S13E40: How to attack a 'dominated' market, with Björn Thorngren (CEO, Meds)

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

S1407: How to attack a ‘dominated’ market, with Björn Thorngren (CEO, Meds)

How can you successfully launch a business and attack a market that's dominated by an all-powerful incumbent?

In this episode,- Richard Medcalf speaks with Björn Thorngren, the CEO and co-founder of MEDS, a leading online pharmacy in Sweden. MEDS has been the fastest-growing Swedish company (2018-2021) according to the Financial Times, having grown in 6 years to 800,000 customers with a brand recognised by 50% of people.

In this conversation, you’ll learn:

  • How Björn identified the potential of the pharmaceutical sector in Sweden
  • How to build a strong consumer preference and win market share against strong incumbent competition
  • The one part of the financial plan that Björn underestimated
  • What caused one of the co-founders to resign, and what Björn learned from that
  • The next steps, now the initial goals have been attained

Resources/sources mentioned:

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Transcript

Bjorn Thorngren
What we needed to do in order to create loyalty is build a strong brand. And, first of all, come up with a good name. And The wasn’t easy, Seems obvious, immense. It’s it’s why didn’t we think of that? But that took a long time, and it was my cofounder Adam who who cracked that nut.

And then also make that known. And that was, I think, slightly easier because all the pharmacies communicate very similarly. They look the same. They talk the same. And it’s all very conservative and green. And it’s always a pharmacist in a white coat telling you something, very sensible.

Richard Medcalf
Welcome to the Impact Multiplier CEO podcast. I’m Richard Metcalfe, founder of Xquadrant, and my mission is to help the world’s top CEOs and entrepreneurs shift from incremental to exponential progress and create a huge positive impact on our world. Now that requires you to reinvent yourself and transform your business. So if you’re ready to play a bigger game than ever before, I invite you to join us and become an Impact Multiplier CEO.

Bjorn Thorngen
As a startup, how do you attack a dominated market, which is highly established, and where there is a huge incumbent player already very successful? Well, this is the question that I asked in this episode. Is, the CEO of Meds, which is a leading online pharmacy in Sweden. And, what has been really impressive about Meds is that over the last, 5 years or so, it’s become the fastest growing Swedish company. It’s had 800,000 customers in just 6 years. 50% of the Swedish population recognize the brand. And in this conversation, we get into understanding how Bjorn, first of all, identified that this was a market ripe for disruption. And then secondly, how did he build consumer preference for his small little company in the face of such huge competition from the established monopoly? So this is a really fascinating conversation about what it takes to enter and attack and succeed in new markets. So enjoy this conversation with Thorngren.

Hello, and welcome to the show. Hi, Richard, and thank you very much for having me.

Richard Medcalf
You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to this. What I know about you is that you are the CEO and cofounder of Medcalf, which is a leading online pharmacy in Sweden. And I think you’ve been the fastest growing company, in Sweden over the 2018, 2021 period according to Financial Times. You’ve from that from founding the company in 2018, you’ve grown to 800,000 customers, and your brand is now recognized by 50% of the Swedish population. So what makes this even more impressive, I would say, is that this is a market that’s really dominated, right, by, I think, pretty much a single government player. So it’s a market which it wasn’t like it was a highly fragmented market. You just had to find a little a little extra, you know, tiny sliver of market share to thrive.

You literally had to go in to a big dominated market, and you’ve been very successful in that. So I’d love in this episode really to dive into that story and what made you so successful. Let me start with the first question, though, is that I what I understand is that you don’t believe in in entrepreneurs having to create exciting new markets. And you think a more boring approach might actually be more successful. So do you wanna say a bit more about that?

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. Successful and also not necessarily more boring either. So you can create fantastic companies in existing markets by marginal improvement in that market. And it’s still a huge challenge. You just you get to focus on the customer experience rather than having to educate the whole market that this new solution or product, exists. So, really it’s it’s a learning, from my previous work life as an investor and advisor in within m and a. A lot of companies struggle with that. They spend so much time and energy in in building the product or service, and they don’t have the resources to then also create demand.

