Starting a business, whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or a rookie to the startup scene, can be both exhilarating and challenging.
In today's NEXUS article, we delve into the experiences and insights of Shoaib Ahmed, a successful entrepreneur who has weathered the ups and downs of beginning an agency.
We discuss the contrasts between working in a business and starting one from scratch as well as the benefit of having sound systems and processes in place, and the role of passion in driving success.
In a business context, a system is a set of interconnected components that work together to achieve a specific goal or function. A system can be physical, such as a production line, or it can be virtual, such as an accounting system. The purpose of a system is to create a repeatable and scalable process that can be optimized over time to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Systems are an essential part of running a successful business, as they provide structure and organization to the various processes that must be carried out on a daily basis. By implementing systems, businesses can improve productivity, reduce errors, and save time and money. Systems can also help to ensure consistency in the quality of the products or services that are delivered to customers.
Examples of systems in a business context include customer relationship management (CRM) systems, inventory management systems, financial management systems, and marketing automation systems.
“This has helped us automate as many tasks as possible (saving huge amounts of time week-to-week). It also means my team and clients know exactly what to expect and the process of working for/with Yello Hippo is seamless."
Shoaib also talked about the importance of having a clear vision and staying true to it. "It’s crucial, and it's equally important to stay true to that vision, even when faced with challenges. It can be tempting to deviate from your vision to meet short-term goals, but ultimately, it's the long-term vision that will help you build a successful business." He added that building a network of supportive mentors and peers can also be beneficial for entrepreneurs, as they can offer guidance, feedback, and support.
He also shared his thoughts on the power of LinkedIn as a social media platform for building a brand and marketing services. According to Shoaib, LinkedIn is the most underrated social media platform out there, with a business-minded audience and organic reach potential that makes it a powerful tool for entrepreneurs.
"The algorithm doesn't cap reach based on an account's following. So it's also a great opportunity for anyone with a story to make an impact!"
Shoaib went on to share how Yello Hippo's clients have benefited from LinkedIn, saying, "Our clients have landed 6-figure business deals, 10x their MRR and have been invited to speak on global stages. These opportunities - that benefit businesses and deliver strong ROI - have come directly through the content we've produced for individual profiles on LinkedIn."
He emphasized the importance of producing quality content that resonates with your audience, as well as engaging with your audience to build strong relationships and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
I asked Shoaib, why Marketing? Why pick that industry?
He expressed his love for taking an idea and building it into a brand that serves value and purpose in people's lives. According to Shoaib, marketing is at the heart of business success, and he emphasized the importance of being able to market your offer to the right people in order to avoid everything falling apart.
"That's the appeal of marketing," he said. "It's also one of the few job roles where you can be creative and still lead with analytics and data. It's the perfect career for a creative, yet business-minded person."
By focusing on solid systems, processes, and infrastructure, as well as providing solid customer service, Yello Hippo helps its clients build their brands and market their services successfully. With Shoaib's emphasis on creativity and analytics, it's no wonder that Yello Hippo has been able to help its clients achieve such impressive results.
Yello Hippo? Why?
“Ahh, this one is nice and simple. My favourite colour is yellow. My favourite animal is a hippo. So I put the two together and dropped the 'w' off yellow (because that URL was taken).”
He also mentioned his first LinkedIn post, where he was wearing a bright yellow jumper with a hippo printed on it.
In that moment, Shoaib connected with his audience and created a memorable moment, which eventually led to the birth of his company's name.
Marketing vs Personal Branding
Having initially worked in the marketing space, he discovered his passion for personal branding while working on his own brand on LinkedIn and helping students with employability.
Despite having a secure job offer with an FTSE 100 pharmaceutical company, Shoaib took a risk and ventured into the personal branding space.
Shoaib's work with Yello Hippo has allowed him to help purpose-driven individuals and businesses achieve the visibility they deserve. The positive impact that his work has had on his client's lives has been a truly rewarding experience for him.
He emphasizes the importance of putting in the work, learning from mistakes, and not being afraid of challenges. He believes that failures are opportunities for growth and improvement, which ultimately make him a better business owner.
“6 months ago I would have listed 10-12 things that are challenging for a business owner.
But today, I'd say the most challenging part is the thing you make challenging. If you're not investing in lead-generation efforts, then driving sales will be a challenge.
If you're not taking time out for your well-being as a founder, then your mental health is likely to be a challenge to business growth. If you don't invest in automation and outsourcing, then lack of time will be a challenge.”
Lead generation, for example, is an essential aspect of any business, and it refers to the process of identifying potential customers who are interested in the products or services that a business offers. Good lead generation is crucial for a company's growth, as it ensures that the business is reaching out to the right people and converting them into paying customers.
There are several reasons why good lead generation is important. Firstly, it helps businesses to identify and target their ideal customer, ensuring that their marketing efforts are more effective.
Secondly, it helps businesses to build stronger relationships with their customers.
And thirdly, and most important, it is essential for business growth.
Whatever your business problem is, it will become more concerning the more you avoid it.
Shoaib's company, Yello Hippo, has received a very positive response from his LinkedIn community as they have watched him grow from an employee to a business owner. The support he has received from his network has been incredible, with referrals and learning opportunities from clients and others in his network.
Yello Hippo plans to continue growing by taking on clients who align with their values and by diversifying their services to offer brand, social, and marketing audits as well as writing video scripts for TikTok and IG content.
Shoaib explained to me, how he is so excited about the future, and focuses on the next 3-6 months at a time, believing that doing great work will lead to more success in the future.
Shoaib, if you’re reading this, I wish you all the best. What you’re building with Yello Hippo is fantastic, and I look forward to hearing more in the next 12 months.
If you'd like to learn more, you can find Shoaib and his team, here: