Portfolio

To whom have I worked for

Telia, Elisa, Tele2, Estonian Energy, Eesti Post aka Omniva, Estonian Health Insurance, Seesam Insurance, DAS Insurance, PZU Insurance, business newspaper Äripäev, Päevaleht, Solaris, Pärnu Keskus, Apollo, Rahva Raamat, Varrak, Assa Abloy, E-Lux, Home4You, Sony Center, Baltika, Piletilevi, Best Marketing, Hortes, Event tents, Mustamäe Spa, etc.

Together with clients, my employees and partners we solved marketing, sales, operational and optimisation challenges. Business is a group activity!

Over the years I’ve been engaged with nearly a thousand interesting projects. I have developed various marketing tools, such as custom web shops, customer care solutions, ordering processes optimizations, CRM solutions, RMA solutions, ERP solutions, analytical tools, email delivery to billions of recipients, even some mobile solutions. We analysed, we created, we designed, we consulted, we developed, we tested, we delivered.

Hereby I humbly thank them for trusting me.

With whom I work with

I have mentees and coachees across the globe. Some just starting out, some already established. Some are looking for funds, some are expanding and fine-tuning their processes. Some struggle with UX, concepts, principles, logics, requirements. Some have personal matters that affect business growth and management. Country-wise the problems don’t differ much. Be it Iceland, Canada, US, India, Brazil, Suriname, Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria or Iran. Note! We don’t offer technical services ourselves, only “how to think” as a founder, business owner, CEO.
The biggest impact though happens when playing with open cards, trying to overcome challenges one has never faced or imagined to have. Challenges ignite our intelligence to participate and together with client we have found actionable plans that meet goals, drawn from realistically achievable visions. What are we after – is 10x to 1000x bigger visions. And as we have experienced, 500x is doable. Since 1998 I’ve consulted businesses, widening my topics as my experiences grow. If you are not growing exponentially, why bother at all…?

Light in the tunnel

At one party I was approached and asked to become a mentor. Mentor to someone I was already excluded as I wasn’t sure of myself whether I am capable of helping him. But he was persistent and managed to convince me.

Our first sessions were way too long as it wasn’t a traditional business nor a sector I knew. Every new meeting he introduced me some new details which changed the big picture for me. I wasn’t especially happy about that either. Would have expected to have all info at our first meeting.

Yet at some point the vision came to me. We agreed that I would prepare him a pitch and financials that describe the vision & structure. Afterwords I was furious. I am not an assistant who prepares pitches, I can tell what I’d want to read from these and why it matters to whom. Oioioi, I was angry at myself, why did I agree on that? 🙂

When we went through what I had prepared, I saw spark in his eyes. He wasn’t completely on the page yet, but was getting there. He said: “Now I start getting the meanings of what you have told me, it starts making sense, it fits“. He always had these pieces, but he couldn’t see the vision he led me to himself. Simply put – I defined and ordered processes, I drew the chart and boom! We re-designed his business into a money “making machine”. Today, well, it seems basic, nothing special. Yet, to take that leap, it took us lots of hours,  arguing and idea generation. And sure, we both did read a lot for our next meetings to bring fresh point of views. I can say, I did my best and it’s not bad at all. 😉 And I thought my work was kind of done there…

Trying to generalise what I do, I still got stuck. It was nothing special for me. All I did was – I just listened and responded, asked questions and tried to understand how the system works. OK, quilty as charged, I’ve always been fascinated of how things work, so I could see whether I could improve it. And today it’s a bit like a challenge for me. 

I personally am not a fan of people or companies who tell me that they can do whatever, whomever, however. So they manifest – we don’t know what we do why with whom in which cases and so they kill their own sales on purpose.   

Yet, I am something of alike at first glance. I can’t tell forehand if I am able to help. Although 90% of cases I’ve seen the spark in my client’s eyes and received thanks or got my invoice paid.

I don’t consider myself sector agnostic as there are fields I really don’t mess with. At best I may ask help from someone I know in that field or I will decline. 

Rather am I a business designer, the founder’s coach/advisor/mentor. Am always on her/his side, am loyal, am ruthlessly honest. Am after building a business what can be sold, which is scalable, capable of changing lots of lives for better, targets billions of € or $. Therefore I risk having first long meetings to feel if I see the light in the tunnel.

Some might say I work like a bad oil in the engine, I question too much asking embarrassing questions and things nobody knows. Yes, it expects complete trust and honesty, and after all, I am at your side here. The worst what can happen is – spark in your eyes that light up the tunnel

Being proud of

One of my first clients approached me with rather unique problem. He wanted to exit, yet he didn’t have much to sell. We agreed to give it a try and see if I could help him to see the light in the end.
In most cases the problem lies in positioning. Something that they teach you in marketing class as a basics. Yet I’ve found it’s the basis of my own mistakes, in numerous cases in numerous businesses. Too little of thinking, analysing and designing, too much of running with enormous speed.

In 1:10h he suddenly said: “this is the smartest thing you’ve said so far“.  We formed the growth strategy and gone he is, finalising his work. 🙂 Heh, yes. I know myself that it takes up to 2h to figure out if there is anything I can help with or I can’t. So lucky you are if 15min or even 30min will do for you. Guess there’s not much business either.

And as some say, if it’s not a challenge, it’s not a business either! 