And in the end, fail. So to me it’s a lot more challenging to really have this tailwind helping you along. And if we do things right, we know things will go right. So it’s all up to us. We eliminate the external challenges that really are very hard to control.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. That reminds me of that kind of framework of, you know, you’ve got new markets and new customers and well, you know, new offerings and new customers or old offerings and old customers. And, it sounds like what you’re saying is perhaps a lot of entrepreneurs start by thinking, well, I’ve not got any customers, so I’m gonna have to build a customer base, and, also, I need to kinda create a new product. And actually doing both of those is quite hard. Right? As you said, introducing something new to a whole bunch of new people is a real challenge.

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. And and also The the first mover advantage, which largely is a myth. There’s a great advantage to to not having to really break away a lot of barriers from regulators or whatever, and instead really have someone else do the tough part and then come in and and build a really solid company. And if the market is big, there’s room for more than 1.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. There’s so much effort, is it? Yeah. As you said, the pioneer has to do a lot of digging, breaking down the frontier. Really interesting. Great. Well, let’s kinda jump in.

So this was a situation. Right? You you said, okay. So back in whenever it was, 2017, 2018, you had this idea to enter this saturated, mature market, in terms of, pharmacy market. So what was the what’s the driver behind that? What made you kinda go go all in on that idea and decide you wanted to dedicate the next few years of your life building that business?

Bjorn Thorngren
It is a fascinating market. It’s one of the oldest in the world from the Middle Ages, and it’s grown every year since. So it’s very stable, non cyclical. Yet in Sweden, we have done a fantastic journey because the idea my idea was really around the year 2000. But back then, along with North Korea, Sweden had a state monopoly for pharmacy. And there was only one pharmacy called Bipharmacy. And that led to a very poor customer experience. So we have still today very few pharmacies per capita, low or limited opening hours, limited number of products, high prices, etcetera.

So then when I came back from Hamelin in in London and and worked in tech, I realized now it’s certainly impossible around 2016. Because it deregulated in 2010. And all of a sudden, from having been the worst market in the world, became really the best to create a new business. The regulation was really favorable compared to many other countries, where there are a lot of limitations on what you can do, how you can raise capital, and if you can even open a pharmacy. And especially for online since it was a monopoly. There was only The state company, talking to The state regulator, and they came really far in terms of e prescription, which is now a 100% of all prescriptions. So we had the regulatory and the technology to really create a brand new company selling prescribed medicine online. And that’s what we decided to, to do.

And like you alluded to in the beginning, we had very strong competitors because The state owned retail chain remained. And was joined by the largest supermarket, in The country also creating competing retail chain, which is actually slightly larger now. So we have very strong competitors, but it’s also a huge market. €6,000,000,000 in in little Sweden alone with 10,000,000 inhabitants. So in difference to many other high growth companies, we do not need to immediately go abroad to a new market bigger markets. We can create a a really big company in our own market. And then Rivendell, as other markets mature, because we are now the leading market globally for online prescription, we can move there. But as a solid company and and with actually The focus and and resources to enter a new market rather than having to do multiple markets with a really young and and already stretched organization, which I’ve CEO, a lot of other companies having to do, pushed by The VC investors to create this 10 x return in in just a number of years.

We’re we’re moving slower, but still fast. As you mentioned, we’re the fastest growing company in Sweden. So it is another way to build a great company. It takes maybe slightly longer, but also a lot less risk.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. That’s great. So what I heard there is you had a lot of lot of data there about the the market. The regulation had changed. There were new players coming in, and so forth. What came first? Like, did you did somebody just randomly tell you about the fact that regulation had changed? Were you, like, looking for were you kind of, like, systematically looking at sectors to identify a favorable regime or favorable opportunity? You know, did it The it a personal experience where you found this is so terrible? What can I do about it? And then so kinda how did you realize that all the conditions were aligned for you to disrupt this market?

