Oliver Bruce talks all things startup with Alizé Marchand, co-founder and CEO of Impresm; a marketing company specialising in helping the financial industry build solid online presence in order to engage with millennials and Gen Z in the digital age.

Dialling in from Switzerland, Ali’s American charm began at odds with the culture she found herself in, but she quickly started to change conversations in finance and engage with sustainability in the sector.

Ali realised there’s a big difference with how the next generation wants to deal with their money management… In order to “Impress ‘em”, you should be getting tips from Impresm!

A PinPoint Media podcast production.


Full Episode Transcription

Oliver Bruce: So this podcast is around financial wealth management, investment, et cetera. And I just want to be absolutely clear, please, please, please don’t invest in anything based on what we’re saying in this podcast, it’s simply opinion. I just want to be clear with you guys, please don’t pump a load of money on Bitcoin because we happen to reference it.

Alize Marchand: In that meeting, there were the CEO and the owner of this asset management company, and then this woman who had another company and a board member that had his own company. And so leaving that meeting, I had three clients and no business.

Oliver Bruce: Welcome to Success Is In The Mind with me Oliver Bruce. An award-winning podcast by PinPoint Media, this isn’t about the millions, the large houses and the fast cars associated with the term entrepreneur. Instead, we shine a light by speaking to the leaders, the entrepreneurs on the frontline, we bring to the forefront, the trials, the tribulations, the pains, and the determination that it takes to start, run and scale a business. So what does it take to turn your dream into a reality? Well, find out from those that are currently doing just that. On today’s show, we go international. We have CEO and co-founder of Impresm Ali, who joins me to talk about her journey all the way from Switzerland. With a hybrid background in marketing and finance, Ali and her business partner Lona started Impresm just under a year ago, and the reason behind the name genuinely is fascinating. Their business Impresm, sets out to enable those businesses in the financial sector to increase assets under management, attract more capital and find new opportunities. So Switzerland, finance, money, startup; you can kind of guess some of the questions already. Ali, welcome to the show.

Alize Marchand: Thanks so much for having me, Oliver. I’m so excited.

Oliver Bruce: You’re dialling in from Switzerland. We’ve actually had people dial in from Africa, from America, from Amsterdam, but never Switzerland. I mean, you were actually born and brought up in America, moved over to Switzerland. What was the story around that?

Alize Marchand: That’s a great question, Oliver. Thanks for asking that. So I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, and then I went to university in Southern California and I studied Business because I think that’s what everyone does, who doesn’t know what they want to do in their life. And my last year at university, one of my professors was actually putting on an investment conference in Las Vegas and he offered the students some money. So all costs covered like travel and hotel costs and food costs to come to his conference. And in my mind I thought, “okay, what a brilliant opportunity for networking, because I’m about to graduate and I need a job”. So I applied and got the scholarship and went to this investment conference in Las Vegas. And one of the speakers was discussing international diversification. So investing outside of the US and why that’s so important. And that’s the talk that I was most fascinated by, and I actually ended up meeting that speaker on the elevator down to the conference on the very last morning. And he ended up asking me, he saw that I was a student and he was curious why I was at the conference and we ended up talking and I directly asked him for an opportunity to work abroad or in Switzerland. And he didn’t give me the internship or the job right on the spot. But I always say that I am the only person I know who got a job from an elevator pitch.

Oliver Bruce: Well, it takes that whole summary of an elevator pitch into quite literal terms there. I mean, that’s ideal. I mean, it was serendipity, right? I mean, the fact that you just happened to bump into him. Do you think you’d have actually managed to go and get a job in Switzerland or you would even have done that in the first place? Had you not seen him?

Alize Marchand: I don’t think Switzerland, it was not on my radar.

Oliver Bruce: It’s not on a lot of people’s radar apart from, you know, some people that want to dodge some tax, maybe.

Alize Marchand: [laughs] That’s true. They’re really strict on that now though. So, yeah.

Oliver Bruce: Oh are they? Okay.

Alize Marchand: But I do think I’ve always had a very global mindset. I grew up speaking Spanish and English and I always dreamed of working abroad and I actually have a German passport as well as my American passport. So it’s a little bit easier for me to kind of work in Europe than it is for the average American. So I’m very lucky to have that, but I do think that I would have made my way outside of the US whether or not I had met him on the elevator. Yeah.

