Don’t get stuck on the idea

Time to Read – 90 seconds

Darren Fell, Managing Director and founder of, is an entrepreneur and a persistent one at that.

Indeed, when I asked him on the phone for his one single leadership lesson, above all others, he spoke with passion about persistence, based on his own personal experience of being on the point of business collapse, and how he kept going.

As we feature persistence a lot, I asked him for another, and this is what he wrote:

I see many people who stop at the idea point. Is it good enough, will it work? The continual questions are often not helped by an unwillingness to talk the idea through with as many people as possible as they are scared it may be stolen.

I believe in momentum. If you get a reasonably good gut-feeling that the idea is right and you have spoken to numerous people who feel it has legs, go for it. Whilst the momentum is gathering you may see an outstanding idea within the original core idea. This may instantly give you an even better gut-feeling and offer far better commercial prospects than the first.

After 14 years in Corporate Telecoms with a short spell in a start- up Internet Provider, the politics of life in a Pan-European Telco got the better of me and I walked into my MD’s office to quit.

All I had was a partially proven party idea that I had cheesely given the title of It would allow customers to create their party page, upload a list of their friend’s details, create the party email and then it would fire off invites and reminder text messages at the appropriate times.

Organising the RSVP list to give to the doorman the site also allows people to upload a video and photos of the party afterwards.

A year in and five massive promotional parties later I realised I’d need a considerable investment, in the site’s functionality but more so in the marketing. The idea had always felt like a training ground and lacked serious commercial possibilities.

After speaking to numerous people, I realised the potential and what I had already proven. I could create an email and text message marketing system that anyone could use online. It would be available from £45 a month, competing directly with other system that started at £2,500 a month.

Fast forward to April 2008 and I’d built up an email marketing specialist firm that was in the top three in the UK, had 850plus customers including Levi’s, Innocent Drinks, Emap and the entire Financial Times Group and a team of 45. The business was exceptionally cash generative and sold for $7.8m to a US NASD organisation.

The lessons I learnt with and email marketing firm Pure have stood me in good stead with my latest venture The online accountancy service has ruffled a few feathers in the industry, because of its price and ease of us, and there have been attempts to discredit us by various rivals.

But being persistent has meant we have kept going despite the hurdles.

Thank you Darren – Action – don’t get stuck on the idea, keep it evolving and checking back with your own gut feel, and who knows what will happen.

With my love and best wishes

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