May 31, 2020
In this episode, I interview
Christopher Stenhouse, the Co-Founder and former CEO of Switch
Media, one of the world leaders in OTT (internet) content
streaming. Switch Media designs, develops and delivers tailored IP
video solutions for a diverse range of industries Christopher
started the company back in 2006 when he was 43 with two other
founders, just after quitting a mid-level management role at
Telstra. Some of their 30 clients include Foxtel, The Australian
Government (Including helping two Prime Ministers create videos for
their campaigns), and AVC Media, who they built the original video
14 years on, they now have a
team of 90, $15 Million in annual revenue, a growth of 20% to 30%
per annum, and 4 offices across Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and
the UK. He undertook professional development through negotiation
training at INSEAD MBA, the number one business school in Europe.
Before stepping down as CEO in 2018, he put a heavy focus on sales
leadership, especially since the other founders had those skills.
He emphasizes the need for communication in every business and
recommends hiring people one likes over people with more skills
because nice people can be trained.
He believes the hardest thing in
growing a small business is, “When you’re small, you’re nimble and
quick to pivot, but as you get bigger, you need processes and
structures. Find a way to handle your larger distributed team
without losing your nimbleness.” The advice he would give himself
on day one is, “Focusing on what is important, not urgent, and stay
alert to what’s changing in your broader market. Be ready to pivot
in case it does, and it almost definitely will.” Stay tuned for
more of his actionable advice on how to grow a small business into
a hugely successful and profitable giant.
This Cast Covers:
- Starting a worldwide successful online video
B2B SaaS business.
mid-level manager at Telstra to taking on a lifelong interest and
thriving at it.
their business survived during the global financial
- Growing the company from nothing to $15 Million
in revenues over a ten year period.
- Expanding into international markets and
establishing offices in those locations.
- Helping Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard create
YouTube-style campaign videos and seeing a million dollars for the
- Success in having a profitable business and a
team that loves what they do.
efficiency in self-funding the business through personal savings
and investments from family members.
Christopher would have done if he had a huge chunk of funding when
starting out in business.
most stressful point in their small business growth
importance of having a shareholders’ agreement before starting out
in a partnership business.
- Demonstrating consistency as a business owner
and the impact that has on employees.
- Improving on his sales skills to contribute
more to the company’s overall success and the learning experience
that it was.
- How a
business owner loses contact with their team members when their
business grows bigger.
difference between the business that a business owner starts and
the one that they end up running.
value in recognizing the difference between an urgent task and an
HR Tip: Growing from zero to 90 staff by employing people they
role of communication in building a sustainable and kickass
- Getting an MBA in France and being able to
successfully apply it in business.
invaluable nature of having an independent board of
process of stepping out of the CEO role while still staying on as a
power of a robust cashflow forecast in growing a small
- Focusing on the important tasks, staying alert
to what’s happening in the broader market, and being ready to pivot
the business if the wind changes.
Music from https://filmmusic.io
"Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC