Ever wonder how successful businesses get started? Do they start with a structured business plan and stick to it or do they evolve over time? BusinessNewsDaily asks small businesses to take us behind the scenes and reveal the truth about the struggles of starting and running a small business.
This week's Behind the Business Plan features Gramble. Gramble is a true cross-platform social gaming portal that allows players to select their preferred charity and donate through in-game monetization. Gramble’s open/shared wallet virtual currency of ‘Grollars’ enables game enhancement and social competition amongst friends – players can use the currency in all games on the Gramble portal. Gramble users interact and engage by sharing prizes, music, photos etc with their friends.
Gramble's founder and CEO Adam Palmer tell us how he got his startup off the ground.
BusinessNewsDaily: How long have you been in business?
Adam Palmer:Gramble was founded earlier this year (2012) in The Hague, Netherlands. I was fortunate to be awarded The Netherlands Young Entrepreneur of the Year only a few months after we started. It was pretty awesome!
BND: Did you have a formal business plan or did your business just evolve naturally?
AP: Prior to the formation of the business we spent months researching, analyzing, networking and generally ensuring that the idea was [viable]. This was critical when writing a comprehensive business plan which still continues to evolve today. It’s actually more of a white paper document.
BND: How close has your business stayed to what you originally envisioned it to be?
AP: The business model has changed considerably since the first iteration of the business plan. Having said that many aspects of the original plan have remained constant. For example, our tenets of being F.I.R.S.T (Fun, Innovative, Reliable, Social, and Trustworthy) form the cornerstone of our culture. Our core tenets of F.I.R.S.T are not merely a bunch of glib catch phrases…they are the cornerstone of the very way we hold ourselves out to the world. Are we innovative? It is not enough to follow the pack. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and others with an entirely new way of thinking. Are we responsible? Not just doing the right thing, but actually caring deeply about our behavior, including being engaged with charities and being environmentally responsible. Social? All our stakeholders – players, staff and investors must be socially engaged. Trustworthy? It goes without saying…but our players must trust us to deliver their best social gaming experience. Plus, as a team, we also must implicitly trust each other and our collective vision for Gramble. And finally Fun…we all enjoy our time here and are deliriously happy being a part of Gramble. We also ensure that everything we do is both simplistic and functional.
BND: How did you finance the business at the beginning or at any time you were in business?
AP: The business was originally funded by a small group of family and friends. Subsequently, we were very fortunate to have Novamedia become a foundation investor and strategic partner of Gramble.
BND: How much did you invest?
AP: The initial funding from friends and family was approximately $300,000. Personally I invested all I had, sold everything I could as I truly believed in the business. I even packed up everything and left my great life in Sydney, moved to Europe to establish the company. It was tough but well worth it all.
BND: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently when starting your business?
AP: Absolutely nothing at all. The entire journey as a young entrepreneur has been incredible. My job is to create a vision and a culture and to make sure I get the right Gramblers on the bus and to always inspire. When you look around at a team that believes in your vision as much as you, and they trust you will do the right thing all the time, it's a feeling that just cannot be explained. The incredible productivity from great people always overwhelms me. It's why finding the right team is the most difficult thing to do but without doubt, it’s the most important. This learning has affected my life considerably.
BND: What's your best advice for someone with a great business idea who wants to give it a shot?
AP: You really have to take a massive leap of faith. I had a very secure and well paying job with a major bank in Australia and a solid career path. I left friends and family and travelled to the other side of the world on my own and started the business with little more than an unwavering belief in what I could achieve. Never give up, show resilience and trust your gut instinct.
Behind the Business Plan runs weekly on BusinessNewsDaily.com. If you know a company we should feature, email email@example.com.