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| CBI Interview | Jonas Kjellberg The serial entrepreneur who cofounded Skype will wind the gears to business success at IHRSA’s 14th Annual European Congress Highlights By Jon Feld » Gear Up for business CBI: This month, you’ll be speaking at IHRSA’s 14th Annual European Congress in Amsterdam on the topic of “Entrepreneurship and Creating a Winning Sales Culture.” Gear Up—your program and book—is the focus. Let’s start with that. JONAS KJELLBERG: Gear Up is designed for people who want to bring a new business opportunity to life or to sharpen an existing one. Its goal is to help create new markets or disrupt existing ones. Developed at Stanford University and the Harvard Business School, it’s basically a boot camp with clear, easy-to-follow steps that allow you to test your business idea, assess its potential, and make it work. In other words, Gear Up doesn’t offer solutions to specific problems. Rather, it’s a tool for analyzing your business’ needs. Your responses to the questions in the sum- mary of each chapter lead to an outcome—a unique strategy for your special situation. CBI: So, Gear Up is a training program, of sorts? JK: Yes. Like a personal trainer, it will help you define a training program predicated on your objectives—but, then, you’ll need to put in the hours at the gym. If you stick with it, though, the payoff will be worth the work you’ve put in. The program is based on nine “gears,” each of which represents one of the most critical components required to launch a high-potential company. They’re customers, delight, customer acquisition, the business model, partners, competitors, going global, the team, and the reality check. You have to ascertain that all of these gears are in sync. If they are, then you’ll know that a given business opportunity is worth pursuing. CBI: As you point out, you first need customers. How do you decide whom to target? JK: Yes, that’s where it all begins. And, usually, you’ll need a lot of them. The ones you want to reach out to and attract are those with a particular “pain point” that your product or service can relieve or eliminate. For that to happen, you need a unique delight—some wonderful thing that distinguishes your product from your competitors’ offerings. You’ll also require a customer acquisition process and a sustainable business model. Taken together, these three gears—delight, customer acquisition, and the business model—make up your sales formula. CBI: And the next steps or, rather, gears? JK: As your business begins to grow, you’ll probably have to find the right partners. And, since you’re not launching your venture in a vacuum, you’ll also have to deal with competitors who, perhaps, are tougher, more experienced, and better funded than you are. > Download the Free IHRSA App: | OCTOBER 2014 » Lessons from Skype » Failure and success » “Always be closing!” Jonas Kjellberg, 42, is a true serial entrepreneur. After earning economics and engineering degrees at Uppsala University and the Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, he became the assistant to the CEO of Kinnevik, a large Swedish investment firm, in 1997. At the same time, he founded Mobyson, a mobile operator, and launched Campuz, a mobile service later sold to Vodafone. After a short stint with Lycos, he and a Kinnevik colleague founded Skype, which was acquired by eBay for $2.5 billion in 2005. Next, Kjellberg unveiled Player.IO, a gaming company purchased by Yahoo in 2013. Leveraging this extensive experience, he and two coauthors have written three Gear Up books to help entrepreneurs develop successful businesses. He also lectures at Stanford University and the Stockholm School of Economics, focusing on entrepreneurship and creating a winning sales culture—the subjects of his address at IHRSA’s 14th Annual European Congress, taking place this month in Amsterdam. —| | Club Business International 33