Bjorn Thorngren
That’s a great question. It wasn’t the first and obvious idea. I was also looking into, along with some others, to start a ETF, a traded fund for Bitcoin for a while. And we realized the regulation wasn’t there yet. So we put that idea to the side, which was, in hindsight, a great idea, not until this January, actually. Some some real ETFs came out, so it did take a lot of of time. And then I started looking for other really big established markets, which were in some sort of a change. And The market was The 2nd biggest retail market.

Underserved, both in terms of bricks and mortar, but especially online. It’s the perfect product to sell online, yet only a few percent were sold online back then. So huge market, recently deregulated and in the middle of a change from store to online. To me, it was a perfect market to start something new. The challenge I found was that it’s a really complex market. There’s a lot of regulation, and, it’s a com a lot of complexity in how you enter the market to get all the supplier, to sell to you. And not the least how you build a brand to compete with the pharmacy, which is ingrained The 40 years monopoly in people’s minds.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Well, let’s talk about that. So this is what we talked about. Right? Attacking a dominated market. So when you said, okay. There’s room for change. There’s right there’s room for innovation in this market. We can see we can make things better in the customer experience.

And yet it’s dominated as it’s The brand. It’s government controlled. There’s regulation. Like, what was how did you approach how did you attack the market? Right? What would, say, the key are there 2 or 3 key principles that you had to really follow in order to build a successful business The perhaps some of your competitors didn’t do as well The back?

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. It it wasn’t an an obvious approach. We had to attack multiple angles. And, really, when we talked to advertisers and agencies, they wanted to find a really strong USP. Something that made our business totally different to the existing. That’s what they’re used to. And that’s a whole lot easier to market, obviously. But we’re reselling products.

And in the end, we can differentiate somewhat. We’re we’re not gonna be totally different to what’s out there. So what we did was we we focused really on the mobile experience, and we talked about being the mobile pharmacy. So, that was kinda new 7 years ago. It’s not as new today. But obviously 80% of customers use their mobile and most experiences back The. And still today, I think, it’s not always optimized for the mobile customer. So that was one thing.

And then we also innovated in terms of customer experience. We had extended our customer service. We had really fast delivery, 1 to 2 hours in in Stockholm The the early days. Now we do same day in most of the country, which is still very good. So others have followed in many ways. So, it’s it’s, we still think we have a better customer experience, but it’s not, no, a leap, leap of difference. So rather, we we try to build a a strong preference to to use meds in terms of you have a good experience. We we really make sure to deliver on our promises, and we take care of you if something goes wrong.

And we do still have slightly higher service level, better product assortment. We’re not price leading, because because that’s really a death trap. We have good prices, and we have much lower prices than the stores. But that’s not that shouldn’t be the number one reason to to shop at meds. So what we needed to do in order to create loyalty is build a strong brand. And, first of all, come up with a good name. And and that wasn’t easy. Seems obvious, immense.

It’s it’s why didn’t we think of that? But that took a long time. And it was my cofounder, Adam, who who cracked that nut. And then also make that known. And that was, I think, slightly easier because all the pharmacies communicate very similarly. They look the same. They talk the same. And it’s all very conservative and green. And it’s always a pharmacist in a white coat telling you something, very sensible. We we said, hey, we run a very serious business here. We follow all the regulations and we’re approved by multiple agencies.

We can communicate in a more modern and and use use a lighter tone. So we hired actually a singer, a Eurovision song contest winner, Mont Sain Beloved. And he became our brand ambassador. And we our marketing manager at the time, Marika, managed to convince him to actually do a music video about Meds, where he was riding along naked on a horse. And The became obviously super viral. And, it was the most watched video on YouTube in Northern Europe for a while. And it created headlines. And it just kept going, and it was taken up in the political debate.

So it was a really good way, like The warfare. It cost some money, but it didn’t cost at all what it would have to create that same awareness in a traditional way.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. I’m well, to be honest, I’m amazed that you didn’t, decide to do the naked horse riding yourself, Gjoern. Is that what a CEO should be doing?

Bjorn Thorngren
I I did take some classes as a kid, but I don’t think I have the same song skills.

