The first rule of being a tech CEO is there are no rules.

Last week my startup Social Plug celebrated its biggest-ever contract win – but it wouldn’t have happened without a bit of help from the author Simon Sinek.

First, a recap.

We know that clients get a 6.7x return on their ad spend when they use our services and I’m currently testing a few outreach strategies to get that message out there.

Firstly, a LinkedIn networking campaign. Testing our ideal customer’s personas by nurturing them onto a sales call. Finding out what keeps them up at night. Discovering their biggest problems and how Social Plug could be positioned to provide a solution.

Once we’ve identified the biggest pain points for each of of our customers we then leverage this pain to create a targeted sales pitch using LinkedIn.

Again, nurturing our customers on to a call using a personalised email automation tool called Lemlist. It’s described as a sales automation and cold email software in one and it’s seriously smart.

Anyway, last week we encountered a proverbial ‘bump in the road’ when a well-known tech giant turned down our submission to be verified.

Problems like this will resonate with other business owners but while talking it through I realised that my team’s priorities and tasks did not align with our vision.

It’s a natural reaction to disappointment but we were in danger of losing our mojo.

I did some research and discovered that I was focusing on the ‘what’ rather than the ‘why’, as Simon Sinek describes in his bestselling book Start With Why.

The result was I had an epiphany that reshaped my vision for Social Plug.

We help brands scale by converting social media users into loyal customers. This is done by combining our influencer platform and a paid media service to help brands scale rapidly.

Once we discovered our ‘why’ we were able to define our brand values and the criteria of business we choose to work with.

Then we put what we learnt to the test in a call with the owner of a Manchester beauty salon, who was seeking to get an increase in footfall after the challenge of COVID-19.


Instead of pitching Social Plug’s features like I usually do, I actively listened and visioned the call as a digital consultation.

By doing this I was able to identify their problems and provide a tailored social media solution in line with our service offerings. This understanding resulted in our biggest contract win to date.

Now every time we start a project we ask ourselves one question: Why?

We now have complete transparency on every project and each of our tasks. This way of thinking has now enabled Social Plug to simplify our story in order to hit our targets.

Clearly one swallow doesn’t make a summer, but it was a really good lesson to learn.

Why I swapped acting to be a tech CEO