GE 203: How the Co-Founders of Green Creative Went From Living in a Car to $40M in Sales in 5 Yrs (podcast) With Guillaume Vidal and Cole Zucker

Guillaume Vidal and Cole Zucker

Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Guillaume Vidal and Cole Zucker, co-founders of Green Creative, which provides high-performance LED lighting solutions to some of the largest companies in the world.

Tune in to hear Guillaume and Cole discuss the turning point that enabled Green Creative to go from $300K to $40M in sales in 5 years, the secret to their successful customer acquisition, how they base their commission structure, and why you should never underestimate industry relationships.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How the Co-Founders of Green Creative Went From Living in a Car to $40M in Sales in 5 Years TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:36 – Leave a review and rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 00:56 – Eric welcomes Guillaume Vidal and Cole Zucker
  • 01:44 – Guillaume grew up in the south of France and got into an exchange program in Hong Kong where he is currently working
    • 02:20 – Guillaume was first introduced to LED technology through decorative bulbs
    • 02:59 – He joined a lighting factory and learned about the staggering advancement of LED technology and believes it can replace everything else
    • 04:08 – Guillaume also learned that the big companies are not equipped to deal with LED technology
  • 05:02 – Cole is originally from New Jersey and he moved to Shanghai to learn Mandarin and got work in a factory
    • 05:50 – While at the factory, they kept hearing about LEDs, but the technology was not yet fully developed
    • 06:05 – Cole recognized the opportunity within the technology
    • 07:11 – Cole moved back to the U.S. and started building the business
  • 08:07 – Guillaume and Cole worked on improving their products and scaled those that were earning more
  • 08:55 – Their company earned $300,000 in sales during their first year to $40 million in sales in 2015
  • 09:02 – Customer acquisition is through sales representatives and distribution networks
    • 10:20 – The company got their sales reps by working with agents in different areas
    • 11:32 – The commission depends on the product
  • 12:05 – Some of the deals have reached more than a million dollars through distribution
  • 13:41 – Guillaume said they underestimated the task of working with their sales reps and focused more on developing products that were not offered by other big lighting companies
    • 14:06 – Some of the sales reps understood this and gave them a chance
    • 14:21 – Jerry Mix invested in their company in year two and leveraged his network
  • 15:15 – The company is still investing in product development and innovation and this has become their best marketing practice
  • 16:25 – The company has regional sales managers covering a number of states—they deal with training and helping sales reps
    • 17:44 – The company also provides sales tools, sample cases and the like for their sales reps
    • 18:06 – The sales reps have a base salary and commission and can also get a performance bonus
    • 19:22 – The base salary is around $100K and the commission is from 0-5% of the price of the product
  • 19:37 – What’s one big struggle you’ve faced while growing the business? We started completely bootstrapped and had difficulty raising funds
    • 20:02 – Guillaume and Cole were also focused on developing the product and not watching the sales numbers
    • 21:07 – At the beginning, they had problems getting loans and asked for a seed fund from family and friends, and the biggest investment was from Jerry Mix
    • 21:50 – They also found a bank that was focused on environmentally friendly businesses and got a credit line
  • 22:31 – Connect with Guillaume and Cole through the company’s LinkedIn

3 Key Points:

  1. Look for the opportunities where you can start your own business.
  2. Make a great product that people need.
  3. Aside from focusing on product development, you should pay close attention to your sales numbers and training your sales reps.

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