Richard Medcalf
Well yeah. So great. So okay. So, Lolly, yeah, you put injected some fern into what’s you said you you said it. You’re completely right. Every pharmacy kinda looks like white with a dab of green. Right? It’s, so kinda changing that up. It reminds me, I I might have mentioned it to you on one of our previous calls, but, I once worked with a electricity reseller who I talked to the CEO, and he said, Joe, Richard, I don’t think I run a utility business.

Everybody else, all the investors, all The thinks I run a utility business, but I’m just resetting electric electricity. So for me, I’m running an entertainment business because everyone’s gotta buy their electricity somewhere, so why not make it fun? So his whole approach was how do we make fun to receive what a 50 bill, for example. But how do you make people look forward to that?

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. It’s a great point. And I think the more of a boring industry, the less or the easier it is to surprise positively and be fun because no one Impact it. Right? So

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Yeah. The standards are so low. Right? It’s, there’s so many op opportunities then to kinda get people out of their out of their expectations. Okay. So I let’s get back to okay. So you’re thinking about attacking this market. You know, you decide, okay.

We’re gonna go for this kind of mobile pharmacy idea as a kind of a US. Not that’d be a USP, but, yeah, like a brand a distinctive brand. Had some clear expectations around customer experience, you know, your digital branding moves. What else was part of the playbook? Because clearly, you know, attacking such a big dominated market is not gonna be easy for any player. Do you have to do things differently in terms of scale or, or kind of speed of attack or focus in cities first? Or, you know, what was the kind of how did you kinda decide you were going to get traction, I guess, and and build some disconnects?

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. Yeah. It’s it’s we have to find where the big ones have a weak point or or or are less strong, I guess. So working with speed is is, obvious. They are not fast in any way. And and it could be just bringing in new products. We can do it in a matter of weeks. And and they are getting Podcast and all. Back then, they would they had revisions twice a year maybe where they could bring in a new product. So and and innovate product innovation goes faster and faster in in our TikTok world.

So if there’s a new skincare brand, we wanna be where you find that. And the same within sports nutrition or vitamins. Obviously, we cannot do that in prescribed medicine. It’s what the doctor prescribes. So we can’t do innovate so much on the prescribed medicine side. But the more innovation we can have in the other products, the more of a destination we become also for prescribed medicine. It’s 77% of all women in Sweden get at least 1 prescription per year, and 66 on average percent of the population. So everyone’s, our customer.

The older their customers get, the more medicines they have. But, it could be, from an infant to a a 30 year old to, we have customers that are a 110. So we like to create a wide appeal and and then find what The customer is a better customer. So we do sell more in bigger cities and especially Stockholm. 50% of our sales are in Stockholm, with with surroundings, whereas, like, 30% of the population live here. And we see the same in other cities. They are overrepresented as customers. And that’s where we focus our advertising as well.

We we we try to make it easier for ourselves and not convince every single customer. We we try to find the the most easy to convert and also the most loyal that the customer wanna keep.

Richard Medcalf
I hope you’re enjoying this conversation.

This is just a quick interlude to remind you that my book Making Time For Strategy is now available. If you wanna be less busy and more successful, I highly recommend that you check it out. Why not head over to making time for strategy.com to find out the details? Now back to the conversation.

I think you also said to me that there was a big question when you started around how much money you needed to raise, or perhaps people were thinking you were trying to raise too much money early on. I think you did a 60,000,000, raise. What was the thinking?

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. It was over multiple rounds. So we weren’t really sure, how fast it would go to to actually reach critical volumes. Well, we were actually very correct in all the KPIs that go into The order economics. If we look back to PitchBook from 2018 and today, we beat every single KPI. And the one thing we underestimated is, how much fixed Podcast we would need. It’s not like we are bloated in any way. We were very cost conscious, and we kept it very low.

