We speak to Matt Doyle, founder of now-global computer software business, Array, to find out how he took his idea to launch and scale.
“We have had many setbacks over the years, and will no doubt have many more. My experiences have made me resilient - we don’t allow those challenging moments to stop us in our tracks; we remain focused on making the best product we can.”
Matt Doyle knows that the success of his businesses was neither overnight, or easy. Building sustainable businesses and raising investment for growth isn’t something every founder wants from their startup. But for this founder, the path to scale has taught him a lot about failure and resilience when running your own business.
We spoke to Matt from his new home in Texas, where he moved with his family when his business was growing internationally. What started with a Start Up Loan in the UK is now a global software company with a 7-figure valuation.
What can Matt teach budding founders with ambitions of starting up and growing a business from scratch? Here’s his toolkit for growth:
For founders looking to start up: Don’t work too hard at being ‘unique’
“It’s not necessarily about a ‘great idea’. Your startup can be using an existing idea, but create a better version or solution. I speak to a lot of people who spend too much time trying to be ‘unique’. It’s hard to think of a completely original idea!
“The best advice I can give is to act. Just do it. Measure your success, but don’t be disheartened by a setback, or by a competitor who may be a little further up the road than you are.
For founders looking to scale: Don’t hold off - go for it
“Too many people hold off if their product is at the conceptual level. I advise not to do that: sell what you have; get pre-orders; speak to investors; create a buzz.
“This process provides the essential feedback you’ll need to develop your product. Seek out partners with common client bases - this will open opportunities for partnerships to form.
“The current product does not need to be your final vision before you tell people about it - that will come in time.”
For founders wearing too many hats: Personal growth as a busy founder is still possible
“The Array team has grown a lot over the last 12 months. As a result, I do find it harder to make time for personal growth. My day is swallowed up with calls, liaising with investors and the general admin of being a CEO.
“However, I do take time to catch up with my network; meeting for a coffee where I can. I find the best relationships have developed through random meetings - nothing planned; no sales intent. Just exchanging experiences with like-minded people can bring opportunities and growth.
So, what are Matt’s definitive tips for founders in 2021?
Think big, start now
“Basically: just do it. Don’t wait until the product is perfect; get it out there.”
Listen hard, change fast
“This means you should learn and change. Make sure your company is agile and can change course quickly if needed. This is essential right now.”
Read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
“It’s a great book for anyone starting out. It sets you on the right path.”
As Matt sets off on another rewarding 12 months of fundraising, and a move to a larger office in Austin, Texas, if he looks back to where he began, what inspired him to just go for it? To stand by the values he inspires other founders with today?
“Many years ago, I worked for an event company and was offered a gig where I had to promote a book called Business Stripped Bare - by none other than Richard Branson.
“Once the event had finished, Richard, who is always very generous with his time, offered me and the team copies of the book.
“He asked me about myself. I told him about my vision for Array and how I worked full-time; that developing the business alongside my job was proving difficult. He turned to me and said: “Just do it!”. He signed the book for me with the words: ‘Matt, ‘JUST DO IT’.’
“That day, I quit my job and started working on my startup.”
Find out how a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp could kickstart your business today.