Oliver Bruce: Because, I mean, you studied Spanish Language and Literature at university. You then did Business and Administration, a bit of a tongue twister that one, with emphasis on International Business there. And all of that kind of came to a head, and you’re saying that that would have been, you know, what you’d have followed anyway; you’d have gone overseas, you’d have gone to Europe and you’d have started a business? Or you’d have worked for a business somewhere in the world?

Alize Marchand: I think it’s really interesting because my whole life, when I was younger, I would always say things like I’m going to travel the world. I’m going to work abroad. I’m going to have my own business. And all of these things, you know, when you’re a kid, you say them and you know, some people believe you, some people don’t, most people don’t believe you because you’re just, you know, talking about your dreams. But I do think there’s something to kind of like speaking things into existence. And I was so focused on working abroad. And like you mentioned, I studied International Business and I made sure to study a foreign language. And I think just because it was always on the front of my mind that there would have been some opportunity because I was looking for those specific opportunities, right? And the same thing with starting a business. I remember sitting in my job in wealth management in Zurich and telling all of my colleagues “I’m going to start a business. What do you think is a good name for my business?” And all of them were rolling their eyes. And I was just, you know, I wasn’t being totally serious about it, but I think that there’s something to speaking things into existence and making your mind aware of the opportunities that you’re looking for.

Oliver Bruce: Because in Switzerland, I suppose it’s very, very different to starting a business in the UK or the US. I mean, in the UK, you get a company’s house, you get an account and then you start to sell whatever you want to sell, and as long as you’re kind of doing the books, it’s all above board and fine. Now in Switzerland, what does that look like in terms of structuring and starting a business up then?

Alize Marchand: Yeah, that’s a great point. And, you know, I get asked so often “you’re an American, you’re from the place in the world that everybody goes to start a business. Yet you decided to start a business in Switzerland, which is not so startup friendly. Why?” And you know, it just happened to be how everything worked out and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but you’re so right. The way you start a business in the US is so much easier. There’s so many less barriers to entry, if you will, in the US. And I realised over here, it’s completely different. I mean, you say you start a business over here and people are like, “wait, why don’t you want to work at UBS?” So you’re right. There’s quite a bit more barriers. They love insurance and safety and making sure people don’t fail.

Oliver Bruce: It’s very, very measured. Yeah. Methodical and measured, I mean, they’ve got some big businesses out there though.

Alize Marchand: They do, they do. And that’s not to say- they are great at doing business because they have all of these things in place. These checks and balances and insurance, right? I think in the US you hear a lot, “fail fast fail often”, and failing is almost celebrated in the US whereas in Switzerland- and I don’t know how it is in the UK. Is it the same in the UK?

Oliver Bruce: I think it’s actually, for me a bit of a hybrid between the two, because actually yep there’s a lot of entrepreneurs in the UK. It isn’t as easy in the UK to generate funding, like it might be out in America, but yet it’s not as difficult. It sounds, and I’ve never worked in Switzerland, but it sounds as it is in Switzerland, if that makes sense. So I think we’re bang in the middle of both.

Alize Marchand: Yeah. That would check out, especially in terms of geography as well [both laugh]. But yeah. So in Switzerland, just to answer your question, there are, you have to have all of your insurances in place before you even think of starting your company. So you have to have your accident insurance, you have to have your health insurance, you have to have social security insurance. You have to have insurance for setup for any employees that you might hire. You have – so there’s so many insurances that you need to make sure you have, and then to start an LLC, or the company that I have, you have to have 20,000 Swiss francs, or it’s about the same as $20,000 in a bank account, because they don’t want you failing and asking the government or banks for money. So there are so many things that are kind of in your way, but they are very manageable, but they definitely steer people away from starting a business in Switzerland.

Oliver Bruce: I was going to say, actually, one of my questions was it surely was quite easy to start up a business in your world and your sector, because there’s not a vast amount of seed capital needed or investment needed because it is a service sector business? Now actually that question is kind of redundant now, because it seems like you do need to have a lump of cash in the bank, and you need to be able to pay for all this insurance before you’ve actually even sold anything?