But I think we were too optimistic, assuming maybe we’d need 2 people in marketing. And now we’re maybe 5. It’s it’s not, you know, it’s not 50, but it’s in every single, department, I think we’re a few more people than we initially thought. And that means the bar to profitability profitability has been a bit higher. But that said, we are now EBITDA positive in in our Q1 here, and and, we have sort of reached that bar now. And maybe that took 1 or 2 2 years longer, but most other things, we we did, project The way it happened.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. That’s great. So what’s been some of the most difficult points on this journey as you were you know, you’re obviously high growth, lots of, you know, lots of things happening all the time. What what were some of the moments where you where you kinda thought, oh my word. What’s going on here? What’s

Bjorn Thorngren
Well, actually, the pandemic has been very tough for us. And and a lot of people expect the the opposite, that this was fantastic. And and, in some ways, it was. Awareness of online pharmacy, especially amongst the elderly for prescribed Medcalf, went up. And so that will help us long term. Short term, it was very difficult to align to the sudden shifts in demand. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to buy a certain item, and then the next week, no one wanted to buy them. And we had to adjust with staff and and inventory, which was also much more difficult to get.

The types of products that were in demand is not what we normally sell, face masks, etcetera, and they were also very hard to get. So we did lose a lot of money on, buying The too much at The high of a price point, and and then all of a sudden see demand vanish overnight, which is not the normal case. Normally, we should sell everything we buy. And we we have very low inventory in Impact to sales. It should just move in and move out. So so the pandemic in itself was very, very challenging. We we prefer gradual, linear growth than The explosives growth followed by a big slump. So apart from that, I I think also building the brand also.

Even though we had some successes, it’s it’s very, very tough, especially when you reach outside of the the more urban and and early adopters, to get, the whole, like you mentioned, 5 out of 10 suites all know the brand. What about the other 5? And and reaching those is is still a lot of challenge. And and if we wanna continue to grow the prescribed medicine sign sign, The that is necessary. Because we do have very, very strong brands, competing with us. And it’s also a trust business, and and to convince someone that shopped all their life at the government monopoly to try something brand new, pink. And maybe our website doesn’t look like what they they expect. That that is still something we’re working on on how to really make that happen the best way in the coming years.

Richard Medcalf
Well, what was the most successful thing that got you to the 50% mark? What really worked in that, do you think, of all the things you tried?

Bjorn horngren
Yeah. Being different, and and a lot of people like that. They they, like your your contact at the utility company. They are bored by the alternatives. And they see a company coming in, trying something new, and delivering a good experience, and they want to reward it. So there there is a large section of of the population that that type of of communication really appeals. Whereas others, are are less interested in that and just want to find what they’re used to. And, it is a low engagement product.

Buying pharmacy products. It’s not something most people really look forward to. So that section of the audience we have to serve by just being very straightforward and and easy, and get this pain, that that they have away. And and, we have to be a bit more segmented and and personalized in the way we communicate going forward to really appeal to as broad as possible of an audience.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. Yeah. Be different and, I guess, it makes as you were talking, it makes me think, you know, perhaps you can’t appeal to everybody. Right? And perhaps, you know, that’s The 50% who you haven’t yet reached. They might be your people. They might not be your people.

Right? They might not actually be the most happy and profitable customers anyway. Time will tell.

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. Web web 2 really men is the other part of the population that are hardened because 70% of customers are female, and that’s why we are paying. A lot of our products are aimed at females. Men mostly, especially over, say, 40, I think they we don’t shop at pharmacies yet. You know, you there are Band Aids and vitamins and stuff at home. They just magically appear there. And it’s because the wife typically do that type of of shopping. But online, the barrier is lower.

So how do we reach the 30% of The customers? Because most people use pharmacy products in one way or another daily. And and so there’s no reason they shouldn’t shop, at us as well.

