Every Tuesday at 12.30pm you can watch an online business masterclass delivered by one of our Adviser members.
This week, energy entrepreneur Chris Bowden hosts: How going green can boost your business
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Company: Squeaky Clean Energy
Company founded: 2016
What is your favourite business book and why?
Steve Jobs' autobiography. It's beautifully written and I learned not only about Steve as a brilliant entrepreneur but also about the sacrifices you have to make and the resilience you need.
I also got a glimpse into the early years of Silicon Valley and how and why it became the powerhouse of technology and innovation.
Who is your business hero and why?
I'm afraid I'm a bit of a Steve Jobs fan so its definitely him. I think it’s his single mindedness and his ability to see the future and develop products that you didn’t even know you needed until he launched them.
His decision to bet the house on the Mac when Apple was already in financial trouble ultimately cost him his job but it was the right thing to do; he saw the change coming and was willing to rip up what they already had. Most big companies don't have the balls to do that and its why many of them ultimately die.
Describe your business in a tweet.
We're a P2P supplier of clean electricity; it costs less and you know where your energy is coming from. It's the way Google buys energy.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I think it's the challenge most start-ups face; how to create awareness amongst growing businesses.
Many of our customers are owner operators so they have very little time to focus on buying services like energy so our challenge is to get the message across that it doesn't cost more to switch to clean energy and away from the 'big six', or the 'dirty half dozen' as we call them, who supply polluting fossil fuel energy.
What has been your greatest success?
I think it was coming up with the name.
It’s not only a catchy name but it also works in a number of ways. Squeaky is the brand, Squeaky Clean is our behaviour as a company with all our stakeholders and Squeaky Clean Energy is the product we sell.
What piece of advice do you wish you had known when starting out?
Squeaky is my third start-up so I guess I’ve taken a lot of advice over the years. I also mentor other entrepreneurs so I’ve seen a lot of different situations.
That said one piece of advice I wish I'd had when starting my first company, Utilyx, was be patient and focus on getting scale with your core proposition.
Why do you consider long-term strategic advice important to business success?
Because it easy to get lost in the weeds and to lose sight of the objectives. From time to time it's important to step away from the business, or as I prefer to think about it work on not in the business.
You need set the overall direction of the business, get everyone bought into that direction and drive alignment on how to achieve the overall goals.
I realised a long time ago I don't have all the answers so over the years I've developed a professional network that can pretty much address any strategic issue or problem I face.
I've worked really hard to build this network and I think it gives me a massive competitive advantage.
If you had a superpower what would it be and why?
Short term time travel. I wouldn't want to travel in time for many years into the past or future as I think that might backfire.
That said it would be nice to go back a few days or weeks and undo some of the things I said that hurt someone or change a decision that was stupid.
To register for Chris' online masterclass, How going green can boost your business, go here or log in to your account and go to the events page to join in for free.
If you're an Adviser member and you'd like to host a masterclass, apply here.