Alize Marchand: Yeah. And that’s a great point that you just brought up. I mean, I did, I’m so lucky that I started a business that I didn’t need any funding for, and that I could start making, turning a revenue in the first month of the business. Right. But in Switzerland, I realised that, like you just said, you do need to have at least some cash in the bank, although you can start the business with that 20,000 Swiss francs and immediately use it for your own salary. For investments for the business, for rent. So it’s not like you have to have that money and keep it there and not use it for the business. So it’s a little bit different.

Oliver Bruce: So it’s almost like a holding account just to show that you’ve got the slush fund, if you need it?

Alize Marchand: Exactly.

Oliver Bruce: And looking back at, I suppose, before you got into the world of entrepreneurial-ism, you did a lot of different things. You were a swimming instructor, you worked for a chocolate company, you then went into portfolio management and in the financial world, which ultimately is kind of where you are now as a sort of hybrid between marketing and finance. I mean, you jumped around a little bit from so many different sectors, et cetera. I mean, what was the reason for that?

Alize Marchand: I absolutely did. You’re right about that Oliver. I think I’m so lucky that my parents raised me to always go after, you know, what I’m passionate about and what I’m interested in, and that has changed. And so I started as a swim instructor and built my own babysitting business from the age of 15. As you mentioned, my first experience in the world of like actual working was at a brand new startup chocolate business. It was like a health food business.

Oliver Bruce: Healthy chocolate? I like it.

Alize Marchand: It was, it’s called chocolate with benefits. It’s called Good Day Chocolate.

Oliver Bruce: Are they still around? Are they doing well?

Alize Marchand: Oh yeah, they’re doing great. And it’s so much fun for me to watch them grow because I remember when they hired me. I mean, and I want to mention the power of your network and your connections and the people that you meet along the way. I mean, that is why I have been able to jump from industry to industry and also, gain as many experiences as I have, because I’ve always really valued good relationships. And I’ve seen what the power of networking can do. So from my babysitting business is how I got that start, my career started in the startup world.

Oliver Bruce: So the babysitting business, I mean, you’re aged 15 at the time, how long did you have that until you decided that you wanted to go into bigger things?

Alize Marchand: From the age of 15, till about 19, I was essentially known as the Boulder babysitter.

Oliver Bruce: Why the Boulder? Is that where you lived?

Alize Marchand: Yeah, I had a monopoly on the babysitting world [laughs].

Oliver Bruce: The Jeff Bezos of babysitting [laughs].

Alize Marchand: I was! You can call me that [laughs].

Oliver Bruce: Full control! That’s excellent. I mean, you jumped ship: swimming. I mean, why did you go and become a swimming instructor then?

Alize Marchand: Swimming was my sport when I was young and I swam for my university team and I just realized, so I think all of these jobs, it was partly that was interested in all of these different aspects. And it was partly that I always wanted to be independent from my parents. And so from the age of 15, when I started babysitting or I also started slowly teaching swimming at age 15, I just realized how important it was for me to be responsible for my income and my finances, and I didn’t like asking my parents for much.

Oliver Bruce: What did your parents do then in that case? If you didn’t want to ask them for things; were they entrepreneurial, were they successful or did they very much just say “Right, go and do it your own, Ali”?

Alize Marchand: That’s a great question. My dad, he’s a lawyer, he’s actually a water lawyer. He worked for a law firm when I was really young, but then he set out on his own to create his own law firms. So I think through him, I did see a little bit of that entrepreneurial spirit. And then my mom has always dabbled in many different things. So maybe that’s where I get the jumping around to different careers.

Oliver Bruce: It’s interesting that your dad was a lawyer though, because you’ve gone into the financial sector. He was a lawyer, which is again, a professional services sector, but you’ve gone and created your own businesses, your own entrepreneurial journey, within two very, very corporate worlds, which I suppose maybe you did learn from your dad.

Alize Marchand: Absolutely. I think I learned a lot from both of my parents, but definitely my dad and his, the very corporate world and loving what you do and prioritizing family and like values before chasing after the next dollar.

Oliver Bruce: So, I mean, you started the business literally, what is it? 10 months ago? 11 months ago now? It’s not very old at all. I mean, why then, why during a pandemic? And I know Switzerland, it seemed from what the news was saying, wasn’t hit quite as hard as other countries, but nevertheless, there was still a pandemic going on.

