Don’t be satisfied with a customer’s half-hearted response. Ask subquestions, needle them until you get a clear picture of what they want!

Day 4. April 2018

SK companies that received Slovene Enterprise Fund’s SK75 investment last autumn have now completed a six-day comprehensive Bootcamp educational programme for global growth. The purpose of the programme is for the core team to obtain key entrepreneurship knowledge in order to set firm foundations that will allow the company to achieve subsequent development stages and global breakthrough. The content of the programme was tailored by Initiative Start:up Slovenia on the basis of the experience and suggestions by previous generations of participants, who highlighted which content had been most useful to them. We engaged top Slovenian experts from the fields of all business functions and focused mostly on practical work and fast implementation into business operations.

The programme included company analysis by mentors who made an overview of key challenges, identified weak points in the business operations and gave recommendations for improvements, introductory lectures dedicated to a broader view of processes and establishing metrics-based company operations, core lectures and 1:1 consultations in the key fields of startup business operations (product management, online marketing, sales and global growth, preparing the company for growth and sales), individual 30-minute consultations for startups by experts from individual fields (staff management, legal consulting, business finance …), and to top it all off, a final feedback day, where the mentors helped hone an action plan for 2018 and gave advice on how not to only make the set goals come true, but also exceed them. Within the programme, companies additionally chose a mentor from Slovene Enterprise Fund’s list of mentors for 5 hours of in-depth work.
Setting firm company foundations with the best startup experts
In the light of acquiring varied entrepreneurship knowledge for setting firm company foundations and creating a goal-oriented action plan, Initiative Start:up Slovenia collaborated with the most active stakeholders of the Slovenian ecosystem to design a tailored intense bootcamp programme for startups. In six days of intense work, experienced experts covered all key business functions in early stages of startup business operations:

  • Branko Drobnak – forest and trees, a one-year plan with a timeline, goals and metrics
  • Tilen Travnik and Sašo Jakljevič – product management
  • Andraž Štalec and Matej Bajželj – sales and online marketing
  • Matt Mayfield and Primož Hvala – entering foreign markets
  • Alenka Gorenčič, the fiscal aspect of expanding abroad
  • Anja Primožič, the legal aspect of expanding abroad
  • Nina Dremelj, preparing the company for investor entrance
  • Jakob Gajšek, network of European and global VC investors
  • Rok Stritar, establishing key processes
  • Matjaž Petrič, business finance
  • Nika Sebič Koračin, team formation and management
  • Nejc Setnikar, most frequent legal questions
  • Matjaž Slak, ICO as a form of financing
  • Urška Jež, Aleš Pustovrh, Bernard Grum – business analysis and feedback with improvements

Tip #1: delegating is the key to company growth

The most frequent problems regarding processes originate from the fact that once the company starts growing, the “entrepreneurial way” is slowly coming to an end. It is necessary to go from everyone knowing everything to a more professional form where you need to learn how to delegate. And here, the problems stem from the entrepreneurs themselves, because they think that the more they work, the better it is for the company. In truth, it is the exact opposite, says Rok Stritar, Kibuba.
Before the module of 30-minute consultations by experienced experts from all key areas of business operations, companies prepared questions so that the experts could give them concrete answers with value added.

Tip #2: preparing for various fiscal legalities of foreign markets is a necessity

Individual answers to concrete questions related to the legal and fiscal aspect of expanding abroad were prepared by Anja Primožič and Alenka Gorenčič from Deloitte consulting. Companies were interested in various fields such as registration of the company, branches abroad, intellectual property transfer, fiscal load of selling to various European countries, fiscal differences in selling B2B and B2C, taxation when selling outside the EU etc.

Alenka Gorenčič consulted company Printee on the legalities of billing VAT on foreign markets, because they will soon start expanding to the Hungarian and German markets.

“The US markets are completely unknown to us and when we talk about the US market we usually see a single country in front of us, but it is in fact a federation of states. There, we have to know which state we are selling to, what the local legalities are, what the local taxation systems are. Usually, every state has its own taxation system and regulations. It is easiest for a company to find a local partner who warns us about the specifications and local legislation, or turn to global consultant companies, such as Deloitte, which can use its international network of experts to cover all the necessary knowledge on a specific market,” said Alenka Gorenčič.

Tip #3: conquering a foreign market is significantly different from entering a domestic one

Nina Dremelj, CEO of AlpVent, company for investing into startups, says that when entering a foreign market, companies need to fulfil a few basic parameters, namely a product with breakthrough technology that can be multiplied, a good and capable team that will immediately carry out the entrance to the foreign market, and a big enough price difference.

Tip #4: ask subquestions, needle them until you get a clear answer

It is typical for Slovenian sellers that they ask their potential customers too few questions. They pose no subquestions to the answer they receive. When a customer says that they need a quality product, most salespeople stop. When arguing for the product, use the NBA formula, meaning the product’s Benefits, Advantages before other products, and why they would need it Now. Needle them until they tell you what a quality product means to them, how it should work, where, why, with what, with whom. Armed with this information, you will be able to improve your product and your way of selling to other customers. When making the decision, it is important to get a doubtless yes or no. And if the customer decides yes and the solution helps them, both of you will be happy. If they don’t decide for it, they will save you the time you’d have spent making further calls or visits, and time is very precious, said Primož Hvala, from HSC business consultancy, to the participants.

Primož Hvala during his individual sales consultation for ID.Conference

Tip #5: teams fall apart because of a lack of planning

With a lack of planning, founders often have differing view on what an individual contributed to the success of the company, which is why they also often part ways.
Tip #6: the research stage of users is unavoidable, so offer them content for research

“The fact is that 90% of people who come on your website aren’t in the buying stage yet, and so they won’t buy your product. You need to educate your potential users, meaning that the stage of online research is unavoidable. The more you care about them and the more useful content you offer to them, the more possibilities there are for them to add things to the basket. So, educate your users and notify them about the novelties, build a brand and trust in your product or service, and build a relationship with them. That will lead to returning customers, who are crucially important for every business,” was one of the many tricks that Andraž Štalec, digital strategist from Red Orbit agency, shared with the participants.

Andraž Štalec, Red Orbit, while setting the SaaS strategy of Printee
Tip #7: too much differing advice can slow down startup growth

Startups don’t yet know how to decide and too much advice from different people can slow them down, since they want to try in all the directions. Therefore, it is important for a startup to establish its own decision-making system and methodology with which it can monitor its development.
After six days of collecting new knowledge, advice and ideas for improving business operations, we asked companies about the impressions from this year’s SK75 bootcamp.
Tip #8: taking further steps more easily with the acquired knowledge

Rok Matjaž, from company 4FUN with product Printee, says that after all the received support, the investment as well as mentors and specialist knowledge, they feel as if they’ve crossed from a captainless ship to one with a captain at its helm. Armed with knowledge, they feel much better in their own skin while taking new steps.

Tip #9: fewer operative and more strategic tasks
For the team of company Malinca, the key Eureka moment of this bootcamp was when they looked in the mirror with Branko Drobnak, and realized that they are doing too many administrative tasks and too few strategic ones that bring more sales in the long term, says Nastja Mulej in the short video clip.
The participants of the bootcamp programme were SK companies that received Slovene Enterprise Fund’s convertible loan in the amount of 75,000€, from the generation of autumn 2017:




Sk75 Sk autumn 2018
Izvedba: Mojdenar IT d.o.o.