The year 2022: 5 failures & 5 things I'm proud of.
We launched TalentBee in August 2022, and we have been operating now for 4,5 months.
I wanted to share with you 5 fuck ups & 5 things I'm proud of from the journey.
Let's start with the fuck ups
🐝 Fuck up number 1: Not participating right decision makers in sales cases. The market has changed a lot in the past 6 months. Especially in tech & SaaS companies where we mainly work. A lot of companies are moving from growth to profitability.
There are still a lot of companies hiring, and our pipeline is growing. There's one big change happening. The people who used to be able to make decisions around having a partner for talent acquisition can't do it anymore. You need buy-in from CFO & CEO (and, in some cases, from the boards/investors).
We have failed to participate those people in our sales process, and because of this, we have failed many cases we should have won. That's the reason why we are a bit behind our MRR goal. It's something I should have noticed earlier and fixed it. Completely my fault.
I'm still learning a lot about that topic &, e.g., on, how to do a great business case for our Employer Branding services. If you have experience creating business cases in any services/tech, I would love to have a sparring session with you and get some tips on this.
🐝 Fuck up number 2: Cashflows & money. This was new for me. Everyone told me it was important, but I didn't realize the importance of this before making some fuck-ups around this.
This goes around budgeting our expenses and estimated revenues, how taxation works, and much more.
There was a time when I needed to put my personal money into a company account because of some miscalculations. Luckily my personal situation was good & I was able to do that.
After a few months of running things around this, we are on a good track. I'm sure this will become a challenge at some point again once we keep growing.
🐝 Fuck up number 3: What is expected from our team members - Sharing this openly, so everyone knows.
We discussed when we were planning to move to a 4-day workweek. The discussion was around: "When I know that I've done enough." Siiri & Saara asked me this question.
This made me realize that I hadn't communicated that well enough.
I think all of us have a clear understanding of our strategy & where we are going, but what we are missing is what's each and everyone's role regarding reaching those goals. Something we still have a lot to work towards.
🐝 Fuck up number 4: Not saying no to enough things.
To be honest, my focus has been all over the place. Of course, as a founder, I have a lot of things on my plate. But still, I should be way better at prioritizing. Saying no is super hard. I'm still practicing it.
Here's what I have learned so far on this:
I show the example to our people.
I should really focus on our 3 core focus points for next year:
1) Employee experience
2) Building TalentBee brand
3) Scaling our MRR
Everything I do should be tied to those. This year I have done things toward those. A lot, to be honest, but I should cut a lot of unnecessary stuff out and focus even more.
🐝 Fuck up number 5: Separating relationship with Saara from work.
So we founded a company with my girlfriend Saara.
Last spring, we had a lot of arguments around business stuff, but when Siiri came in, they basically stopped we have found a good balance at work, and now I'm super happy to work with Saara.
However, this has affected our relationship outside of work.
We set up some rules, e.g., now business-talk in the evening or on weekends or in bed.
We have fucked up totally these rules.
Time to step up the game with these rules and focus on being a boyfriend more.
5 things I'm super proud
🐝 What I'm proud of, number 1: Is our team.
Our founding team works extremely well together. We are very different, and to be honest, it pisses me off quite often, and I think, "Why Saara & Siiri doesn't get me".
But it's the best thing. Because we think differently, we can grow faster & challenge each other ideas way better.
I just talked with another founder who shared that their founding team is three very similar people. In the beginning, is was good & the feeling was good, but quite fast, they realized it's one of the biggest challenges when everyone agrees on things, and there aren't good conflicts around things.
Additional to our founding team, I'm so happy for our first employee Nea. If I could go back to the moment, we hired her, I would make the same exact decision. She will be a key player in TalentBee's growth journey.
🐝 What I'm proud of, number 2: TalentBee brand.
We have successfully built a great brand, and this is something that someone compliments me about almost daily.
Because of this, we get most of our sales cases inbound, and they come exactly from our ideal customer-profile companies.
I think this is something most companies would just dream of at this stage of the business.
One of my favorite compliments from this week was from a potential customer: "You are my favorite Employer Branding partner. Mainly because of your branding game on LinkedIn".
🐝 What I'm proud of, number 3: Is how happy we make our customers.
So far, 100% of our customers are happy and happy to give referrals & reference stories.
It seems we can create an awesome customer experience & provide value to our customers. This is one of my favorite quotes from our customer who used to work with many other recruitment agencies before working with us:
“When we are opening new recruitments I will continue working with TalentBee. After this experience I won’t consider anyone else”
🐝 What I'm proud of, number 4: Our sales success.
Some might say it's easy to win cases when you have inbound leads coming in.
But to be honest, those companies typically talk with a few other agencies.
We have focused on making the buying process from us as easy as possible & creating an awesome experience, + providing a lot of value during that.
Because of that, we haven't lost a single offer to our competitors from the cases where we have built offers. (Quite good, I must say 😆. Please, competitors, correct me if there's a case I don't remember 😍 I know you are reading this!).
And to make sure it doesn't sound too good, we do lose cases. Mainly for two reasons:
1) Companies decide to hire an in-house person to work on their recruitment or employer branding
2) Companies decide not to invest in employer branding or recruitment
So still some work to do in selling the importance of our services + why we would be a better option than hiring someone in-house (to be honest, most of the time, in-house might be a better option and something I recommend to customers quite often.)
🐝 What I'm proud of, number 5: Coming up with new ideas for the industry.
One of the reasons why we launched TalentBee was to bring in some new ideas to talent markets.
We thought there would be a better way of doing talent acquisition.
To be honest, I think none of these ideas are completely new, but for a lot of people, they are, and it seems that customers are getting a lot of value out of these:
1) Moving from Talent Acquisition to building Talent Pipelines.
2) Building Communities to support hiring.
3) Utilizing multi-channel video outreach in headhunting
4) Utilizing pirate-funnel in measuring & identifying your talent bottlenecks
5) Automating profile-definition part of the process
6) Moving Job offers to growth plans and skyrocketing acceptance rates.
That's it. Recap of the first 4,5 months as an entrepreneur. Worth it. A lot of learnings. Still happy leaving my well-paying job as a Head of Sales and starting something new.
Now I will enjoy 10 days of holiday and come back in January. We might have some big news coming up 😍 Can you guess what?
Ps. Make sure to follow TalentBee on LinkedIn.