Alize Marchand: I actually started the business a little bit before. It was kind of a side hustle. So the background story is I got to Switzerland from the US and the culture is so different here, and I was not prepared for that. And part of their culture is, it’s much more private, quiet, kind of closed off than the US. In the US, the best way to explain it is if you go into a bar or a coffee shop in the US I guarantee you, you’ll make a connection or meet a friend or talk to somebody; the same thing in Switzerland would never happen. You do not talk to other people. That’s not part of their culture.

Oliver Bruce: So it’s quite hard to network then?

Alize Marchand: It is. And I noticed it was the same on the online world. So all of these banks, so we worked, I worked, as a portfolio manager at a wealth management company here, and we had a lot of different partner banks and strategic partners like funds. And none of these banks had like a website. They didn’t have a LinkedIn presence at all. They didn’t even have a corporate LinkedIn profile. And I was just shocked. I was like, how are you doing business in this- It’s the digital age! Everything is online and you aren’t there. You’re not occupying that space. I just felt like they were missing so many opportunities for especially the next generation of investors, right?

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Oliver Bruce: You studied as well at the university of Zurich, and that was for sustainable finance. I mean, you’d done quite a lot of academia for somebody that’s kind of so entrepreneurial, I mean, it’s just a generic term, but a lot of people don’t necessarily liken entrepreneurs to academia at all?

Alize Marchand: One thing about Switzerland that I am always very impressed with is their focus and value that they have in academia. And so a lot of times you will find that the Swiss, they never stopped studying. They never stopped learning. It’s kind of like this always learning. And I think that Americans can learn something from the Swiss in that academia and learning is important, but I think that the Swiss can also learn something from Americans in that the action following that learning is just as, if not more important. I did go back to school. It wasn’t a full masters. It was what they call an advanced studies certificate for sustainable finance, just because when I got here, I was really surprised that I’d never heard the word word sustainability in business and in finance. And I was thinking that that was really strange and odd. And when I got here and I started learning about like ESG, which is kind of the sustainable investing space and people interested in impact investing, I thought, wow, how cool is it that if I could blend the two and kind of makes my love of finance, but actually make a good difference in the world. And so that’s what kind of led me to just study more about it and see how I could try to occupy that space.

Oliver Bruce: Yeah, no, that absolutely makes sense. And looking at the way that you structured and started your business, you’ve obviously got this passion for finance, and you’ve got this entrepreneurial spirit within you and your business partner, Lona, I’m assuming was the one that almost brought that marketing element into the business. Is that right?

Alize Marchand: She absolutely did. So I noticed that there wasn’t any bank or asset manager online and they weren’t using that space. And actually it’s funny because a lot of people don’t get the connection between my interest in sustainable finance and my interest in digital marketing, because it can be, you know, concerning how do those things connect, right? And actually, what I saw, was that the wealth managers, and the banks, and the finance industry in general, just, they aren’t prepared for the next generation of investor. They’re not prepared for the millennials, for Gen Z, for more women who want to invest, right? And they’re not prepared in plenty of ways, but two of the ones that I noticed so much were the missing element of the digital space. So that is where millennials and Gen Z are spending, I don’t know, six hours of their day. It’s just ridiculous. And I can’t say that’s healthy. And then you have this growing concern for sustainability and ethical eating and all of like more healthy habits. And you just have more information going around with these days. And I think the younger generations, and especially women as more women start to invest, it’s really important that finance kind of changes the conversation and is able to broaden the way that they speak so that they’re speaking to more women, they’re speaking to people with values. They’re not speaking in hard terms only about your risk analysis or, you know, your profit and, you know, those are all very hard technical terms, but bringing in the aspect of values and what you get from sustainable finance, I think that could, and I think it is, starting kind of a revolution within the financial industry.

Oliver Bruce: It’s so interesting because you’re right. The revolution in the financial industry is happening right now. Only last week, there was this whole, you know, fiasco around the cryptocurrency mining and the sustainability of that and the eco impact it’s having on the climate. I mean, it does seem that people are becoming more aware of not only sustainability in terms of how they manage their money, but sustainability and how the world is changing from a monetary point of view to a certain extent.

