It’s that time again…

How have 6 months passed already?! Our third cohort graduated yesterday ready to face the next step for their businesses. But before they had a chance to get away we caught up with Mario Troullis of TrouDigital; Chris Frost from Fusetab, Jenny Josephs of The Bug Shack and Chukwuma Ogbobie at SafeinSoundApp to share with us some more details about their time here.

Where is your business at now compared to when you entered the Catalyst Centre?

Mario: We have seen an increase in sales of our core product. However, more importantly, by focusing on our value proposition constantly, we have been able to develop new products for our range and give the business a real differentiating factor and longevity moving forward.

Chris: My business now has a realistic plan and stands a good chance of making money. While the original idea hasn’t changed too much, the pitch is totally different and so is the revenue model.

Jenny: At the start of the Catalyst Centre I had a business idea, but didn’t know which direction to take. I have now thought a lot more about different markets and have settled on a product and made preparations to launch it. I think being at the Catalyst Centre has put pressure on me to make decisions and run with them!

Chukwuma: All I had at the start was a very basic safety app. Market research and being part of the Catalyst Centre has encouraged me to work on a strong value proposition for our target audience, which we now have.

How has the support you’ve received helped you achieve this?

Mario: Being part of the Catalyst Centre has helped us to get into the real depths of how to grow and differentiate by focusing on the product offering, instead of just being focussed on sales with no real clear direction.

Chris: Learning how to think about my business as ‘a business’ has been the most useful skill I’ve learnt at the Catalyst Centre. Being such a novice I think I had a lot to learn!

Jenny: I think the support I have had at the Catalyst Centre has encouraged me to continue with my business, even when complications meant that I had to change my business plan substantially. I think my experience at the Centre has made me more aware that I need to keep all aspects of my business plan up to date, even if it is regularly changing, to make sure that I am prepared.

Chukwuma: With the guidance and support I have received at the Catalyst Centre I am now looking to raise funding and get to market much sooner than I would have been otherwise!

Six months on, what’s the best single piece of advice you’ve gleaned from your time in the Catalyst Centre. 

Mario: The best bit of advice I would pass on to a startup business would be to keep focusing on your value proposition. This will enable you to carry on refining your business as well as to keep evolving to satisfy the demands of your target market.

Chris: The best bit of advice came from Phil: it is to question every assumption, but know that thought exercises can only go so far before you need to get out and gather some real insights from prospective clients.

Jenny: One of the best bits of advice I was given is to prepare well before going to conferences and events. It encouraged me to think about who I wanted to meet and what I wanted to achieve before going. That was really helpful in making me think about who I wanted to talk to at conferences and made it far more likely for me to achieve what I had wanted.

Chukwuma: The best bit of advice I would pass on from the seminars is to let the market decide the best features of your business.

Although we do miss each group of Catalyst Centre graduates once they’ve left us, it does however signal the start of an exciting time for us here as applications are open again!

If you have a small business already or even a great idea for one but need a little bit of guidance to really get it off the ground make sure you don’t miss the chance to be a part of the 2015 cohort: click here to apply.