11 April 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Mike Rhodes is an award-winning consultancy manager and the founding director of ConsultMyApp (CMA). His vision for the company is simple – to make every App they work with the best it can be. Mike has 15 years of experience working in marketing & data, with 8 years specifically focused on mobile marketing.
Having set up CMA 4 years ago, he has since grown the team to over 35 world-class consultants (and counting) across the areas of User Acquisition, App Store Optimisation and CRM.
Can you tell us a little about your background, your company and how did the idea come to you for the company?
Having worked in the mobile marketing space for a couple of Silicon Valley start-ups, I had a good feel for the app landscape and where the holes were in a company’s app marketing knowledge (even within some of the world’s largest brands). Using this experience, I decided to go it alone and create ConsultMyApp to provide expert app guidance in an agnostic & impartial fashion.
Most importantly I saw many issues with other “agencies” in the market and it was incredibly important, given my consultancy background, that we engaged with our clients much more like Accenture or Deloitte do than your typical marketing agency.
At CMA, I’m proud that we’re much more involved with our clients. We embed ourselves into their industry, get to know their team (as people not just clients), know their internal processes, and make ourselves available through Slack so they can chat whenever they like with us. That accessibility and openness are key factors towards a conducive partnership!
How did you achieve awareness?
It was very much me, myself, and I for the first 12 months, both servicing clients and trying to secure new business at the same time. At that point, it was incredibly hard to pay the rent, let alone gain market awareness! However, thanks to a great network of connections that I had built over the previous 10 years or so, and a few companies willing to take a chance on a start-up (me), I eventually managed to establish some more long-term contracts and start to employ people into the business to support growth. However, in the first few years, awareness was very much down to existing clients and word-of-mouth.
It’s really only in the past 2 years that we’ve achieved a much better market awareness through event sponsorship, our outbound sales team and, of course, winning a few marketing awards along the way!
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
The company is entirely self-funded, starting from less than £5k I had saved in a bank account. It’s thanks to the amazing professional team I have around me that we have achieved an incredibly high client retention rate, substantial account growth and of course new client acquisition, that we’ve been able to do this. I’ve seen companies obsess about funding too early on rather than focus on the importance of building something amazing first.
This, of course, doesn’t apply to every company, but if you’re prepared to put the hard yards in and grow organically, you can achieve all of this without taking external funding. Yes, when we come to international expansion we may need to consider investment, but because the business is highly profitable and rapidly growing this opens up other avenues for funding that don’t require me to release equity from the business. Funding is great and might make things easier, but building a solid, profitable company with a great service/product first is much more important. The rest can follow.
What are some of the key successes ConsultMyApp has made?
Signing large international brands from King.com and Telefonica to Deliveroo, William Hill, Sega, Hepsiburada and BetAmerica (to name a few) – that’s definitely something I’m incredibly proud of achieving for a small company.
Of course, the largest success is the team of people I have accumulated – I honestly don’t believe that anywhere in the world there exists a team of such talent, knowledge, and experience in the mobile marketing space. This team is key to our success as they repeat incredible results time and time again, and this success sells itself in my view.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
The biggest challenge has been evolving from a one-person contractor to an actual business with employees. The key to this was to become flexible, dedicate time to identifying new business opportunities (rather than just focusing 100% on delivery) and, most importantly, to adapt my business model from being one-off projects to ongoing retainers.
The monthly recurring revenue stream definitely allowed me to escape from the never-ending pattern of deliver-sell-deliver-sell and grow out several clients with a reliable income that enabled my first recruitment to happen.
What are your plans now/for the future?
There is some very exciting stuff we’re working on behind the scenes that will be coming out this year – safe to say it will be a real game-changer in the app marketing industry (I’m excited thinking about it!); however, that’s under wraps for now. Otherwise, we are going to continue the expansion of our wonderful services team and I’m committed to continuing to hire only exceptional people at the top of their game that are very comfortable working in a consultancy-led engagement style.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
I would say make sure you’re in the right position both personally and professionally in your life. Too early and you might not have the experience that will help you grow for success, but too late and you might find you have incompatible family commitments (after all you’ll have to bring them with you on this journey!).
But, assuming you’re comfortable you can dedicate most waking moments to the business, just do it. The longer you sit around the more likely your window of opportunity will close and you’ll kick yourself. And of course, running your own business isn’t for everyone so don’t feel you have to do it, there are plenty of successful people that have carved out great reputations working for others.
Can you share your top 5-10 tips for entrepreneurial success?
- Never slack off. You’re always on when you run a business and if something has fallen to you and you don’t do it, it simply won’t get done.
- Don’t feel bad about rejection. No matter how amazing your product/service is, you can’t sell it to everyone! These rejections can be incredibly useful to refining your value proposition and improving your pitch for next time.
- Do not focus on growth over profit. Too many times have I seen businesses seeking growth and international expansion before they even have a successful and profitable product/service, let alone one they can scale at the speed required for big investment. Remember, if you run a company that’s turning a profit, you’re already more successful than Uber which continues to make a loss (last year’s accounts show it’s still hundreds of millions in the red…)
- Build a team of great people. In the early days, it might be easier to settle for ‘average’ people as they come at the right salary point, but it will turn out to be a false economy. Try really hard to increase your salary offering to attract some good talent and remember you’re going to have to pay a premium as a small start-up as you’re an unproven quantity and people are taking a risk in joining you at that stage! This doesn’t just mean these people can do the job, but they’ve got to get along so make sure you vet their social skills as much as their professional qualifications.
- Build for profitability and longevity. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but there are plenty of companies that have taken hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and failed. Personally, I’d rather be a long-standing Ford or a Citigroup that continue to employ hundreds of thousands of people and will be around for many years to come, than say a long-forgotten MySpace or Secret. If the business is solid, the possibilities of funding, acquisition or even an IPO will eventually come at the right time and with the right terms!
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most? and why?
I’m going to amaze you here – I don’t follow anyone on social media. In fact, I find there’s quite a lot in life that (if you let it) just adds noise and distracts you from the important stuff. I definitely avoid trying to measure myself up against the success of others (not least because I’m only 5’6”) – you can’t control what others are doing, only what you’re working on, so stick to that. Anyway, just because I don’t follow people on social media it doesn’t mean I don’t have people that I see who inspire me:
- My dad. Yes, as nauseating and cliché as it might sound, he really is. He ran a car repair & MOT garage for a large portion of his life (despite being a qualified nuclear safety engineer) just to support the family. The fact he was able to do that and supported a family from it gave me the confidence that I could actually run my own business and not end up on the streets!
- Alan Turing – A man ahead of his time who was discriminated against and treated terribly by the very country that he helped save. His computer science efforts and ingenuity whilst codebreaking at Bletchley Park were truly inspirational. An inspiration that’s now proudly the face of the £50 note… now to get hold of one of them!
- The Queen – A powerful woman who delivers a lesson in the art of restraint. She’s also responsible for trying to broker peace in a very troubled family whilst being in the public eye and under intense scrutiny for the past 70 years or so. Not easy.
- Caroline Aherne – A fellow northerner who really managed the impossible by sharing northern life with the entire UK through the Royle Family (amongst countless other comedic performances). An incredibly strong, intelligent woman who sadly passed away before she managed to share more of her humour and creative genius.
- Brian Cox – A northern bloke who is masterful in his articulation of complex ideas in a way that make them accessible and interesting to everyone. A skill I value above all others in my profession.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
I’m not particularly religious, but I often recall the Serenity Prayer in my head when things are challenging “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”
What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?
LinkedIn all the way for me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelrhodes1/
Our website can be found here: www.consultmyapp.com