Continuing with our series of Member Spotlights, we welcome Stefan Avivson from Raw Research. Describing himself as a serial entrepreneur, Stefan has built 10 companies, exited four and has learned some big lessons along the way. It was those discoveries that led him to Raw Research, where they collaborate with business owners to truly find out why customers buy from them and how to utilise that knowledge to hone their new business development. Enjoy this Q&A where we get to know Stefan and Raw Research better…
Tell us about yourself and your company. Where did the idea come from? Describe your lightbulb moment at which point you knew your venture might actually become a success.
For 25 years I have built companies – and I guess I am what people refer to as a ‘true serial entrepreneur.’ I started ten companies, exited four, I went bankrupt a couple of times too and I tried to hold a “unicorn” in my hands. What a journey.
Three years ago I set myself on a journey to try to create something truly valuable. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, I foremost see that as business development; the commercial perspective of entrepreneurship that most founders forget to focus on.
So, instead of inventing something new and novel, I did something very different – and that’s performing raw business development: I asked the market.
I called 200 B2B companies and asked them what their real challenges are and bluntly also asked what they would like to buy from a commercial perspective.
However, I discovered what I felt was a crazy, systematic error in most B2B companies – in all ages. It all began in the discussions with all the potential clients I called and booked a “exploration meeting”, where I simply asked; ‘why do you think your customers buy from you?’. If there were two people attending these meetings, I would get two different opinions. In the end, I learned that when I asked 10 people in the same organisation that same question, I would get 10 different opinions.
In my mind, you can’t really have an opinion about why your customers buy from you, can you? It’s weird to say ‘that black table may be green, in my opinion!?’
Anyway, up to you, but not in my mind, because I learned very early that the fastest way to understand why your clients buy from you, is by simply asking them. It turns out that your customers in most cases agree with each other on why they buy from you – it is here you find and learn to understand their real motivation behind a purchase.
So that was my lightbulb moment. And my product was defined: I called it a reality check. Why? Because it’s basically a reality check.
So, a couple months ago we incorporated, pivoted a final time and rebranded us to being Raw Research, delivering a raw and qualitative customer and employee gap analysis by asking the right people the right questions.
The lightbulb moment for me, was actually only about 18 months ago.
What are you most passionate about in business?
Helping other people – because it is the most rewarding gift in life to give.
How do you continue to challenge yourself?
By being Mister Raw! My holding company where I also help other founders and startups with raw traction and advice through mentorship and hands on – no BS – kind of style execution.
What or who inspired you to establish your company?
To build something truly valuable and not just another SaaS…
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you, and did you follow it?
To follow your dreams, and oh yes, did I follow that advice!
Who do you most admire and why?
People who in reality want to change the world into a better place for all of us.