marketing teams, was around sharing and accessing company assets. So we began by just drawing up some simple designs of pilcro and showing them around our tech incubator.
Once we felt that enough people were interested (statistically) and the idea was a runner, we began building the product. Although we didn’t realise it at the time, our product was scratching a major itch. When starting out, our assets, including those short paragraphs that describe your business, were changing regularly. We found keeping your whole team up to date with the latest brand image and message was extremely difficult.
What did you do to attract users and grow your business?
Our user base started with those we knew (you have to start somewhere!) and we are still trying to grow. When you are just starting out, it can be very difficult to get above the noise, particularly on social media. Unfortunately, there really are no real shortcuts. It is just a lot of hard work, a lot of time on each marketing channel, and a lot of creating good content.
However, the most important thing is to measure which marketing channel is working for you. There is no point spending an hour a day on instagram if it isn’t leading to any sales. We found that, especially early on, the face-to-face interactions are the ones that really count.
Go to events, speak at them if you can, meet people and leverage the network that you already have. Build up your social media presence organically and start right now. It takes time but will be worth in when you have a loyal following who really value your content. Also, try to build a market and some hype before you release your product. Having a list of people who have signed up before you launch who you can email on launch day is invaluable.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
Pilcro is still in the beta phase. So we will have an initial launch on 31 January 2018 and then we look to grow from there. We want to be the tool that startups and SME’s turn to as they scale for easy access to their key brand assets.
Tell us about the challenges you have faced and what you have done to overcome this.
For me, the biggest challenge was stepping outside from under the protective blanket of a corporate job. I have had to learn my way around a whole new industry, new skills, new people and loads of new jargon! I have found that the best way to overcome challenges was to throw myself into it and try to learn as much as possible. There is so much that can be learnt from research and methodical testing. If it doesn’t work, don’t scale it. Try the next thing.
What's the one tool or resource you've found helpful?
You mean apart from pilcro?! We use Slack everyday. It is so useful for team communication and speedy messaging, particularly if you are working in different places.
What's your advice for other women who are just starting out?
Speak to as many people as possible. You will be amazed at how many people will give time to help you out and advise you. Find helpful networks to join – they can be so supportive and widen your horizons. In this respect, it is great to be a female founder or co-founder – there are lots more groups/networks set up specifically to support women.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I am terrible in the morning. I have always been a night owl and find it really hard to get up early. My latest investment is a sunlight alarm clock to help me fight through the darkness of winter!
What's your morning routine
Alarm, Snooze, Alarm, Snooze, Alarm, Snooze…. wake up, down lots of water, bit of exercise (if I have woken up early enough), breakfast at home and off to the office.
My favourite quote is
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” JK Rowling
Describe yourself in 3 words
Get stuff done!
Where can we go to learn more?
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