Episode 30 - Karina Brown and Jim Stichbury - GroHappy

Karina Jim GroHappy

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“It never felt like as much of a dramatic risk as people think. In the early days we knew that if it really goes wrong we can go back and we won’t have lost that much, in fact we will have gained a whole load of new skills that we wouldn’t have developed otherwise. Making the decision was hard, but once we’d made the decision it wasn’t as scarey as we’d anticipated.”

Today’s guests are Karina Brown and Jim Stichbury.s Co founders of GroHappy.

GroHappy is a B2B software business that helps companies to give their employees the career development that they crave.

GroHappy's tools and technologies help employees to get clear on their career aspirations, have better conversations about it and discover recommended steps (from podcasts, to courses, to events) to move towards their goals.

I was introduced to Karina in the very early days of GroHappy and I have had the privilege of watching as Karina and Jim take GroHappy from an idea that they worked on in evenings and weekends to a successful, investor backed, tech start up with a growing professional services client base.

I had a great time speaking with Karina and Jim and we cover some really interesting topics in this conversation including:

How Karina and Jim came up with the idea of GroHappy and how they managed the earlier phase of the business to turn it from a side project in to their full time focus.

Karina and Jim’s top tips for prioritisation and productivity when growing a start up.

The importance of advisors when growing an early stage start up and how Karina and Jim identified their gaps and then found advisors to fill them.

The lessons from their recent funding round and their advice for those looking to do the same.

Any much much more!

If you are planning on starting your own business, you have an idea that you’d like to give a go but aren’t sure how to do it or you want to learn how to apply successful start-up principles in your own Consulting career then this episode is a must listen!

You can find out more about Karina and Jim on their LinkedIn

Karina – https://www.linkedin.com/in/karinabrown01

Jim – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesstichbury

If you want to find out more about GroHappy you can check out their website -  http://www.grohappy.co.uk

Specific things we discuss in the show:

Zero to one by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters - http://amzn.eu/d/4aIRRuT

Harry Gaskell - https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-gaskell-ab94271/?originalSubdomain=uk  

London and partners growth programme - https://business.london/business-growth-programme  

The Design Sprint by Google - http://www.gv.com/sprint/  

The Agile Manifesto - http://agilemanifesto.org/  

Deep Work by Cal Newport - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0349411905/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_O0JUBbCPADQ23  

The Alliance by Reid Hoffman - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1625275773/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_E1JUBb8938SZ6  

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0571339794/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_J3JUBbFFGRDQ2  

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1784703931/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_-3JUBb3VKXC34   

Exponential Organisations by Salim Ismail et al - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1626814236/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_C4JUBb48HC81D   

Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/2960133501/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_m5JUBb86N2TZ4   

The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0670921602/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_65JUBbT0ND3J1  

What we talk about:

00:04:00 - Karina and Jim’s background and how they got to where they are today.

00:05:51 - How the idea for GroHappy came about and how Karina and Jim decided to turn it in to a business.

00:08:09 - The questions Karina and Jim asked themselves and each other before launching the business.

00:10:19 - Karina and Jim’s advice for how to have honest and open conversations with your manager/career advisor.

00:12:39 - How Karina and Jim made the move from full time Management Consultants to full time entrepreneurs.

00:15:01 - The common fears that people have when thinking about starting their own business and how to overcome them.

00:19:07 - How Karina and Jim have successfully grown GroHappy and the pivot they took to achieve that success.

00:25:41 - How Karina and Jim identified the senior advisors they wanted and how they persuaded them to come on board.

00:30:48 - The strategic and operational techniques and tools that have helped Karina and Jim to grow their business so rapidly.

00:37:16 - Karina and Jim’s book recommendations on productivity, prioritisation and working effectively when growing a start up.

00:39:40 - The importance of taking time to unplug when growing a business and Karina and Jim’s approaches for this.

00:43:07 - The “outside of work” challenges that come from growing a start up, how Karina and Jim have managed these and their advice for others thinking of doing the same.

00:50:02 - GroHappy’s successful fundraising round and Karina and Jim’s advice for others looking to raise investment for their business.

00:56:28 - Karina and Jim’s book recommendations.

01:00:20 - Karina and Jim’s closing advice for you whether you’re just starting out in Consulting, In the middle grades or approaching Partner level.

01:04:45 - How to get in touch with Karina and Jim.