 

ESTBAN is a superb organisation with great management. I’ve learnt so much from regular courses and trainings. Am sincerely thankful.
During one mentoring session I again realised how different is the game investors and startups play. I managed to grow startups ambition, widen the picture, rely on their achievements more, make them believe in themselves more. So, nothing special, just regular stuff, right? It took us about 8 hours to fix the pitch, as these guys were just awesome. I grew their ask from 300k to 500k, improved structural design and made the case clear for investors. Investors are interested now.
Another case took me nearly 2 months to fix the pitch and wrongdoings, we raised ask 7x to 1M so that they could reach to next round with big enough MRR. And they blew it. There were red flags and I decided to ignore them. My fault. My learnings. Luckily no small investors got hurt. Key message is the same – lack of imagination kills your relationships and therefore business.

Once offering my help as paid growth coach I was intrigued to have a test-run with me and them. Little did I know at the time that high rank people with corporate backround might lack of something I have gained throughout my life of bootstrapping and constant inventing how to stay alive. Yet combined, it might result a much bigger outcome and we managed to grow startup’s income streams 5x. All really doable with few phonecalls and few months of coding, changing the positioning from 1 service to a market leader. Honestly, I was amazed. Could not foresee that.

In one accelerator program I was once asked a slightly unethical question – “How to crowdfund enough to get out of the business?” At first I said “No, I will not help you” as it goes against my beliefs and is unethical. But my curiosity won and as a fan of systems I started to ask why my mentee had such ideas.
The result though after 1:43h mentorship was a growth concept that was international and had specifics in place. And my key to that was a pitching session few years back when I learnt how to gain in rental business. Combining new context with known concept we had a winner. Unethical exit strategy was converted into growth strategy!

Some say – lack of imagination kills all the beauty. Yet we face it everywhere. As a certified coach I tend to use coaching techniques everywhere and finding a killer strategy brings me self fulfillment. Especially if again I was able to develop better strategies than “famous VC strategists and mentors”. 

Having too narrow vision is the default cause for unhappy investors, founders, employees, clients, consumers.

So keep on bringing me challenges you think no-one can solve.  These unsolved cases, these keep me awake at nights, till I find a solution for these. Some take days, some weeks, some months or years. Bring it on!

Marketplace for car owners and workshops - WiseDrive

Concept

Younger generation, independent women, young males, foreigners – car maintenance experience sucks for them. For workshops the sales process is expensive. The promise – let’s make both ends happy.

Challenge

Clarity – guys had made some crucial mistakes in the past and didn’t take off in time. No vision, no plan, no killer pitch, no cash.

Vision – There was a problem and 1/2 of MVP. We started from building a vision that would grow the business 500x and would be attractive to investors allowing to earn 4-6x ROI.

Action plan – Analysing financials we discovered real challenges. In weeks of harsh questioning and research we sorted out how to overcome these. Our network and research led us to precise positioning and execution plan. 

Pitch – it took us ~8 weeks to fix the pitch that attracted investors

Skin in the game – We joined forces as co-founders after 6 months. 

The result – we decided to cancel our involvement in the middle of fundraising due to mismatch of ethics’ level.

 

B2B, Ultra realistic Virtual Reality solutions - Avar

Concept

All-in-one Virtual Reality and digital solutions made for businesses where presenting spaces is important. We create immersive content that cuts sales time, reduces insecurity and enhances the experience of buying and renting real estate.
We make Real Estate projects real before they are real – using Virtual Reality.
AVAR is a Certified Google Street View and Matterport Service Partner.

Challenge

Clarity – it took us nearly 4 hours to understand the nature of challenge. Then we had a brainstorm which led the owner to a mental state where he later on came up with next generation idea for his startup. Can’t hold him back now. And all the knowledega was there – in his head. It takes two to tango. It takes coach or few to grow your startup faster!

Marketplace for tenants and real-estate owners - Bidrento

Concept

Bidrento brings together real-estate owners and tenants. Ontop of that they offer B2B solution for owners to manage their flats, tenants, contracts billing, etc all on one environment. The dynamic monthly subscrition cost is just a fraction compared to the cost saved hours and paid subscriptions users can avoid now.

Challenge

Clarity – Defining the value proposition for real-estate owners who have just few flats. Feedback of B2B solution UX. Online marketing idea creation and feedback.
Supervisory – Strategies, second opinions, better decisions.
Volunteer work – in Estonian startup program “Ajujaht”.

B2B, Smart marketing, sales, kitchen ai solutions for restaurants - Checkspot

Concept

Checkspot brings together restaurants and customers maximizing owners returns in time and bringing more value for money for customers when visiting restaurants not at peak times. In addition there are lots of cool tools designed to help kitchen efficiency and optimize marketing having solid data and feedback ontop of sales numbers. 

Challenge

Clarity – Pivoting is the daily business especially due to COVID19 hitting in.
Action plan – Constant changes, processes, re-orderings.
Execution – Online marketing, processes, software developent, matchmaking.
Supervisory – Strategies, going through challenges.
Skin in the game as investor, “board member”, executor.
The result – COVID19 showed the importance of a solid management and leading skills. Business, no more.

B2C, Organizing awesome dates - Swice.io

Concept

Martketplace that makes women’s lives better! 🙂 It gives dating ideas and provides ready-made plans for people lacking of information or imagination. Biggest target groups are new/old couples, single fathers, friends, tourists. just pick a plan, pay and off you go to nice walk, events, cinema or restaurant. AI helps optimize offerings in future.

Challenge

Clarity – Pivoting is the daily business especially due to COVID19 hitting in. 
Action plan – Constant changes, processes, re-orderings.
Execution – Idea creations, process development, matchmaking, funding.
Supervisory – Advisory, strategies, opposing, going through challenges.

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