Richard Medcalf
This actually reminds me of Coke. Right? Coca Cola, because I I don’t know the detail, but I have this impression that they, you know, they had Diet Coke as a brand. And, I think they found that men don’t like The don’t do diets, you know, whatever. Right? And so it was hard for them. And so when they reprap well, when they put out Coke 0, I remember the adverts, at least in some parts of the world, were very, very kinda lad focused, you know, very much of people trying to focus on on the young guys and how cool it would be to have The 0 drink, which is kind of interesting. You know? So this idea that science men do not wanna go to area you know, to brands and and experiences, which they consider to be feminine, Whereas women tend to be, you know, perhaps I’m generalizing, but generally more happier to kind of go the other way, right, and go into areas which you’re male.

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. And it’s the same with skin care, for example. So products aimed for mails typically have words like energizing and refreshing rather than, you know, reducing fine lines, even though they’re exactly the same product. Maybe a bit different fragrance, but it’s all about the message.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. There might be something there. Interesting. So I know one of the pivotal events, that happened was one of your cofounders, resigned in the business, and I suspect that’s always a blow for any business. So can you just explain, like, how how did you manage through that time? Was that was that did it go smoothly, or was The was that like a a shock from the blue and you had to regroup? What was the story?

Bjorn Thorngren
No. I think it’s in in even though it didn’t appear at the time, but in in hindsight, pretty natural. So she was really important in the early days. She knew a lot about, most things we’re doing, pharmacist from the beginning, having worked with product. But then as we added experts in each area, it was more and more difficult to really see where can you add, value that this person we just hired, couldn’t also do really well. And and we were relying more and more on experts rather than generalists. And and really there’s only room for for 1, and that’s the CEO. And and I was already The, not knowing that much about anything really, even knowing a little bit about the bot. So I think, that was one side.

And then there was also a personal side, going through a divorce, moving back to home city, that also, especially pre COVID, made it difficult to see how can you really make an impact on this organization not really being there day to day. Now that that might have worked better this was, I think, in 2019 we had The discussion. So, and now she’s back with, our new ventures. So we’re we’re still good friends. And and, yeah, The wasn’t there were some tough discussions at the time, but, I think we all realized that it was it was time.

Richard Medcalf
So would you give anyone is there any advice you have around that when you have a company, you’ve got cofounders? Is there anything you would advise another generation at this point?

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. I think The the natural bias is try to agree as much as possible when you start, and and that’s good in any business relationship. So I I I get that sometimes when I negotiate contracts. Like, oh, we’re such good partners. We’ll figure it out. And and I say, well, we are today. But maybe I change role, you change role, and that’s why we have the contract to to regulate whatever happens when we don’t agree in the future. Otherwise, we don’t need the contract at all.

So I think that’s one one one thing. And also, it’s probably good to also consider personal changes. So for example, a divorce. How do you handle the The the shares at that point? So it actually is not split. And because, that person is not adding value to the business yet, will become a a major shareholder. Is that in anyone’s interest, really? And I think that’s something that we in hindsight could have, regulated.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. As hard as in the beginning, you don’t wanna think through all those kind of, less favorable scenarios, right, when you’re getting going. But,

Bjorn Thornren
Yeah. Totally.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. But it could be useful. Great. Well, Sveon, what would it like what’s it look like for for meds to multiply its impact over the next few years? Obviously, you’ve already achieved an awful lot. You got 50% penetration. Like, what what would make the next 3 or 4 years extraordinary for for the business?

Bjorn Thorngrn
In many ways, it’s just beginning now. So when I talk internally, I say we reached cruising altitude, like, for an airline. It was, you need the the the the The to get up to 10000 meters, and and then, then you can go wherever, really. And that’s what we have now. We’re reaching, break even on a cash flow basis. We have the brand. We have the logistics platform. We have the IT platform.

We can do a lot more. So now the big question is, what do we do with all of this that we created investment so much in? Of course, we can just continue doing what we’re doing, and it will probably, also go well. But it’s not gonna be that sort of a rocket ship that we’re we’re used to internally. And so there are ways to to build on The. And one way is to increase, our private label section to control more of that side of the business, for example. And then, of course, we can go into new markets, either nationally, adjacent markets, or internationally. So those are some of the questions we’re thinking about now on on how what’s the vision for the company in 5, 10 years? It’s kind of obvious what we’re gonna do in the next 12 months. But people and investors and and The, I think, also need a longer term vision that we haven’t really set yet.

