Simon Slade | Founder of SaleHoo
Success leaves clues.
Finance Strategists sat down with Simon Slade, founder of SaleHoo. He shared his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the mission that led him to start the business.
Who is Simon Slade?
Q: Who are you and what’s your background?
I was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. I graduated from Griffith University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Business Management and a degree in marketing. As an online seller on TradeMe, New Zealand’s local auction site, I received many inquiries about where I found my suppliers. I saw the opportunity to help others jumpstart their online sales gigs and developed the concept for SaleHoo, an online directory of verified wholesale suppliers. I partnered up with Mark Ling, and when SaleHoo amassed 10,000 members in just eight months, we used that momentum to launch Mark’s business idea, Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal. From there, we built the parent company, Doubledot Media Limited. I’m also a co-founder of Smtp2Go, an email delivery service.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?
Pretty hard to choose a single “biggest” influence. I’d have to say my two co-founders have had the most significant effect on me as a professional. Charles Abrahamson, my co-founder at SMTP2GO, and Mark Ling at SaleHoo and Affilorama. Over nearly two decades, those two have constantly inspired me to be more creative and challenge myself to expand our companies. They give me the confidence that I have someone on the path with me, but they’re also not afraid to question and challenge me. They make me a better entrepreneur every day.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?
I’ve had this question before and my answer is always the same, because it’s so integral and vital to business success. If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice in the early days of my companies (even before they’d launched), I’d tell myself to gather more data. Valuable metrics can always be collected on an industry and a business, no matter how small or new it is. Specifically, the more information you can collect on your specific company—market research, sales units, revenue, or even subjective feedback from customers or potential customers—the more you can grow, adapt and improve your business. We collected data early for our companies, but we could’ve started earlier and we could’ve been more intentional about the type of data we collected. So that’s the advice I’d give my former self.
Q: What is SaleHoo?
SaleHoo is, first and foremost, a research tool for online entrepreneurs, including dropshippers, wholesalers, and e-commerce stores. The SaleHoo supplier directory features more than 8,000 verified wholesale and dropship suppliers that have been personally reviewed by our team and more than 1.6 million recognizable, branded products at great prices that will ensure a profit. Members also benefit from 24/7 support from our staff and fellow entrepreneurs in our online community, as well as free training resources on all aspects of starting and growing an online business. SaleHoo is a multi-purpose tool for serious online sellers.
Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?
A few things. First off, membership at SaleHoo is affordable, whereas many directory membership fees are cost-preventative for new business owners who have a tight budget. Furthermore, we know SaleHoo works, so we’ve made it risk-free for folks who want to try it. Every purchase is backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee.
But, perhaps most importantly, SaleHoo puts everything a new online business owner needs in one place. Rather than jumping from site to site and managing a bunch of different memberships, all your tools and resources are centralized and organized. This allows you to be streamlined and effective in your business operations, which ultimately decreases your work time and increases your profit!
Q: What led you to start SaleHoo?
I touched on this above. SaleHoo is the result of my personal experience with what an online seller needs. I’ve been in the shoes of everyone who uses or wants to use our services. I recognize, firsthand, exactly what will help online business owners grow and create a profit. I really struggled in a variety of ways when I was selling online via TradeMe: finding suppliers in the first place was hard, but finding legitimate, quality suppliers who would work with a small business was even harder. Finding an appropriate niche that was going to work and make money was also a challenge. With SaleHoo, we try to cover all those bases in one simple membership.
Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned while building SaleHoo, Affilorama, and Doubledot Media is that anyone is capable of being their own boss and creating a business they are proud of. That’s our primary motivation with these companies—we want entrepreneurs to be able to create the life they dream about. When given the right tools, enterprising people with great ideas can build services and products that make our lives easier and better. I’m really passionate about that, and building my businesses has brought that passion to the forefront for me. I believe everyone deserves a well-balanced, fulfilling life, and building your own business is a really great path to that satisfaction.
Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?
We feel good about what we’re doing at SaleHoo and we want to keep doing it. We’ll continue to help small and medium businesses grow and succeed online, with a strong focus on automating manual tasks, as this is a great way to improve efficiency and streamline operations. No plans to retire just yet!