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Ante Juricin and Shannon Poulton co-founded Good Thnx, a SaaS start-up with the ambitious goal of being the world’s best gifting and recognition tool, in late 2014. Since then, they’ve enjoyed the steady rise that is every start-up’s dream. And like so many successful companies, Good Thnx started with a simple ‘What if…?’
It all began on a hot summer day in Adelaide when Ante bought Shannon an icy pole to say thanks. That simple interaction sparked an idea between the two friends. What if you took the idea of that token $1 present and turned it into a donation to the receiver’s charity of choice? Good Thnx was born, but Ante says they didn’t start out to build a business.
At first, Ante and Shannon assumed it would be a little peer-to-peer start-up, dedicated to doing good. Fast forward a few years and the Good Thnx Foundation is about to deliver 100% of proceeds, totalling $1 million dollars, to charity. Ante and Shannon are also now at the helm of the growing software company that drives those donations.
As entrepreneurs, Ante and Shannon were keen to find a good model that would help them successfully scale their business and stay true to the founding values of the company. That’s when they started working with Anna Samios in the Scaling Up Leadership Program, and even though it’s early days, the results have exceeded their expectations.
When you dig down into any founder’s story, you soon find out the path to success always has its fair share of potholes.
It was certainly the case for Good Thnx. Ante says that they’ve always taken a strategic approach to the business, but they’d never really worked with a coach or applied a framework. For the first two or three years, Ante said they had team members come and go and wasted time pursuing the wrong strategy.
Working with Anna helped us pull together a solid strategy which we used to form our application for the accelerator.
“It was perfect timing,” says Ante. “Working with Anna helped us pull everything together and when we applied to the accelerator, they were looking at like – you guys have everything in place – but realistically we’d only been working with Anna for a month and she helped us get it all in place!”
To scale successfully, you have to be delivering a product that the market needs and wants, no excuses.
For Good Thnx, Ante sees the result as a real testament to Anna’s tried and true process. Out of the 500 companies that applied to the accelerator, Good Thnx was one of only eleven to be accepted.
One of the comments many of Anna’s clients make is that her approach allows them to really cut through.
Anna lays out a strategy to implement the Scaling Up framework that propels them forward, rather than leaving them spinning their wheels, trying to work out which direction to turn.
This is exactly what Ante found working with Anna: “Having a proper structure and framework has been eye opening; Anna really takes it to another level.”
Building a good team has been a major focus for Good Thnx.
Bringing in A-players is vitally important, no matter what stage of business you are in.
As entrepreneurs, Ante and Shannon had some experience already, but they also learnt a few lessons by trial and error, now having a wealth of knowledge behind them as a result.
A key differentiator for Anna is her ability to work with entrepreneurs, harnessing their passion while giving them a clear strategy to move forward. When it comes to the highly competitive software market, Anna believes in listening to the instant feedback delivered by the customer.
Good Thnx started out with one big, big hairy audacious goal: to be the world’s best gifting and recognition tool. It sounds crazy, right? Well, that’s what Ante and Shannon kept being told.
But then they met Anna, and she showed them how backing themselves and chasing down their goal was the only way to succeed. “When we met Anna, she said your goal needs to be set that high, and that inspired us,” says Ante.
“So, our ambition has gone back to where it needs to be. We want to send a billion dollars to charity by 2030. We want to have a billion pieces of gratitude, creating better workplaces and a better world!”
And being audacious worked. When Ante included those goals in the application to the accelerator program, it made a big impact on the selection committee.
Ante and Shannon were introduced to Anna through an investor who had worked with her and knew that she could produce some real results for Good Thnx.
Ante sees his investor’s endorsement as a testament to Anna’s proven process. And he understands that in the lean, mean world of start-ups, finding the cash to fund a business coach can be hard to justify.
But from Ante’s perspective, the ROI from working with Anna as a certified Scaling Up coach makes it worth pursuing.
Investors wanted to be onboard with an organisation that wasn’t afraid to shoot for the moon.
As he says, “If we hadn’t gone through the recent success that we have, you wouldn’t believe the results that Anna’s strategy has delivered.”
"Anna' is a champion. You don't often come across people with her enthusiasm and genuine interest in helping people. This is more than a job to her... it's her passion. Peter Salveson, CEO Hansen Yuncken.
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