Alize Marchand: Absolutely. And I think it’s not only how they’re managing their money, like you said. It’s in the choices that they’re making. When you see people go to restaurants, I’ve never seen so many people say, “oh, do you have a vegan menu? Do you have vegetarian options?” Right? Because people are concerned with the impact that food is making. And then you see people looking for sustainable clothing, you see people bashing fast fashion and saying, “I don’t want to go to Zara anymore”. so this trend is almost, I hate to call it a trend because I don’t think it’s a trend, and I think that finance is almost the very last industry that it’s coming to. I think that the finance industry hasn’t been disrupted, the tech industry has been disrupted. The consumer space has been disrupted, but the financial industry, I mean, you still have a bunch of old white guys sitting in a boardroom and banks, if you will. And just saying, “yep, here’s your interest rate and here’s your money”. And nothing has happened since the banking industry started basically.

Oliver Bruce: I mean, what do you make of decentralised finance and cryptocurrency as a whole and the future of that space? Because it’s evident with banks, bank of New York and JP Morgan and all these large wealth management companies, I suppose, and indeed banks, they are diversifying portfolios into that world. And that is incredibly disruptive. Now, is that the future? And is that the change that we’re going to be seeing over the next six years, 12 years, et cetera?

Alize Marchand: Now that is a very interesting question. And I’m not sure that I can give you a yes or no answer.

Oliver Bruce: I don’t think anybody can. I think that’s the thing; I don’t think anybody knows.

Alize Marchand: What’s funny is that I was sitting in the investment committee meetings and I heard so many things like, “okay, the US dollar is losing value. The US dollar is not going to be the world currency anymore. Okay. So what is? The Chinese are going to be now growing world leaders, right? Oh. But their economy is really closed. Okay. You have the Euro. Is that going to last? There’s a lot of issues with the Euro. Then you have Brexit”… right? And so you can’t see which currency is going to be the world leader and this mind boggles all of the bankers. And then you see that bonds are losing their value because interest rates are all hitting zero and equities are the only space that you can go in. So nobody- everybody knew that a change was coming and they were all trying to spot the next space that it was going to come in, but nobody was looking at decentralised finance. And it’s the same. I feel like the bankers are blockbuster right now where you ask them about blockchain or crypto, and they still, a lot of them, at least in Switzerland, will laugh in your face. And I think that we’re at a critical point in finance and we’ve mentioned now that sustainability is coming. The digital revolution is coming for finance. And yes, the decentralised finance is coming for the old school finance industry.

Oliver Bruce: I think it’s fascinating. And we’re not giving anybody any financial advice here so please don’t invest in anything that we’re talking about. But arguably I completely agree. I think there is a massive change literally happening as we speak that really only became massively public, I suppose, middle to latter half of 2020 when people were starting to properly bring it to the forefront. And it seems to be in all the press at the moment, everything is being spoken about in terms of decentralisation and cryptocurrencies and digital currencies as a whole. It’s fascinating, but going into the structure of your business and how you’re going to change with the times, you’ve got a team of three now, inclusive of yourself, and you’ve got a trainer you’re training, marketing, I suppose, assistant. Now, what does the structure look like moving forward? How are you going to grow with the times?

Alize Marchand: So, like I said, I started this business because I saw the opportunity in finance becoming more digital and more transparent and changing the conversations and the communications we’re having within finance. And the story of how it actually started was that I am someone who likes to talk about my ideas a lot and it surprises some of the Swiss, but I am a big talker. And so I was talking about how surprising it was that these financial services companies weren’t online. And my friend said, “Hey, Ali, I’ve been hearing you talk about this a lot. Why don’t you come to the asset management company that I’m working for and pitch to the team on why it’s important to be online? Because I agree with you”. And I was like, okay, didn’t have a company, didn’t have a business. And so I went there and I just presented some statistics and showed them the opportunity of occupying the online space. And in that meeting, there were actually the CEO and the owner of this asset management company. And then, this woman who had another company and a board member that had his own company. And so leaving that meeting, I had three clients and no business.

Oliver Bruce: [laughs] That’s quite a good way to start a business though.

Alize Marchand: Yeah, it was. So I knew Lona, who was my very first friend in Switzerland. And she worked for Switzerland’s biggest marketing agency and I called her and I said, “Hey, Lona, can I come over? I have a proposition”. And she was like, “okay, Ali”. And I went over to her house and I said, “Lona, I have three clients. Do you want to start a business with me?” Because I needed her marketing expertise, right. And she was so confused. She was like, “what do you mean you have three clients? You do marketing? Since when?!”. It was a very funny conversation, but yeah, at the end, she agreed to start this business with me. So I bring the financial knowledge and she brings the marketing knowledge and together we are a power team and we completely know different things, but it’s also been a huge learning experience and a struggle sharing, 50/50 a company with someone, right? And so the structure is that I am the CEO, kind of the face of the company. Lona is almost COO and in charge of all of the technical aspects. I mean, she was in marketing, but like the technical side of marketing, so Google search and display campaigns and, you know, the complicated stuff.

