Andy Cockburn, CEO of Referral Marketing & Customer Retention Software Mention Me, takes us through a week in his working life…
I wake at 5am. Once upon a time, this would have been for an early morning swim but these days it’s to jiggle a screaming 6-month-old and his 2-year-old sister. After a couple of hours of bleary-eyed baby time I commute into London from the Chiltern Hills and wiggle my way down from Marylebone to Vauxhall on my Brompton bike. Cycling through Hyde Park and past Buckingham Palace makes for a nice start to the day.
Mondays begin with a company meeting, and to keep it fresh, a different person is randomly selected to host each week. Today it’s Simon who is educating us about beekeeping(!), in between each team head reporting on current projects and highlights. It’s a great way of keeping the energy and creativity up. Next up is our weekly Leadership team meeting when we review performance and the bigger projects we’re working on, including news from our new French office. The rest of my day is spent having 1:1s with the team who report directly to me. I try to keep all of my internal meetings to a Monday to leave me free to focus externally for the rest of the week.
The day finishes with a beer with a fellow founder in Victoria. The startup journey is an emotional roller coaster and one of the best ways I’ve found to stay sane is to catch up regularly with other founders who are on similar journeys. I leave feeling recharged and with a renewed sense of perspective.
Today I have a few interesting meetings dotted around London. First, it’s with a high end fashion brand that we’ve worked with for a few years, to review how things are going and future activity. We’ve helped their business generate a huge proportion of their new customers from referrals, and so today we’re excited to be talking to them about a new product we’re launching to also drive up their customer repeat rate.
The afternoon I had a meeting with a potential client; a national supermarket to talk about how we could grow their online business by getting their existing clients to refer their friends. It went really well, and it looks like it could be a great partnership. I still sometimes have to pinch myself when I come out of meetings with major national brands. It feels like we’ve come a long way since it was just two of us, an idea and a couple of clients.
I finish the day back in the office to run a mentoring meeting. All of the leadership team act as mentors for people across the business to help them progress in their careers and life goals. At the moment I’m working with Lottie from the sales team and I love it. It makes for fascinating conversations that make both of us step back and think about things in a really healthy way.
Every other Wednesday we have a Perspective Day at Mention Me. It’s a day where we encourage everyone to step back from the hamster wheel of the day-to-day, think creatively, and to take on longer term challenges. Today I’m working with a few people from different teams about how we’re going to market and sell the new product that we’ve developed. We’re encouraged having proven the value that it can deliver, and so now we have the fun task of getting it into the hands of all of our clients. It’s a really satisfying day, with the lack of distractions enabling us to solve an interesting challenge. I love days like this.
Today I’m in Paris. We’re currently setting up a team in France and we were lucky enough to have pitched and to be selected to work with a brilliant accelerator called La Fayette Plug and Play. We’re one of seventeen businesses who have been involved in their programme for the last three months and it’s been a great way to learn about the french market and to be introduced to some of the biggest and best French brands.
Today is the final day of accelerator and so there’s a big, glitzy event with 200 major French retail brands coming to hear all of our pitches. It’s an awesome day. And whilst I only have four minutes to pitch Mention Me on stage, the number of brands who come up afterwards to hear more and set up meetings makes it all very worthwhile.
I then run away at the end of the event to catch the last Eurostar back home. I love long train journeys when you can just catch up on life.
Friday starts with breakfast with our biggest investor. We meet once a month, on top of the quarterly board meetings, and it’s a useful way for keeping perspective and focus on the longer-term goals.
I’m then back in the office for the day which is fun because the engineering team are running a hack day. These are brilliant. The team dedicates a day to see what they can come up with to improve one aspect of the business. Today they’re focusing on Client Onboarding and how we could make the process smoother and more efficient. I get pulled in, along with all of the Client Success team, to judge the best solution at the end of the day. These sessions always amaze me. The team get so much done in a day. The winning idea could save lots of our team’s time in each client onboarding.
We finish the day at the pub for our Friday monthly team drinks. This is always one of the highlights of my month. We’ve managed to pull together a great team of people at Mention Me and it’s great fun getting us all together and having the chance to speak to everyone outside of the office over a beer.