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B2B Marketing, B2B PR, Guests, Guides and advice, Sector knowledge, Skout news

Five things we learned about founders’ stories from our LinkedIn Live

We recently hosted another LinkedIn Live event in which we learned from experts in their field. Named ‘Look into the tea leaves and find your HR tech story’ in honour of International Tea Day which shared its date, our head of technology practice Lee Simpson spoke to two guests who told us about their B2B HR founders’ stories.

This is a burgeoning market. Currently valued at $40m, its global revenue is expected to double within the next decade, which will obviously result in a very crowded marketplace in which it will be harder and harder to stand out. We asked our guests to talk about how they have used their own, individual story as their company’s founder to encourage investment and attract leads.

Emma-Louise Fusari is a registered nurse who founded In-House Health. Having seen corporate wellbeing solutions that did not measure outcomes in a meaningful way and that had no long-term health impact for individuals or financial benefits for businesses investing in them, Emma-Louise set out on her own. Her mission was to show that employee health is not an HR problem; it is a C-suite, and a whole organisational problem.

Adam Coleman dabbled in technology after moving back to Ireland from the UK and setting up an HR consultancy. It was this background that helped him identify where processes could be automated and fuelled his desire to build what became his HRLocker product rather than continue consulting. It is now an end-to-end HR solution for SMEs and not-for-profit organisations.

Here are five lessons we learned from Emma-Louise and Adam and their B2B HR founders’ stories:

1. Your founder’s story is vital when it’s time to look for investment

The story of how HRLocker came into being was something which resonated with investors, as Adam outlines in this video from 2018. It was very real, very normal but slightly off-centre.

His later video quest – to firstly accomplish, investigate and prove that work is no longer a place and that people can work from anywhere, secondly to meet all his remote working employees and lastly to research and trial a four-day working week, all of which was undertaken from his camper van – strengthened this.

Emma-Louise revealed that she refers to her founder’s story frequently. It’s perceived that employees are the ones who aren’t resilient enough or who don’t have the coping strategies to deal with the working environment, whereas there is an education piece required to show that the working environment and workplace culture that is the root cause of problems and that responsibility for it comes from the top down. In-House Health provides evidence-based, clinically led and data-informed solutions that are built from Emma-Louise’s professional experience. Despite her 20+ year clinical career in the health sector, she’s had to fight inherent misogyny for funding, as females only receive two pence in every pound invested into businesses at this point [section 3.1, Funding and fuelling high-growth businesses fairly].

2. Walk a mile in your potential customers’ shoes

Your B2B HR founders’ stories should demonstrate how you understand your potential customers’ pain points. Having the insight into how you can offer benefits to them by appreciating their adversities and struggles is perfect for highlighting your product’s execution.

Emma-Louise enables and supports organisations to take a preventative approach. She’s seen first hand the detrimental impact work-related ill health has on individuals, often presenting with chronic stress or burnout, or even worse after a heart attack or stroke. A realist, Emma-Louise understands the impact this can have not just for the individual employee but for the employer. She can see the impact that long-term sickness absence can have in a business, from stretching teams to losing customers, and the financial impact this can have. Through Emma-Louise’s story, she can demonstrate she has the knowledge and experience to execute and deliver tangible outcomes for her clients.

3. If you have to say you’re authentic in your B2B HR founders’ stories, you’re not authentic

Like a politician who says, “I honestly believe,” you shouldn’t have to shout about your authenticity as a positive trait. It should be apparent in how you tell your story. 

Sometimes, though, you have to make it clear that you’re telling the truth. Remote working was pulled sharply into focus during and immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic but it was something Adam had been promoting before this turbulence, promoting it as a way of turning HR from a cost centre to a profit centre. Fabricating this opinion post-pandemic wouldn’t work; you either have a story people believe in or they don’t, and “people can smell lies like yesterday’s nappy.”

Emma-Louise agrees. Everyone is allowed to change their mind, but if as a founder you use social media, it is important to be transparent and truthful from the outset. Influencers who suddenly change their entire beliefs systems seem fickle and mercenary compared to their genuine counterparts.  People who can’t see through the lies told by the influencer who has gone the full 180-degree turn buy into the false promise, which creates issues further down the line.

4. We’re only human, after all

Customers are human and understand that their fellow humans make mistakes, even if they have founded their own business. There’s no shame in talking about the bumps in the road that have led to this point. If someone claims to have all the answers, it’s likely to be bluster. It’s important to learn from mistakes and evolve, as it adds more chapters to the story.

When Emma-Louise won her ‘Innovator of the Year’ award in 2023  against competition from huge corporations, it was her story and the mission and vision of In-House Health that was her differentiator.

Similarly, Adam doesn’t dwell on mistakes and even celebrates them in ‘****-up Friday’. This safe space to fail and learn from mistakes brings on innovations which customers react well to, as economic conditions potentially grow tougher.

5. You don’t have to be an extrovert to promote your B2B HR founders’ stories

The more introverted amongst us (the ‘back-room Billy’ as opposed to the ‘front-row Freddie’ in Adam’s terminology) or those who do not have a compelling founder’s story are not disadvantaged by their status. Adam feels that what matters more than anything is your vision for your business. Without that, attracting investment for and maintaining success will be very difficult.

 The business’s full story – with all its outcomes, achievements, investments, sales and revenue – can also act as a case study, according to Emma-Louise. It can demonstrate how the business helps others in the same position and what it achieves for people. If there is no founder’s story, any success metrics will need to be different.

If you’d like to learn how your B2B HR founders’ stories can strengthen your position in any B2B marketplace, not just HR tech, watch the recording of the LinkedIn Live and get in touch with us to talk about your storytelling strategy.

About this article

Read time:

4 minutes

Category:

B2B Marketing, B2B PR, Guests, Guides and advice, Sector knowledge, Skout news

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