Meet Achille Traore, the founder of Top Screen Media, a business that provides a unique forum for communication, ticket sales and entertainment through the medium of digital media kiosk terminals in strategic locations.
As an ex-footballer whose career was cut shot by injury, his story is one of overcoming adversity and reinvention.
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1. Tell us a little bit about your background?
My background is in professional sport, I played pro-football for a number of years and following injury obtained a Master in International business and Economics from Stockholm University and turned my hand to business.
2. Tell us how you started your business particularly how you planned it and funded it?
I identified a gap in the rapidly growing Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) advertising market by adding an attractive sports element and offering customer instant interaction and purchase through self service terminals. I was well placed to exploit this market using my knowledge of and experience in the sports club sector. To date the company has been funded by myself and also recently supported by strategically selected investors.
3. How long have you been in business?
Nearly 4 years
4. Did you know how you were going to make money with it? How did you do it?
I knew how I was going to generate revenue but as a new company with a new concept the challenges was initially to overcome the skepticism. After successful implementations and secured contracts with major sport clubs, venues and advertising organisations, we achieved credibility which has help to speed up the sales process and provided us with positive case studies. We now have a good reputation on the market, a flexible model and a can do attitude that is appreciated by clients.
5. What was your inspiration?
I come from an entrepreneurial and encouraging family and was inspired by my dad who has his own business. My previous employer who was a very good business man was also a great inspiration and I was part of taking a new product to market and took it from £0 to 3.5M in 15 months.
I enjoyed business as a young kid and did projects like paying to pick strawberries and then resell them at the market for twice the cost. I also started a small scale chicken farm at home and sold the eggs to our neighbours at the ages of 12.
6. What was your highest moment?
I believe our highest moment is yet to come and 2013 is when it will happen.
However signing contracts with Land Securities and Leeds United after less than a year’s trading where good moments.
7. Were you ever scared? How did you overcome it?
No, I’ve always believed in Top Screen Media and what I was doing and with the economical downturn I knew we had to be even more innovative then the competition. Coming from a background of a competitive sport such as football makes business & sales seem relatively straight forward.
8. What is the most important skill you had to learn to enable you achieve your business goals?
Research, Planning, Sales, Sales, Sales
Without sales there is no business
9. What is the most important lesson you learned along the way?
Things always take longer than you think! Make sure you manage expectations and keep your cash flow in a sustainable position.
10. What piece of advice do you have for business owners out there?
If you’ve done your research and planning properly, be persistent and don’t give up unless you have a very good reason to. Source partnerships and explore synergies with potential partners to achieve faster growth and to potentially avoid re-inventing the wheel.