E110 - Eric Ludwig at RISE Technologies

Harry Green
Eric Ludwig

By Harry Green & Eric Ludwig

This Tuesday, our Head of Enterprise USA, was joined by Eric Ludwig, the Co-Founder at RISE Technologies Advisors. Eric talks to Harry about what inspired him to create his own firm, as well as everything you need to know when starting your own business. They discuss everything from where to start with your go-to-market strategy, to where you should be investing your money.

Starting a business from the ground up requires a journey to that point and for Eric, his journey began at AT&T. He worked there for a large chunk of his career 12 years as an international specialist and then moved to CDW helping build out their integrated services team where he remained for another 12 years of his career.

The start of RISE…

What they do at RISE is a natural progression from what he was doing at CDW. They built this great network of partners and found that he is doing the same as what he was doing at CDW based on the same partners and tech suppliers, so it was an easy step in that regard.

When it comes to the trials and tribulations of starting up RISE, it came down to the business side. When it comes to tech, they are experts of course but the whole rigmarole of building a firm, which has nothing to do with tech and everything to do with business, finance, tax laws, contract work etc. Something that stands out for Eric is that he has learned about starting up a company, he comments: “Just because someone doesn’t respond immediately doesn’t mean they’re not interested”.

But how do you win people over with a brand-new company when there are so many large names out there? First things first, you need to have a plan to go to the market. Here are so many avenues now to promote and present to the broader market that doesn’t cost, for example, LinkedIn. When you hear about a company or client, you automatically will go to LinkedIn and find out everything you need to know about them and that is just one example of a great resource.

RISE took a 3-pronged approach with its strategy, the first being focusing on its warm market. These are the relationships they built in the past, people who will pick up the phone when you call because you did right by them for many years and will continue to do so. Their second approach was building out a referral network. These are people they trust who have relationships with other people that can broker them into. This is critically important, and with that comes marketing through available channels like LinkedIn. Their final approach is the ‘Top of Funnel’ marketing strategy. These are the opportunities that come to you without you having to chase them such as blogs, promotions (The Route to Networking), YouTube, campaigns etc. you need to have multiple avenues to market to leverage your existing relationships and use public resources that are available to you.

The biggest challenge he’s facing at RISE is that he no longer works for a recognisable brand. He can’t just walk in the door and say he works for a big name who everyone knows. For clients he’s never met or isn’t familiar with, he needs to ensure he credentials himself as a subject matter expert based on a firm they haven’t heard of.

Eric shares what skills he has learnt starting a new business as well as what’s next for them at RISE, tune in now to listen to the full episode.