Ben Findlay, Machine Compare:

A Journey of Resilience, Opportunity, Investment and Tragedy

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“A failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” 

Key Takeaways

  • If you can find a market opportunity, and you can demonstrate it straight away, that there’s definitely value in that market opportunity, then it’s easier for an investor to invest.
  • We wanted a value investor. So we wanted somebody that was also going to give us help because we realised that we needed a little bit of help.
  • Regardless of whether that value or just a capital investor, they don’t want to lose their money. And you also have to go into an investment meeting, understanding that if you leave with investment, it will no longer be your business.
  • You have to give away a huge proportion of your business. And you have to leave your ego at the door. You have to treat your business like your baby.
  • You can’t judge somebody by their success because you don’t know what they’ve been through.
  • If you pick somebody that’s only interested in money, and they don’t understand your business, when you hit those tough times, it’s going to be horrific for you.
  • If you have an investor who’s understanding and passionate, as passionate as you are about your business and others understand that concept, then that’s really the key.
  • Pick your investors wisely. Because they’ll own you and your business. And unless you’re comfortable with that, and you think that they’re not the right person, then that is a nightmare.
  • So we’re going to have a ready supply of parts that will be cheaper and available, and also to be able to source it locally. That’s the plan. So why would you buy from us- because it will be cheaper, quicker to get delivered?  That’s basically it, price, and convenience.
  • You have to have your focus, you have to have your customer in mind. Everything you do, you have to think about how is that going to benefit somebody? Like who am I trying to do this for? How is that gonna benefit them? And are they ready for this idea?
  • A lot of people try to funnel the marketing message to each stage of the market. But you’ve got some people that have a problem, but they have no idea that they have a problem. So if they’ve got no idea they’ve got a problem, you’ve got to first make them aware that they’ve got a problem and then tell them about the solution and then why that solution will help them.
  • All of our ideas and all of our applications are disruptive, so we deal with disruptive technology, technology by its nature is disruptive, it changes the status quo.
  • You need to bring people along for the journey. So you’ve got to educate them.
  • Once you’ve got an idea to pick up the phone and start to speak to people like it’s amazing. People like to have a chat, they’d like to have a conversation.
  • Sales are just helping people. And if you’re not helping people, you shouldn’t be doing it.
  • Selling is really straightforward. You shouldn’t be afraid of picking up a phone. Also don’t ever take anything personally.
  • So if you’re in a bad mood, don’t expect other people to be in a good mood because it will rub off on them. You have to be in a good mood and you have to be positive and you have to try and be amenable because you’re trying to help somebody
  • Understand who you’re trying to market to.
  • The more people you speak to, the better your profiling will be. And you can also hone your message to them
  • I think people get a bit too complicated about the message. So try and talk to somebody that hasn’t got a clue about what you do, and break it down really easily
  • Social media is quite important. And it’s quite important to understand who’s on which platform and what are the benefits of your product. So you’ve got different age demographics. Obviously, LinkedIn is amazing for B2B, a certain age demographic is on Facebook, and they’ll never leave Facebook, a certain demographic is on Instagram. So they’re on but then you also think about how to get your message out there because it’s a different strategy
  • Getting investment is not right for everybody. Some people are good at just being a single business owner. Some people should never run a business.
  • You should never laugh at anybody that’s had a business and failed. Because most successful people have failed, I failed. I’ve failed twice but that’s okay because you learn from it. But the worst is if you have a great idea and you did nothing with it.
  • You need to trust your staff. Your staff is going to be your best salespeople, your staff is going to be your best advocates. And if you want to be their advocate, you want to help them showcase their brilliance, because that’s how you’re going to elevate your brand. That’s how you can sell more. That’s how you can elevate your company and don’t micromanage.
  • If you’re the person who’s trying to control everything, just ask, are you just focused on money? If you’re focused on money, you’ll never get through it. Got it in my experience, you never really get it, you’ll never really get there, you’ll never be satisfied.
  • Approach everything from being knowingly incompetent. And that’s a starting point. I would advise anybody trying to do an idea to approach it from a position of being knowingly incompetent, and then try and seek competent people, or try and become competent in the discipline that you’re trying to apply.

Ben’s thoughts about approaching Early Adaptors:

  • Early adopters are quite easy to spot because early adopters will have everything first.
  • You have to profile them and then they’ll tell everybody how great you are
  • Once you get them on board and as long as they see the benefits they will be your biggest champion
  • Work with them to develop your product: you can use them because, in return, if your product helps them promote their product, or helps benefit them, they should have no problem in doing that.
  • They are more receptive and they will understand your journey

Mentioned Links and References:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/machinecompare.com/

Machine Compare: https://www.machinecompare.com/

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About Ben Findlay:

36-year-old entrepreneur Ben Findlay is the CEO and Co-founder of Machine Compare, the UK’s leading marketplace for industrial machinery and spare parts. After starting the business in his back bedroom with brother Eric Findlay in 2016, Ben Findlay has devoted his time to scaling the business, successfully seeking investment to put Machine Compare on track to completely revolutionise the way buying and selling take place. Never one to take no for an answer, Ben Findlay has made waves not only through the business but through his perseverance to help people. Testament in how Ben Findlay risked arrest to buy cannabis to make painkilling oil to help his terminally ill brother, in an attempt to highlight the stupidity and cruelty of drug prohibition.

Machine Compare Overview:

Online trading platform Machine Compare entered the market in 2016 with a simple mission. To change how the world trades industrial machinery, reducing failed machinery deals by pairing buyers and sellers across multiple sectors within a cloud-based environment.
With reverse IP tracking running throughout the platform, sellers are sent daily reports of interested prospects, giving them the tools and know-how to close deals more effectively, often shortening the sales cycle for high-end purchases from 12 months to eight weeks. Since founding the business Co-founders Eric and Ben Findlay’s vision has remained crystal clear. To make the buying process easier and more accessible for end-to-end users by informing choice and inspiring action. Three years later and it’s fair to say the business has successfully challenged the status quo, testament in how Machine Compare has penetrated the European and US market, with plans now to tackle the Asian market. This month, Ben Findlay’s Machine Compare has recognised with a North West Most Exciting Company award by Insider Media thanks to the innovation and disruptive plans to shake up the market later this year.

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