The Business Owner: Jackie Fast, Slingshot Sponsorship
The female founder talks about setting up her successful company using only her laptop, and why word of mouth is so crucial
Company: Slingshot Sponsorship
Founders: Jackie Fast
Location: London UK – but offices worldwide
Proposition: Slingshot helps organisations secure significant sponsorship through their innovative and strategic framework
Describe your business model:
Our business model is quite simple – we have a number of service offerings dependent on the needs and budgets of our clients that we charge out on an hourly/project fee plus a success fee (commission).
Our services include:
- Retained clients – where we actively act as an organisations outsourced commercial department taking care of everything from creating leads, negotiation, invoicing and account management.
- Strategy – this is a three-year commercial plan that looks at the viable commercial avenues your organisation should endeavour to proceed with and what types of profits to project.
- Training- our training is robust and comes in two offerings: Bootcamps (tailored) & Sessions (untailored monthly events run at the London HQ)
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
There are very few successful sponsorship sales agencies because it’s a very difficult business.
For those sales agencies that are around, they tend to only work with sector specific clients such as charities, sports or arts.
Unfortunately, this narrow view means that innovation in the space seldom happens.
Slingshot has developed a framework that can be readily and successfully applied to every industry in any country.
Through this we have been able to develop and innovate through gaining best practice across the industry sector.
This is incredibly unique in this space.
How did you finance your business?
It is a start-up and it was financed with my laptop.
The capabilities of online and digital technology are vast and if you have a good idea and the grit to see it through,
It’s possible to grow a large business on relatively little capital.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
Your people and your clients – in a service based business like ours, it’s the main thing!
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
Having the space in the day or even the month to actually think about the business rather than running around ‘doing’ too much.
It’s a constant struggle that I am particularly bad at because I like to always take on new challenges.
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
Word of mouth is our key marketing converter, but that is because in our industry a number of clients and brands have been burnt by big promises that haven’t been delivered.
It’s very hard to win business in sponsorship because it’s impossible to gain trust.
However, over time our results have spoken for themselves and that is huge when overcoming the challenge of widespread mistrust about sponsorship sales people industry wide.
Behind word of mouth – our website and SEO is pretty critical.
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
It is now possible now than it has ever been before as the world continues to get smaller.
Businesses can not only export, but gain resource and skills from other countries – I believe that growth is all about collaboration and this ability to tap into this is hugely significant economically for almost every business.
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
Barclays Business App – but mostly so I can just check in on our finances when I have spare time on the tube.
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Driven, fun, clever
What would you like the government to do for small business?
I think the government does a lot in the UK for small businesses, but the problem is that either the information and awareness isn’t readily out there or small business owners aren’t taking the time pre-launch to research these areas.
The government needs to do more to ensure that people are more aware of these great schemes.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
I think The Bodycoach is really fascinating as it’s just a guy who likes fitness and has a quirky sense of humour.
By putting things he’s interested in on Instagram, he’s become an overnight success.
It shows you the power of social media and the possibilities within our world today.
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
Better. Always better.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Do good work, the rest will follow.