Oliver Bruce: Yeah. And I mean, in terms of that split, you say the 50/50, is it straight down the middle or is there a different equity split, you know, 49/51 for instance?

Alize Marchand: Yeah, [laughs] we did 50/50, but we’re learning why most people do not do that and why it’s not recommended to do that.

Oliver Bruce: Yes. I learned the same way. I mean, yes. I mean, I did 50/50. Don’t do it, but you’ve done it. But anyway…

Alize Marchand: Exactly. That’s the advice that I would give everybody as well.

Oliver Bruce: Have you done your personality types?

Alize Marchand: We have, yeah. The Myers-Briggs is that?

Oliver Bruce: Yeah, yeah. What have you come out as?

Alize Marchand: I believe I’m ENTJ.

Oliver Bruce: That’s what I am!

Alize Marchand: Oh really?!

Oliver Bruce: It’s fascinating. I mean, have you done Enneagrams as well, whereby you obviously have a number that gets given to you and then you have your wings have you looked into that?

Alize Marchand: Yes. I’m an eight.

Oliver Bruce: I’m an eight as well. This is just baffling. In terms of a number eight and an ENTJ and just generally entrepreneurs as a whole, how are you at managing? Because it’s not easy for some people.

Alize Marchand: No managing is something that I didn’t expect to be so hard. And I am so lucky. I have loved all of my bosses and they have all been my biggest fans and just helped me and supported me in when I wanted to leave the companies or when I was at the company and I wanted to learn something else. And so looking back, I am just in awe of all of the great managers I’ve come across because doing it myself is not an easy feat. And the communication aspect I think is the hardest for me.

Oliver Bruce: Well, how did you actually land on the name Impresm?

Alize Marchand: So that’s actually a funny story. It was after the business was already started and Lona and I were talking and we both wanted to come up with a great name. And obviously we both had very different ideas for what that was. And I have no idea how we pitched Impresm, but once we did both of us, just, it clicked for us. And the reason we landed on Impresm was because what we’re trying to do is teach the financial industry how to impress ’em; them being the next generation of investors, them being more women investors. So we just really want to help the finance industry impress ’em. That’s how we think of it.

Oliver Bruce: What does the future look like for you guys? I mean, are you looking at exiting in say five or 10 years time, or are you looking at passive income whereby it’s just running itself and you’re just pushing a few buttons, but actually you’re creaming off the top. I mean, have you even thought about that yet?

Alize Marchand: Yeah, we definitely have. And we actually, so the business started more as an agency, right? We had contracts from asset managers or VC or hedge funds, and they wanted us to do their content for them or set up paid campaigns for them. And it was very much like an agency. And earlier this week, this year, we introduced now digital products. So a digital course and things for more entrepreneurial people. So one man shows, like financial advisors or financial planners. And I think that is the way we want to grow the business because we can run a course with 20 financial planners and it can be really useful to them and not get us at our capacity. So not have us have to hire a new person for every new client we get, right? And so that’s the idea that we’re going to grow based on kind of digital products and have it be more the latter option that you mentioned, have it be kind of a passive income source that is running itself, hopefully.

Oliver Bruce: But in terms of being an owner operator, because fundamentally, you are the one that holds the reigns that does everything that is liable for the future of the business. I mean, over the last 12 months or so during the pandemic, what has that looked like? And what mistakes have you kind of had to overcome? Not knowing what to do really at the point.

Alize Marchand: The pandemic turned everything upside down, right? Luckily for us, it made companies and people more open to the online world and going digital because everybody had to go online, right. Nobody could go into work anymore. But what it has taught me is a lot of what I do is I am talking to our clients, I’m the client facing person, I’m networking. I’m getting us new clients. I’m also going on podcasts and on Instagram lives, LinkedIn lives. And I think the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned over the last year is that you don’t always have to say yes. That as an entrepreneur, your time is very valuable and saying no, can almost be more powerful than saying yes to everything that comes your way, because you have to be really selective with what you do as a CEO and a founder, right?

