For many, breaking free of the 8-5 grind means freedom to manage your own schedule and be your own boss. Simon Slade, CEO and co-founder of SaleHoo, helps more than 100,000 members worldwide achieve this goal by connecting them with prescreened suppliers of over 1.5 million products to sell online.
Why did you start your business?
The idea for SaleHoo arose through my work for New Zealand’s local online auction site Trade Me. After receiving multiple inquiries about how I find suppliers, I realized the need for an outlet for online retailers to shop for trusted suppliers. I then joined forces with Mark Ling, an Internet marketing entrepreneur, to create the SaleHoo Wholesale Directory, which reached 10,000 members just eight months after its creation. From there, we launched Doubledot Media Limited, which is now the parent company of both SaleHoo and Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal with free video lessons and paid premium products.
How did you come up with your business name?
To be honest, we were just playing around with a few ideas and then “SaleHoo” came up, and everyone seemed to like it. It sounded catchy, the domain name was available, so we got it. The rest is history!
What are some future plans for SaleHoo?
We plan to more deeply integrate SaleHoo with the suppliers listed in the directory. Customers will be able to contact suppliers directly through the site, receive instant quotes for products, and send stock to fulfillment centers. I would also like to see SaleHoo integrated with the top sales channels, such as eBay, Amazon and other online stores, so customers can source and sell through SaleHoo as a “single solution.”
What advice would you give to those who want to start a business?
One strategy that is most integral to my success is, “Build it, test it, learn from it, fix it. Then rinse and repeat as fast as possible!” This process allows you to try a lot of different things, check there is market validation early on and improve without spending too much time in development wasting money. The occasions that I haven’t followed this (and there have been a few!) have more often than not resulted in a failed product or feature.
What are some future trends in e-commerce?
In e-commerce’s future, I see personalization, convergence of on and offline retail, and mobile as three future trends. As opposed to generic product or sales offers, websites will begin to tailor their promotions to each individual customer. In alignment with personalization of sales, convergence of on and offline retail is going to become more important within e-commerce, namely with near field communication (NFC). With the spread of NFC, we will begin to see far more offline stores targeting customers with specific offers and deals when they walk near or enter stores. Granted the mobile trend is already present, but I believe it will grow far bigger and faster than it already has to date.
Why is New Zealand a good place to start a business?
New Zealand is a great place to start a business. The key reason is that we are able to see the world, and especially consumers, from a different perspective being outside the mainstream English-speaking market of the United States, yet we still share similar beliefs and values. Our government is very pro-business, which is great for starting companies. I believe New Zealanders also share a knack for thinking outside the box.
Simon Slade is the CEO and co-founder of SaleHoo, an online wholesale directory of over 8,000 prescreened suppliers, and Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal with 200,000 members, and these companies' parent company, Doubledot Media Limited. Prior to, Slade worked as a sales representative for Sellagence Limited and South Island territory manager for Hewlett-Packard after graduating from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Business Management and a bachelor’s in marketing. In his spare time, he serves as vice president of the Mt. Pleasant Squash Club, and he enjoys snowboarding and discussing startups.