But there’s some exciting choices to be made.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. That’s exciting. And and for you, Dion, as the leader, what might need to shift in you for the biz for you and the business to multiply your impact? Because often, you know, the way that we operate, there’s always a next level in that that’s gonna have that’s open up a new level of success or or or impact. So what comes to your mind? What what would be a shift that you might need to make over the next couple of years?

Bjorn Thorngren
Yeah. I think I have to make the same shift as other leaders in the organization. And in terms of building a team that can do more of what you’re doing today and then sort of enable us to be more strategic and and look forward. So and also so we’re not dependent on any single person. And that’s something we talked about a lot since the beginning. Like, there should be a fallback for every IT system and also a fallback for every, every person. Even though, everyone’s happy and loyal, you can get hit by a bus, or or something can happen personally or you find something fantastic in Australia that you wanna pursue. So the company cannot come crashing down if that happens. That’s one way.

And also, if you’ve done something for a long time, you’re not gonna do it with the same passion. So find someone that can do that part with a great passion, and then build on what you learned, and and do something else that adds more value with with your skill set. So that that’s true for me as well. I’m I’m building more and more of a a self reliant leadership team, which enables me to start looking at new markets or opportunities as well for the company.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Perfect. It’s a it’s a common thing. I think it’s pretty why I wrote my book at some point, which is, you know, making time for strategy because perhaps the number one thing, right, holding leaders back is the fact that they’re doing last year’s tasks and not next year’s tasks.

Bjorn Thorngren
And, especially when And and it’s also a way to motivate the whole organization because we’re not like a big company where you can find The leadership role in another team or or constantly grow. So the only way for a person to grow is if your current boss is moving on as well in some way. Not necessarily by title, but at least what they’re doing. And The you can take on new, and that’s something to learn and look forward to. And no one wants to do the same thing year after year after year.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Well, that’s a beautiful place perhaps to wrap it up. To be honest, it’s been a great conversation. I really enjoyed kinda looking at, you know, your whole mindset of, like, scanning the market for where are these industries that are ripe for disruption or innovation, the way that you kinda tuned in, the preference for your consumer preference, you know, how you found differentiation in a reselling market, how you branded around The, yeah, some of the highs and lows on that journey, the, you know, the pandemic throwing throwing things askew in terms of unpredictable supply and demand, how you navigated, you know, with your with your cofounders, yeah, and then the opportunities that are opening up for you, which sound really exciting. So thank you for sharing some of this story. If people wanna find out more about you or about the business, kinda where do they go?

Bjorn Thorngren
Well, I think my LinkedIn is is a good place to, to start. I try to be quite active. Sometimes it might be a bit local for some, but you just ignore that if you’re if you’re not Swedish. And Rivendell The will be something that, you know, applies to your interest in in geography as well. And and other than that, it’s it’s the pharmacy market is global, and a lot of what’s happening in Sweden will happen in other countries. So, there’s room for many entrepreneurs around the world in in in that market. And there are many other markets as well. Like, we were talking about wall paint the other day, which actually had The small venture going.

Very conservative, huge market. Defense market. Like, there’s so many traditional markets that are ripe for some level of disruption. It doesn’t have to be a huge difference. But if you can find some something that needs to be improved there, and and there’s a very good opportunity around.

Richard Medcalf
Perfect. Thank you so much. Hey. It’s been a great conversation. Thank you so much. Look forward to following on as you, you you expand, you diversify, and all the other exciting things we talked about.

Bjorn Thorngren
Thank you very much.

Richard Medcalf
Cheers. Bye now. Bye bye. Well, that’s a wrap. If you received value from this conversation, please do leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. We deeply appreciate it. And if you’d like to check out the show notes from this episode, head to x quadrant.com/podcast Podcast you’ll find all the details. Now finally, when you’re in top leadership, who supports and challenges you at a deep level to help you multiply your impact? Discover more about the different ways we can support you at xquadrant.com.

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