Podcast episode #24 – How to start a business without experience in the industry with Xavier Giard from wecount.swiss
In the podcast episode nr. 24, Xavier Giard presents his experience and answers the main question of “how to start a business without experience in industry”. Xavier is founder of Outletics and WeCount.swiss. Both companies were founded without any previous industry knowledge and so Xavier’s story is a great example on how curiosity and problem-solving attitude can overcome any obstacles.
Tune in to the podcast audio to learn more about Xavier’s story and what his companies are doing. Or, read our article below, which sums up few points you need to build a successful business, despite the lack of industry knowledge.
Example on Xavier’s entrepreneurial journey
Xavier’s journey started when he moved to China with his family. Every visit they received was amazed by the available infrastructure for people to exercise in parks and public spaces. That is when Xavier got his idea of bringing outdoor sports equipment to Europe. At that time it was a big novelty and there were no other companies on the market, which signalled a great opportunity. Xavier’s adventure started 12 years ago in Switzerland and now it is an international company called Outletics.
Interestingly enough, Xavier’s journey with Outletics led him establish his second company based on his frustration with the way accounting is traditionally done in Switzerland. Therefore, Xavier established WeCount.swiss, which is a digital solution to automate accounting for a fraction of market price for accounting services.
Fresh view is your competitive advantage
Take an example from Xavier’s journey. Xavier is not an accountant and so he was rightfully frustrated about the traditional way of doing accounting, its costs in time and effort, lack of options and no in-time overview of your vital KPIs. Xavier decided to bring a solution to live which speeds up the process, costs less and is simplified to just taking a picture with the WeCount application. It is a great example how fresh view on current standards make you discover a great market opportunity. Not knowing “what everyone else does” or “this is how its done” gives you a competitive advantage and lets you proceed to your goal with a momentum, already established companies on the market lack.
Supplement skills you may lack with a great team
In Xavier’s own words: “everyone has skills, but to do the job right, you need to learn and you need to support each other”. Mentioning the importance of the right team is like playing the same old song. However, when it comes to the question of how to start a business without experience in the industry, you better choose the right people as team members / co-founders. You need to surround yourself with people who understand the market, who are great at networking, who have skills you lack, who share your vision, but also who will support each other when the times are rough.
Again, on an example of Xavier’s journey. When Xavier and his team established Outletics, they chose a supplier of parts who was the wrong one for the job. After they delivered their first product it felt apart within weeks. It could be a death sentence. Instead, the team stuck together, they went back to the drawing board, identified the problem, found another supplier and over time, were able to overcome any engineering challenges, because they supplemented each other’s skills and had a great team.
Make parallels between your challenges and what you already know
When you lack the industry knowledge, you’ll meet a lot of additional challenges. However, you need to stay open minded, be curious and learn from your mistakes to overcome these. Additionally, its worth while considering what you already know, where you already have experiences or industry knowledge and draw a parallel between both. For example, in Xavier’s case, Outletics was facing an issue with moving parts in their outdoor equipment. They used ball bearings to enable movement in their machines. When ball bearings faced outdoor humidity however, they quickly wore off, which raised an issue of expensive maintenance and customer satisfaction.
Thanks to “out of the box” thinking Xavier and his team were able to find a solution in medical industry. Using the same technology as is used in artificial hips proved to be the right way forward, sinking the maintenance costs to minimum and customer satisfaction to maximum.
Start small to test the market and your assumptions
When faced with issues, its always worth while getting a second opinion. Especially when you are in an early face of your venture, or if you are starting a business without previous experience in the industry. As little as a sheet of paper with a drawing of the accounting software’s interface was enough for Xavier to prove he was on to something with his WeCount.swiss solution. Follow the advice of Xavier and make sure you prove your assumptions right or wrong before you invest in your venture too much time, effort and even worse, money.
Your next steps
At the time of writing this topic we just launched an open beta of our Help’n’Trade application. It is all about connecting with people locally and exchanging goods, skills and services with each other. Make an offer on our application and request feedback in exchange. Get the necessary feedback from outside of your friends and family and see where the journey will take you from there. When you prove your assumptions, don’t forget about Xavier and WeCount.swiss. It may come very handy to have an easy solution for your future accounting.
… and don’t forget to connect with Xavier via LinkedIn here: Xavier Giard.
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