For Impact Month at TechSPARK, Nicola Finn from Oggadoon spoke to Sarah Bolt, CEO at Forth, to discuss the pearls of wisdom she uncovered during her founder journey.
When Sarah Bolt turned 40, she decided to step away from a successful career at Dyson. She changed her career path and chartered a new course that would involve working in health tech, an area with more social impact.
After completing a Master’s Degree, in Social Marketing, at the University of the West of England, and after a seven-year stint in the healthcare sector as a Marketing and Communications Consultant, Sarah took a leap of faith and founded Forth. Sarah encourages all would-be-entrepreneurs to have more belief in themselves and their own ideas, especially when taking the leap to become early stage founders.
In 2016, Forth was created and Sarah was told by angel investors that a market didn’t exist for the service that she had envisioned. Five years later and the company has succeeded in doubling its revenue year on year. They’re also closing a third investment round bringing in both UK and international investment.
During this time, the customer base grew from a handful of early adopters to thousands of customers. They have now delivered over a quarter of a million scientific results essential to good health.
Sarah overcomes these challenges through resilience and tenacity. Never giving up despite the odds is the key to success. She is continuing to research and develop new products which help people.
Here are Sarah’s five top tips for entrepreneurial success for early stage founders!
1. Do your research
An entrepreneur must demonstrate that they know their business inside and out. All pitches must have the supporting trends and market intelligence to demonstrate that it is a well thought out proposition and plan. This will ensure the entrepreneur remains the expert and is completely in control during the investment pitching process.
2. Don’t let imposter syndrome get the better of you!
It is daunting getting ready for that pitch. It’s easy for both male and female entrepreneurs to feel as if they are not qualified or fit to lead a business. This is commonly known as imposter syndrome and this feeling of inadequacy should be crushed as quickly as possible. A person’s inner saboteur can be fatal to growing a business and entrepreneurs need to believe they are good enough. Even in the face of middle-aged male angel investors, women can be in control and maintain their integrity, without compromise.
3. Get a mentor
All entrepreneurs and early stage founders should establish a mentor/mentee relationship with another, more experienced business owner. This relationship is vital to understanding what mistakes can be avoided and how to navigate the complicated world of business growth. Mentors can guide without bias and can be one of the most powerful assets entrepreneurs have whilst seeking investment; learn from the experience of others trust in their guidance.
4. Believe in yourself
You may often hear others talk about the importance of confidence during the investment process. Albeit true, confidence is a secondary consequence of believing in yourself. Entrepreneurs who believe in themselves are a force to be reckoned with. They bring confidence naturally and organically, without coming across as cocky. To an investor, believing in yourself and your business is as important as the product/ service itself.
5. Demonstrate resilience
It’s a tough world when it comes to investment pitches. Entrepreneurs need to display unmatched resilience and bounce back time and time again to prove that their business will survive against the odds, and is, therefore, a good investment.