Driving company performance: What are you settling for?

good

I was with one of my CEOs this morning. As we walked through the highs and lows of his business I made a suggestion that I want to pass on.

Nothing’s ever perfect in a startup, or life for that matter. Perfection is an illusion. However, on the startup journey the bulk of value gets created once everything starts to work.

Continue reading Driving company performance: What are you settling for?

Creative ways to scale SMB customer acquisition

Many startups begin life selling to small business (SMB). SMB is a very appealing market. For one, it’s big (30 million businesses in the US alone). Also, they make quick buying decisions. Sounds great!

But…

The challenge with SMB as a customer segment is that each customer is small. It might be easy to get your first few customers. But over time you become a victim of your own success. The bigger you get, the higher your customer acquisition costs go. Hubspot’s CEO Brian Halligan illustrates this challenge beautifully in his recent post ‘why aren’t there more Intuits”.

Building the next Intuit…

If you sell more to the ‘M’ (i.e. mid-sized businesses), then you can build a large inside sales team. This is what Hubspot does. This is also why they raised boat loads of capital. Once they got their fundamental unit of growth working, they never stopped hiring sales reps. Continue reading Creative ways to scale SMB customer acquisition

It’s all just input. You need to make the decisions

Screenshot 2016-02-10 07.57.35Back in my VC days we ran the FounderFuel accelerator. Our program was blessed with many strong mentors. We regularly brought mentors and companies together. 

While this was all good, often the founders would complain of “mentor whiplash”. Mentors would have conflicting advice for these founders.

I see similar issues with more established companies when it comes to their boards. Often they turn to their board for advice. And often, individual board members have different advice. What are you supposed to do? Especially if the conflicting advice comes from investors that made big bets on you.

Here’s the thing: All the advice you’re getting is just input. You are supposed to digest that input and make the final call.  Continue reading It’s all just input. You need to make the decisions

The two keys to a great meeting

Image source: http://www.icanbarelydraw.com/comic/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/long-boring-meetings-600dpi.png
Image source: http://www.icanbarelydraw.com/comic/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/long-boring-meetings-600dpi.png

No one likes meetings, yet we always seem to be in them. Given this reality, how do we get the most out of them?

The blogosphere is littered with thoughts on this topic. I won’t reinvent them here. However, as a surivor of years of meetings, I have distilled that pain into two keys to a great meeting: Continue reading The two keys to a great meeting