Emma Lo Russo

What to consider when launching a second business

Twice the risk or twice the opportunity? Emma Lo Russo tells us what to consider when launching a second business.

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Launching a business is never for the faint-hearted. To launch a second might from some angles seem unnecessarily stressful.

We obviously don’t think so.

With Digivizer now seven years old and established as a successful digital analytics technology business, employing over 50 people, with revenue growth of 290 per cent in the last financial year, we saw a new opportunity: to go after the esports and gaming business, worth an estimated $1.5 billion globally.

We did not decide to launch this second business, called goto.game, lightly. We started with data.

This is what Digivizer has been doing from day one for a range of organizations: helping them make decisions based on data, and deriving insights and value from the digital footprints of everyone (customers, consumers, influencers) who connect and engage around common
passions.

But to make any business successful, most of all I think you need intent. You have to want to commit 100 per cent to a new business. And creating a second business represents the largest-possible commitment.

In considering all these options, and then making this decision, here’s what I learnt:

● start with data to understand, and then lessen, the risk.

● if all the indicators are good, and the new business plays to your strengths, be sure that you actually will make a decision. If you’re not sure, don’t waste time on analysis and research, and just focus on your existing business

● be sure that you have the resources to run each business – success comes from focus, and you need to be crystal clear about the goals you are chasing, and about holding your teams accountable for achieving those goals

● by all means have assumptions as your sparks, but be rigorous. Test and measure your assumptions and hold yourself to account for your decisions. And this is not a one-off exercise: it’s a process of continuous test and learn

● identify which centralized systems (IT, HR, finance) can be shared between the two entities and ensure they have the capacity to support multiple businesses – if you already have these, this can be a cost-effective way to launch any new venture

● use your talent: (in our case we know gaming because we hired a specialist team which does)

● look for gaps in the market – and in particular, if your existing work identifies one, take the initiative because you will likely have a start over your competitors

● once you’re ready to make a decision, make it quickly. The worst thing is to make no decision at all – far worse even than making a wrong one, or to spread yourself too thinly

Finally, back yourself: you’ve done it once, so you can probably do it for a second time!

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