Startups

3 Key Principles To Building a Software Company With No Money

By | Sales, Startups, Strategy | No Comments

Can you build a thriving software business without writing code?

Can you generate real revenues without having anything built?

The answer is yes, and I personally believe that it’s the only way to do it.

A couple weeks ago I was in San Francisco hosting my Sales Pipeline Intensive event for my SaaS Academy clients, and one of the speakers John (founder of five9.com, $1.2B saas company) echoed a similar sentiment…

It was funny because we hadn’t connected prior to his talk.

So I did some research on his latest company JetBridge.com, and it mentioned all the different areas they were innovating sales using AI/Machine Learning, and when he comes up, he just smiled and said “oh, all that’s bullshit” ???? Read More

Why Bootstrapped Founders Should Use These 5 Agreements To Scale Their Startup

By | Growth Engine, Marketing, Startups | 8 Comments

One of my favourite stories of a bootstrapped founder is Clay Collins.

He’s the creator of LeadPages.net, and when I first met him he was doing $100K+ a month in recurring revenue.

As someone who came from the online education space, he knew his customers intimately and was an incredible marketer.

I still remember our first conversation and the questions I was asking.

I couldn’t believe the level of growth he achieved in only a few short months.

What I learned that day was the foundation for what I now call the Scaling Credo.

It’s a simple list of 5 things, that if you agree to, can dramatically impact your business. Read More

3 Question Frameworks You NEED To Use For Product Development

By | Community, Marketing, Startups | 4 Comments

It’s 2011 and I’m pacing back and forth in a parking lot in LA.

I’m about to go on This Week in Startups to talk about Flowtown which had just been acquired, but I’m stressing out…

I’m on the phone with Sean Ellis – the creator of the Customer Development survey – walking through the customer feedback I’m getting for a new product I’m starting to work on called Clarity.

I’m having a hard time figuring out my next steps.

People are signing up, but many aren’t making calls or coming back…

… so I’ve sent out a survey to ask them specific questions so I can better understand their needs and expectations.

That’s when Sean shares with me the Rosetta Stone of understanding my customer’s suggestions. Read More

How Startups Should Map Their Content Marketing Strategy To The Buyer’s Journey

By | Marketing, Startups, Strategy | 2 Comments

Wow, did I ever butcher this joke.

“The CEO, CFO, and Marketing Manager walk into the bar…”

You can watch the video below to see how I killed my stand-up career before it even started…

…but here’s what I was trying to convey.

Depending on WHO you are, you probably have a different need for the same outcome (i.e. a drink).

When I was building my startup Flowtown, we had customers who bought our product at $20/month, some at $200/month and even a few at $2K/month!

Were they the same? Yes and no. Read More

Where to find a code-cranking unicorn (aka CTO)

By | Leadership, Startups, Strategy | One Comment

Steve Jobs (Apple) had Steve Wozniak.
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) had Dustin Moskovitz.
Bill Gates (Microsoft) had Paul Allen.

Even though they could all code themselves, the greatest business leaders of our generation, all had a technical co-founder by their side.

Why?

They knew they’d need help building the actual product as their focus shifted to growing the business.

I had the same experience in my companies.

How did they find these people?

How did they convince them to join them in their vision? Read More

8 Ways To Make Money (for Teenagers)

By | Education, Financial, Startups | No Comments

Did you know that at age 13, John D Rockefeller – the richest man in the world – built his family a house?!!!

As a teenager I was definitely not a productive member of society.

Quite the opposite actually.

That being said, I continue to believe that we all underestimate what kids can accomplish at every age.

If you have teenagers in your life, this video is for them.

Over the past few months I’ve received dozens of emails and comments on my videos from young entrepreneurs (9-15 year olds) asking for advice.

So after a few emails I decided to create a video sharing the 8 ways I would start making money if I were starting over in my teens. Read More

Why I had to crush a 15 year old’s dream (I’m not sorry)

By | Growth Engine, Startups, Strategy | 2 Comments

A few months ago I had lunch with a bunch of highschool aged entrepreneurs to give them feedback on their idea.

They were planning on building an energy generating play park for kids.

Now, I don’t mean to come off as a direct poo-pooer of dreams…

… but after 15 minutes of listening to their pitch I decided to ask some questions that I knew were going to shatter their excitement.

  1. Have you figured out the average time a kid plays on a play park?
  2. If they did play with your version of a swing, how much energy would it generate?
  3. Does that amount generate a sizable amount of energy?
  4. What’s the added cost to build a swing your way vs. the existing way?
  5. Does the assumed energy production cover the additional cost?

Read More

How To Divide Ownership Fairly When Forming A Startup

By | Community, Financial, Startups | One Comment

How does Richard Branson manage 400+ companies?

He doesn’t.

Over the years he’s learned how to build teams and split ownership in a way that drives everything forward.

In 2004, after 2 failed companies, I finally learnt this lesson.

When I started my company Spheric Technologies I started it with partners.

Why? I realized if I wanted to go far – and get there faster – I needed other people on the team that had a piece of the business.

One of the strategies I teach my high-end coaching clients ($5M+ / year in revenue) is how to build and structure teams to take on new initiatives outside their businesses.

I’m all about focus, but it doesn’t mean you can’t bring other ideas to life… Read More

Tools For Entrepreneurs: Managing Software Development

By | Leadership, Productivity, Startups | No Comments

In 2001, I got a job I wasn’t qualified for.

I was hired by a big oil company to lead a new project with dozens of developers to build a product that would be used by every employee in the company.

No pressure, right?

On the first day, the hiring manager realized I was in way over my head and pulled me aside to tell me I had 2 weeks to “figure things out”.

Umm… ok?

I had no clue what that meant… but the stakes were clear, and I couldn’t lose this project.

I hadn’t worked in 2 months and if I failed, it meant moving back in with my parents. Read More

The 5-10 Principle for Creating High Converting SaaS Lead Magnets

By | Growth Engine, Marketing, Startups | 4 Comments

The other day I had an old highschool friend invite me to a private facebook group for their network marketing product.

When I scanned the posts in the group, they were ALL promotional and salesy.

Nothing added value to their customers lives.

It was all about them.

Unfriend.

I have a real problem with any company that doesn’t think of helping their customers BEFORE they ask for a sale.

It just seems backwards.

But how do you do that? Read More

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