Entrepreneur Of The Week – Jackie Fast
Tell us about you and the business
Slingshot creates revenue for organisations through the process of transforming those organisations into viable marketing platforms for brands. Basically we get sponsors for events, online platforms, television, associations, celebrities and charities. Launched on the premise that sponsorship can do more than just brand awareness through logo badging, we uncover the true value and business synergies that deliver significant ROI for all parties involved. This approach is based on business value – we are essentially commercial experts for organisations wanting to grow.
How are you helping startups?
Almost 70% of our Bootcamps are with start-up businesses as creating a robust sponsorship strategy is vital to not only their ambitious growth plans, but tends to also be the only way the Founders can earn a salary.
We also have a quarterly training module with General Assembly, which is specific to the tech start up community. Many tech startups secure VC funding at product development stage; however, when they go to launch it – funds have dried out, so we teach tech start ups (and VC fund managers) how to utilise sponsorship techniques to reach users critical mass for awareness (and sales).
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur, but I’m not sure I always wanted to be one (or really understood what one was) at a young age. I like executing ideas – in often controversial ways, so being my own boss is typically the easiest way to do this.
Where did the idea come from?
I’ve been known as a financial fixer in my previous roles – I find solutions to money problems using creative commercial strategies. It was a very simple step to go from that into sponsorship.
Do you have a business role model?
I don’t have a particular business role model, but I admire people who don’t take no for an answer and who aren’t worried about what other people think. I’m also a huge fan of Harriet Green as she cold called her last employer (Thomas Cook). I love anyone who cold calls a Chairman of a company outlining why things could be done better.
What were you doing before you started?
I initiated and led the first sponsorship division of the Direct Marketing Association in the UK.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Hiring the right people for business growth. Our people are so vital to our business and so it’s so important to work with the right ones. However, it can also be a challenging job with a lot of pressure – and it’s been a learning experience trying to identify the right types of people who can be successful in this environment.
What has been the biggest breakthrough?
Learning that the emotions in business come in cycles – and everyone goes through hard times, but the important thing is to keep your vision and keep a smile on your face.
Do you think there is enough entrepreneurship taught in the education system?
I actually think there is a lot of entrepreneurship education everywhere (including the education system); however, most of the time it’s has little awareness with actual budding entrepreneurs. I think we could do more to promote the available opportunities.
What are your plans for this year?
Slingshot have been actively opening our horizons globally – with projects already in India, Africa, and Asia this year alone, we are hoping to build our presence in these new markets.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
With a great team working on excellent partnership opportunities with brands you haven’t heard of yet.
And finally, what is the best piece of advice you could give to an entrepreneur
Just do it. Too many times budding entrepreneurs think too much – want the best idea, the perfect plan, etc. I think you learn as you go, so you might as well get started!
To find out more about Jackie and Slingshot Sponsorship please visit: http://www.slingshotsponsorship.com/
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