Being an entrepreneur is like a marathon, not a sprint. It’s better to take your time and build something stable and solid rather than race headfirst into a wall.
In 2011, Marc Bouvrot-Parratte founded his first venture, Crystal Device, an innovative startup in the energy harvesting sector. His experience in promoting and growing the startup led to the conceptualization of a better business tool to identify and select which business events to attend. This eventually led to the development of the Bestrade concept in 2014 and the platform’s official launch in 2017. He graduated from FEMTO-ST with a doctorate in physics.
Bestrade provides small and medium sized businesses the online tools to support their strategic decision-making surrounding their participation in industry trade events. Bestrade collects and categorizes reviews, feedback and recommendations from event attendees from around the world on its platform and provides embedded survey tools for organizers to assess the satisfaction levels of their attendees. This data forms the basis of an analytics toolset and algorithms to assist companies in identifying which business events are best suited to their needs. The platform also enables event organizers and venue managers to communicate directly with exhibitors and visitors via its community features and network of qualified users
Where did the idea for Bestrade come from?
The idea for Bestrade came out of issues I was facing while growing another company. Like for all startups, participating in conferences and trade shows was necessary, but after attending several events around the world, the ROI was not there. I wondered whether there were solutions for startups to choose events based on previous participants’ opinions and feedback, just like we can for hotels, flights or vacations. After many unsuccessful searches, I could not find anything in this strategically important area for businesses. Thus, I decided to create the Bestrade solution to help businesses make the best possible decisions regarding their business events selection.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day for me has several parts. The early part of the day is dedicated to touching base with our CTO Damien Roch. We share updates regarding development, discuss priorities, adjust the schedule and plan and discuss the week’s development and strategy. I then deal with urgent emails, meeting scheduling and business-related outreach. The next part of the day is where I adapt the marketing communications plan and content to the technical development progress. As we are launching our products in the US market, these two aspects of the business have to be perfectly in sync. We offer an innovative solution, and therefore, daily synchronization of efforts is critical to our ability to respond quickly to emergencies or changes in direction.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Originally, I was not at all involved in the digital space. I am fortunate to have collaborated with Damien who is an expert in that world. I provide Damien with ideas and ways to innovate and he validates whether they are technically feasible and advises on how long development might take, in order to estimate costs accurately. After we have checked everything together, I create mock-ups and Damien begins development with the technical team.
What’s one trend that excites you?
A trend that excites me is open data, thanks to open APIs and data standardization. This trend allows us to greatly accelerate data collection and improve the quality of the analyses and answers we can provide to our users. Open data also allows us to focus all our resources on product features and the user experience, and we do not have to funnel resources to recreating tools ancillary to our products and services.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am always on my smartphone, especially on LinkedIn, where I do most of my technology monitoring and stay in touch with the latest trends. Staying on top of innovation in the tech industry has allowed me to not miss on important developments for the company.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be patient as everything takes longer than expected! Being an entrepreneur is like a marathon, not a sprint. It’s better to take your time and build something stable and solid rather than race headfirst into a wall.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Despite all of the online tools and platforms that exist for consumers to make decisions and to collect opinions and feedback on a personal level, no one has yet offered a professional solution for enterprises based on the same concept, and moreover, in an area of strategic importance to them, such as business event participation. Each time I present the Bestrade concept, I hear the same comment, “It’s cannot be, this type of service has to have existed already!” The response, before I launched Bestrade, was clearly “No!”
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Entrepreneurs should monitor technological developments and competitive activity. Everything moves so quickly nowadays, so it is critical that nothing essential slips by you because the consequences in terms of time and money can be severe.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Developing strategic partnerships with influential players in the business event industry has been key to our growth. Since we bring an innovative solution, but are not that well known yet, developing partnerships with big names in the industry will increase our legitimacy and credibility within the field.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The shuttering of my first startup, mostly due to being too ahead of the market with our technology. We lacked visibility and awareness in our target market which prevented us from closing our funding round, despite a lot of interest. We could not go on without that financing and were forced to shut down.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The entrepreneur’s day is always too short. If you have a solution that would allow skipping lunch without creating serious nutritional deficiency or hunger pains, go for it!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A coffee maker. The launch of our activities in the US market requires a lot of energy and time!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
We use “Slack” a lot to manage activity logs on our platform, to identify and correct bugs in real time and to communicate with our French and US teams.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Steve Blank’s “The Startup Owner’s Manual.” I was lucky enough to be able to meet in person and chat with a few years ago. This book gives you great advice on how to approach life as the head of a startup!
What is your favorite quote?
“It’s exceedingly difficult to create new products for people. Most of the time, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them” – Steve Jobs. This quote perfectly summarizes the challenge faced by Bestrade.
• For a startup, making a daily progress or status update allows you to deal with emergencies better.
• Having a team brainstorm with experts before starting the development of a concept is fundamental.
• Staying on top of developments and trends in your industry allows you to limit bad decisions.
• Taking the time to build a solid base for your business.
• Realizing that the entrepreneur’s life is a marathon, not a sprint.
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