Experiences, Challenges and Marketing Solutions with: Reza Soheily, Founder and CEO, London Entrepreneurs Network
London Entrepreneurs Network Bio
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey: from the start up to now
In 2009, I moved to the UK, speaking no English, and came to study at university. After much hard work and dedication, I almost got a degree. “Almost? What do you mean almost, why didn’t you get a degree?” is probably what you are thinking right now. See, the reason is because I didn’t attend my final exam due to the fact that I had already started my events business. I started running events in 2012 and formed the company in 2013. In the three years since, we have gone from having 1200 members to over 30,000 members become a part of the London Entrepreneurs Network (LEN). What many people do not know, is that prior to LEN, I started a business doing voucher codes, and before I even moved to the UK I ran a jewellery business in Iran.
It’s not about money. When I first started exploring the business and entrepreneurial scene over here, I started to see that at many business shows, people were paying a MINIMUM of £3k for a stand – the spot in the corner that nobody passes and so is unaware that you’re event at the event. So this is when I started thinking: who is putting on events for the startups with little to no money? There is little availability for those who do not have significant budgets. My vision and mission, because of this, is to take this passion and create the biggest business show, and most successful platform for investors and investees, in the world.
Do you feel marketing is important to success in business? Why?
Marketing is making yourself known to potential customers so yes, of course it is important. For us, we provide value to people and this ethos alone tends to help market our business and brand very effectively. You could argue in many ways, that, our product is our marketing. By putting on shows and events that other business owners can attend and gain value from, is a massively valuable marketing activity for us. I like to look at it in this way, “marketing is the whole body, not just a part” for our business’ success.
What challenges have you faced in the context of marketing and how have you overcome these challenges?
Delivering a powerful and succinct message, in a quick and understandable way. It is important for us to be able to give people the whole picture about who we are and what we do, i.e. the fact that we have a large community, run events, and support investors and investees, but still deliver this message and our value in a way that is creative and encouraging too. In terms of overcoming challenges: trial and error, literally. We had to try a number of things in order to find out what people liked and disliked. We didn’t gain our success in marketing from a book, but more from experience. Many people when marketing, tend to say and do what they like, forgetting it is about what others like and want.
What particular parts of marketing do you see as most relevant to your type of business?
It simply comes back to the key principles of finding needs and solving problems. Let’s face it, with the amount of entrepreneurs in our network, as well as the amount of business people we meet, and are in contact with, we are made aware of the problems, so we endeavour to solve them. Following that, it is about creating messages in a way that impacts potential customers and delivers results.
What’s next for LEN?
We will soon be introducing and online platform for investors and investees to connect. We see a particular gap in this area as neither crowdfunding, nor Linkedin, really allow them to share relevant and desired data, as well as engage in a way that is most effective and efficient for both parties. We are always growing and so will continue to drive toward our goal of becoming the world’s biggest business show. Finally, the Angel Invest Show that we run is going to be turned into a TV show so people can stay on the lookout for that too.