GPAccelerator Teams Get Business Development Tips From Saleh Anam

The 3rd batch of GPAccelerator is going on full-fledged and teams have come a long way in the last 2 and half months. Along with the seed-fund and work space in GP House, every week the top 6 teams are learning about different topics from expert mentors. The sessions effectively guide the startups for the success in the long run.

This week Saleh Anam, Senior Vice President at MasterCard came in as a mentor. He is an executive in the payment industry. Along with that, he is an angel investor, start-up enthusiast, and a speaker. He has about 20 years of broad functional experience in Business Development, Strategy, Financial Planning & Analysis, and Marketing Strategy Consulting in financial services and payments industry.  He came in as a mentor to guide the teams about business development and execution. Here are few key points from the session.

Saleh started the session with a broad discussion about customers. According to him, any person or entity who is willing and able to pay for your services or products is your customers. Though, sometimes, there might be a split the characteristics. For example, a child might be willing to buy a toy but he/she will not be able to pay for it. His/her parents have the ability but the product is not necessarily for them. As a result, in such cases, willingness and ability are being split between two people.

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He talked about “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly”, which was an interesting concept. The good- are those who are willing to have the product. He/she is the advocate. The bad- are those who are able to pay for the good. He/she is the decision maker. The Ugly- are those who are the detractor or Nay-sayer. They are the negative influence in the purchase.

Quite often it is important to promote the product or service focusing on The Ugly. Since the good are already convinced about the product, it is important to get minimize any negative influence others might have on the decision maker. Any traditional or online marketing tactics has to be done focused on this particular idea.

Next, he talked about pitching to customers. It’s very important to prepare yourself before pitching. Collecting all information and facts will give a clearer idea about how you should approach. You need to know who your real customers are, when should you approach them and your budget. What matters to them should be well known to you. You need to show why your solution is better than the competition and how it will fulfill their needs.

You really need to empathize with the customer and be in their shoes. It will link you with your customer and help you understand what they are expecting. Also, you need to have a problem-solving attitude. Successful selling demands that human relation should be dominant over human nature. Lastly, you need to ensure credibility all the time. Build a relation and earn credibility. This will ensure word of mouth for your product or service. It’s better to keep things clear and concise while you pitch to your customers.


We don’t just sell to customers. Rather, we also try to convince investors, partners, suppliers, employees, board members and regulators.  It’s crucial to build up a relation with them and earn their trust and credibility as well.

Next Saleh talked broadly about the science of execution. For getting stuff done, you need to have the right mindset, habits, and energy. To have the right mindset, you need GRIT & VISION. Grit means the courage and perseverance to achieve something. It has nothing to do with IQ or talent. Come to work with a problem-solving mentality. It will keep you excited and give you the scope to learn more. In order to turn your grit into action, you need to have a well-set vision. Your vision must be aligned with your strength. Focus on your strength and quietly manage your shortcomings.

Habit is very important. It’s suggested that you have your goals and plans written down and regularly updated in your notebook. It’s important to plan ahead of time and execute perfectly. Break up your works into smaller tasks and assign the tasks to the best person. Estimate the time needed for each task and set clear interim goals. Have your task list updated all the times and keep room for adjustment. Between all these, do take time off to renew and energize yourself.

Lastly, he talked about the vital energy that keeps you going. Your purpose and passion will keep you going as an entrepreneur. It will be difficult to continue your entrepreneurial journey if you are not passionate about it.  And, your purpose will set your vision and goals. Money, power, fame, etc. might be achieved in your journey but that should not be the ultimate focus. What you want to achieve and how you want to solve the problem is crucial. As Saleh said- “Have a heart! Don’t hustle, rather be positively hungry for the success of your vision”

Nahid Farzana