Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gopal RajGuru, Managing Director of Innovate+Grow Group Sàrl, located in Geneva, Switzerland.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Innovate+Grow Group is a consulting, coaching, and training firm specializing in sales performance improvement, leadership development, and customer co-innovation programs custom-designed for each client with whom we work. We deliver programs in 15+ languages through a network of 30+ partners in EMEA, APAC, and the Americas.

Tell us about yourself

As a sales professional since 1980 in various industries, sales is in my blood, and helping our clients implement the methods, tools + concepts that help them improve their customer engagement to win more deals is a great passion of mine and my partners at Innovate+Grow Group. We believe that great salespeople never sell... they help their customers to buy! It's a small twist in words but a complete change of mindset, and that's what we help implement.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Working with clients like SAP, Wärtsilä, Sika, Holcim, SICK, Huber+Suhner, Freudenberg, Chubb, CGI, Bürkert, Neutrik, Vaisala, Valio, Vetter Pharma, and many, many others to help them create a more effective customer engagement process and successfully implement it in their day-to-day business to achieve the results they seek... that's my accomplishment. Doing it successfully since 1995 as a boutique consulting firm is another.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Manning all the aspects of the business from sales, program development, delivery, partner management, and of course, all the administrative work that goes with running a business. Luckily I have good help (my wife) who handles all the really tough stuff so I can focus on winning new clients, developing and delivering programs.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Use the «double-S» model for start-up by continuing your day job while you set up and start working the new business to win clients, and once the new business revenue curve crosses the current day job, then make the transition (or start with enough reserve cash that you can afford to work in the new business and set-up all that needs to be without earning much - or anything at all - for a few months in the beginning).
  2. Get good help - like accountants, lawyers, and the like to set up the business and all of the key systems correctly in the beginning. It costs a bit of money and takes a bit of time, but it avoids the problem and [double or triple] expense of having to fix it later. Keep the good help so you can focus on the things about which you are passionate.
  3. Remember that you must continue to fill the pipeline with new opportunities while you are busy doing what you love ➙ delivering client work on the things you enjoy doing most, the passion that started your business. This avoids the «saw blade» revenue stream that drops to zero between projects as you search for and win new deals and makes it more consistent (and less nerve-wracking for you and your family).

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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