I had the pleasure of meeting with Raj Goodman Anand, founder of Goodman Lantern, a team of native English content, writing and software development services that help businesses sell better and grow faster.
Raj is an engineer by profession and has founded three startups, raised capital, and taken one venture from zero to acquisition. He has not only had a flourishing career within startups but also with large and mid-sized organizations, working on launching startups or new products within them. Products he has built have made companies an income in excess of £55m.
Raj has also won BusinessWeek’s Europe’s Young Entrepreneur (2007) and has been named one of Revolution Magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in Digital (2009). He has spoken at various venues including the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, British Library, and several universities including LSE. Raj and his entrepreneurial ventures have had coverage in The Telegraph, Guardian, BusinessWeek, and Observer.
Prior to starting Goodman Lantern, Raj was working for an organization in Europe taking 280 flights a year traveling across Asia and Europe. He joined as the Director of Innovation and eventually become the CEO. He and his team were really good at developing a brand story and SEO based on content writing. Raj really understood the power of content, especially in the B2B space, when he took this business from £7.5M to £45M over his five year tenure.
Taking a step back from all of the travel, Raj thought he could be successful and run a company for himself. His ambition was to build a business which he could run from a boat in the middle of the ocean – that’s how Goodman Lantern was born! They’re a team of native English content writers and very focused on helping businesses grow faster and sell better.
Where Goodman Lantern is today
In six years, Goodman Lantern has grown to a 7-digit revenue company. Their clients are mostly B2B companies in the luxury, healthcare and technology verticals.
As a way of giving back to society, many of the company’s team members are women. The company’s focus is to reduce gender inequality. Raj firmly believes he has a responsibility to give women opportunities to grow and shine, especially in technology and marketing.
The teams are predominantly in the US and UK. The company’s clients are primarily in the US, but they do work with clients all across the world.
There are three tiers of team members: upper management (10 people), secondary management (20 people) who are working full time or FTP. They also have hundreds of freelancers who work with the company on a regular basis that make up the third tier. The team is driven by the same principles: gender equality and equal pay.
Running a company remotely requires a lot of meticulous planning to grow and meeting current demands. Raj shared three key operational areas that have helped him scale his company. First, the onboarding process ensures new employees are in line with the company’s core values. This ensures that during times of challenges or growth, everyone functions under the same guiding core values. For example, experimentation is one of the core values Raj shared. It encourages his teams to push each other in experimenting and learning.
A second key process is around documentation. All team members are encouraged to follow written processes that can be replicated. A third item is motivation. The teams are incentivized with profit sharing. There is also a bonus structure for managers. The aim is for all employees to grow together.
On the flipside, Raj and I talked about the challenges we’re facing not meeting face to face with our teams. At Goodman Lantern, they have remote “quarantini” meetups (quarantine plus martini) where on a Friday, you can grab a drink and have a chitchat with a colleague.
During meetings, daily and weekly check-ins, the managers are asking team members about their health and family and really making sure everyone is feeling secure which in turn increases productivity and happiness.
Raj shared two things he wished he would have done from day one. One of them is thinking long term. Often, as business owners, or as individuals, we think about the short-term incentives and the short term gains to being successful. In reality, it takes a long time. There are appearances of companies doing really well, like Uber, which are apparently all successes, but that’s not true. There is a lot of hard work that has gone prior to those big milestones which they have achieved. It takes long term commitment.
The second is respect and ownership for the team members. The aim of every employee onboarded at Goodman Lantern is to make them feel like the founder of the business. So in their niche and department, they are heading their own area because that ownership gives them control. If you combine that with the other incentives (financial, career, learning), then that motivates them even further.
Raj encourages all founders and business owners to actually think about these things: long term objectives and empowering team members.
Clearly the pandemic has had an impact on all businesses. As a result, there’s a massive move to digital. It’s been a busy time for Goodman Lantern who focus on online content, digital, SEO or brand building.
Other areas, such as healthcare in the UK, the National Health Services (NHS) is now online with an application. People can talk to general practitioners directly via an application – something that wasn’t available. Raj believes this is moving in the right direction and we will see more and more of this in the coming months and years. However, Raj believes we cannot forget the face to face time, in person communication and meetups, once everything is back to normal. He often believes that the online work we do has only one motivation, and that is to meet in person at some point. As social beings, it is very important that we shake hands and look at people.
My conversation with Raj was so insightful! Up until a few weeks ago, Raj had a morning routine that included waking up at 6:30am with some breathing exercises and meditation before checking emails. His routine was disrupted by the birth of his daughter (Congratulations to Raj!) and now he’s just trying to catch up on sleep.
You can contact Raj on LinkedIn. For more information, please go to https://goodmanlantern.com/.