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25 min listen

Work in Progress Episode 3 – Collaborate or Die

Are you a smart collaborator? This week on the podcast, we talk through the various ways you can team up with partners, fans, even rivals, to supercharge growth.

Joining host Bex Burn-Callander in the studio this week are four business owners, who have each used collaboration to great effect in their ventures:

Jessie Ford is an illustrator and designer, who has launched two studios: Sugar Snap and Jessie Ford Illustration.

Alan Mahon is co-founder of Brewgooder, a brewery that invests 100pc of profit into providing clean water in developing nations around the world.

Rushina Shah is the entrepreneur behind popped sorghum brand Not.Corn, a new snack to rival popcorn.

Lisa Doole is founder of food tech business Tap App, a mobile ordering service that lets you skip queues at your favourite venues.

Brewgooder’s business model has relied on collaboration from the outset. Its beers are made under contract by Brewdog, the Ellon-based Scottish brewery that produces best-selling brand Punk IPA.

“We have an ambitious mission and I couldn’t wait to go from a bathtub to a shed, shed to a garage, garage to an industrial unit,” explains Alan. “We knew we had to team up with a brewery who could bring really good beer to the market, quickly and scalably.”

Sole founders Rushina and Lisa believe that bouncing ideas off each other has made them far more confident in their decision-making. Even though Tap App and Not.Corn are very different ventures, the two founders are able to collaborate and share skills and experience.

Lisa explains: “We have very different skill sets which is great. Rushina helps me with anything to do with branding or routes to market. Whereas my background is in finance, so if Rushina’s looking at an investment document or working out her cashflow, I can help.”

“Don’t be afraid to offer some things for free,” recommends Jessie. “I always work on passion projects when things are quiet and, recently, a magazine wanted to use some of those illustrations. I said, ‘No problem’ but asked if they would be willing to do a story about me in exchange. They ended up writing a six-page feature that was printed all over the world.”

Listen to the episode for more detail on how to collaborate, the difference between “hard” and “soft” collaborations, and the benefits of working with a wide range of different organisations and perspectives.

And join us next time for Part 2 of Collaborate or Die, when we delve into the crazy world of influencer marketing and talk through the potential downsides of the partnership model.

The views and opinions expressed by any individuals interviewed or participating in our Work in Progress podcasts are their own and do not represent the views or opinions of Asto.”

Bex Burn-Callandar headshot

Bex Burn-Callander on twitter


Jessie Ford  | Alan Mahon | Rushina Shah | Lisa Doole

Some extra reading:

Five ways to be your own PR firm | Don’t forget to look after your mental health

Additional listening:

The trouble of being a nobody | Life outside the London bubble

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