"Felix Velarde is an entrepreneur and the public face of several pioneering digital and CRM agencies. Most recently, this has included his position as chairman at CRM strategy firm Underwired and CEO of an experimental multi-agency collaboration called The Conversation Group."
1. What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
I really enjoy being able to shape what I do. Being an entrepreneur allows me to design a business around a problem I want to solve or a thing I want to change. I then get the freedom to change what we are doing based on practical evidence of what clients want. It means we can be really responsive to the market.
There is a lot of joy in helping people be successful, and my company 2Y3X is entirely built around delivering business success. So there’s a lot of joy in my work life which comes from being free to get things wrong so we can steadily improve what we do.
2. How do you see “Scale at Speed” best helping entrepreneurs?
Scale at Speed is the manual for the 2Y3X program, which is a commercial growth accelerator. We’ve been really successful delivering scale for businesses that got stuck, and we’ve been doing it for six years now. So Scale at Speed provides the framework for defining the future of your business when it’s actually scalable, and gives you the instructions for each step of the journey so you can easily get there.
It’s really aimed at the 1.5m – 10m annual revenue business leader. It works perfectly for someone who has hit a plateau and wants to break through and grow safely and surely. Every critical planning tool is included, all the best practice is in there, covering everything – hiring superstars, heading off risk, competitive differentiation, KPIs setting, team engagement and so on. It is designed to be a “how to" for creating companies that can triple in size in a couple of years.
3. What is your relationship with writing and/or books? Do you like to read or write the most?
I’ve always loved writing, and I’ve been doing that and speaking and so on since my early days as one of the founders of digital marketing in 1994. Writing a book is much, much harder. Someone listened to an interview of me in the UK and suggested I write Scale at Speed, then Hachette picked it up once it was finished – but it took three years to complete!
I once went on a speed reading course and learned how to devour business books (novels are to be taken slowly!). I’ve read maybe 3-400 but most of them are just not memorable. So when I set out to write Scale at Speed I very deliberately filled it with practical information, not just the ‘what’ or ‘why’ stuff most business books deal with, but also the ‘how’. I really wanted this to be useful.
4. If there is one message you want to make sure people understand from your book, what would it be?
Set a heroic goal and the heroes will step forward; write a plan to achieve it; then follow the plan one step after the other and you’ll get there. Being a great entrepreneur isn’t about how you do business, it’s about how much you want to change the world. The business bit you can get from the book. Your vision is the thing that’s unique to you.
5. What does your ideal writing environment look like?
I use Scrivener on a MacBookPro, usually sitting in my armchair with headphones on, listening to something gentle and lyric-free.
6. What are you most proud of in your business career?
Great question. Surviving my first career as a serial founder and CEO with my reputation intact. Having been part of the small group of people who defined digital marketing right at the very start of it all. And I did a few things I look back on with real pride: I had an agency in the late 1990s where everyone had a day off each week for their own creative work (part of Head-Space, which I co-created with my partner, which Forbes described as one of the world’s ten most influential websites), the culture there was electric. And I love the people I work with now at 2Y3X – we’ve got colleagues we’ve never met, as far afield as London, California and Dubai. It’s a smart, generous and empathic bunch of people and they are without exception brilliant.
7. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
I’ve never really had it. I get occasional bouts of procrastination and the solution to that is to go for a few days in an empty house or hotel and hit the keyboard until I’ve done ten thousand words.
8. What’s the best book you have read this year so far?
’Scarcity, or why having so little means so much’ by Mulainathan and Shafir. It’s a brilliant lesson in humility and makes us realize how lucky we are, and why it is so important to create a positive social impact with whatever you do.
9. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
I was given an incredible gift by my parents: my name, Felix, means happy and lucky in Latin. So I have tried very hard to live up to my name.
10. Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
Yes. I have two in the works. The first is a volume of best practice case studies of Scale at Speed solutions which have been developed by businesses that have been through the 2Y3X program. There are so many great examples and I think having real case studies for each module in the book will be incredibly useful. The second is a book about the methodology we’ve used for the past ten years or so to develop value propositions in a really simple, long-lasting way. Again, incredibly practical.
Part of the reason I want to write them is that I would love it if entrepreneurs could be freed of the trial and error part taken up by business growth, so they can get on with figuring out how to change the world for the better. That’s what makes what we all do so exhilarating.
Places To Find More From This Author:
Linkedin: Felix Velarde
Get Your Copy of Scale at Speed Today!