Oliver Bruce: Yeah. For sure. You have to be sieve. Someone said to me the other day that most people think entrepreneurs have to be a sponge and absorb and take everything in, but actually being a sieve is the most valuable form of being an entrepreneur because you know what to keep within the said sieve, what to let go, which is, you know, to your exact point there.

Alize Marchand: Yeah. Exactly. So I think one of the ways that I learned this was obviously as a really small growing business, the bigger companies always look so enticing, right? We want, you know, the UBS’ as clients because we can put that on our website. And so with the bigger companies, I think you have to be even more mindful that you’re saying no, and keeping your boundaries, because we had a situation where, you know, I was just saying, yes, yes, yes. And I take full responsibility, but it didn’t work out in the end for the client or for us. And I think that’s something that I’ve had to learn; actually saying no, and having some boundaries is beneficial for you and all of your clients, right? You have to make sure that you have enough in your cup that you can give to people and that you can provide a good service and the level, the quality that you want to provide. And by saying yes too often, it just drains you.

Oliver Bruce: But Ali, what does success then look like for you? So, you know, that could be personal life, but it could be also business life. What do you define as success?

Alize Marchand: That is such a great question. And I have thought about this so much. And I think that the definition of success for me is always changing. So right out of school, I thought success would be working at Goldman Sachs. And now, you know, my perception is different. For me, it looks like a lot of freedom. So a lot of time, time to spend with family, time to travel, free time. I’m not one of those people who loves to work like 80 hour weeks. Right. So that is not an ingredient to my form of success. Then also, having enough to give to others and to inspire and uplift others.

Oliver Bruce: That’s quite philanthropic.

Alize Marchand: Really, yeah. And a really important part of how I view myself as really successful is being a mentor to maybe young professional women or giving back to my family. I just really imagine myself when I’m at the epitome, the top of my success, that I’m able to give back so much more than I’m able to give now.

Oliver Bruce: And with regards to giving back to, let’s just say, you know, friends, family, entrepreneurs, people wanting to start a business. What is the one piece, the absolute key piece of advice that you’d give to anybody, male, female, starting a business already in a business, if they were looking to do what you’ve done?

Alize Marchand: The best piece of advice that I can give is to take action. So speak your ideas into existence, but take some form of action. And even if that is just reaching out to people on LinkedIn and talking about your ideas, like looking up on LinkedIn, people who have done what you’re wanting to do, or people who are in your industry, the more that you talk, the more you’re giving your mind, the ability to connect A to B. And so if you dream of being an entrepreneur or you dream of being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you have got to surround yourself with those ambitions and people who have made it there. So you can learn what the action steps are to get there. And so the two pieces of advice is just to talk about your ideas with anybody and everybody, and find people who have done what you want to do and connect with them, somehow. Even if that’s just commenting on their LinkedIn posts every single day, I guarantee you that will have an impact.

Oliver Bruce: And if people want to connect with you, and if people want to find out more information about you, because I know we have wealth managers, I know we have financial orientated people that listen specifically to this podcast, where can they go to find you? And where can they go to find the business?

Alize Marchand: The business is Impresm. I M P R E S M. And you can find us at impresm.com or @letsimpresm on Twitter or Instagram. And then my name is Alize Marchand. It’s A L I Z E Marchand on LinkedIn and Instagram is just at @alizemarchand

Oliver Bruce: We’ll link to it in the podcast, but Ali, thanks so much for dialling in from Switzerland. It’s been an absolute pleasure. I will speak to you very, very soon.

Alize Marchand: Thanks so much, Oliver.

Oliver Bruce: Take care.

Oliver Bruce: If you’re looking for more stories from inspirational entrepreneurs, then check out the Cereal Entrepreneur from Startups Magazine, a digital and print publication that champions tech startups. You can find them by searching the Cereal entrepreneur, as in your breakfast, into any streaming service or by going to startupsmagazine.co.uk. Thanks so much for listening and don’t forget to subscribe on all major podcast streaming platforms. Without you, this podcast is literally pointless. Rate and review on Apple podcasts so that we can continue to climb the rankings. And if you want to join me on the show or know somebody else who will fit the bill, please contact me via LinkedIn at Oliver Bruce online. Thanks again for listening. Take care.


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