Strategy

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

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

The 3 Activities of the SaaS Sales Process

By | Sales, Startups, Strategy | No Comments

What would it feel like hiring 150 sales people for your company in 6 months?

That’s the question I asked Scot, the founder of Classy, a few months ago.

Their story is EPIC!

I’ll fast track his answer… essentially, he started out for many years being the primary salesperson, then hired around him, but remained inseparable from that process.

After years of hustling and grinding he eventually hired his first VP of Sales.

I still remember our first advisory board meeting and how excited I got about their new plans to scale sales.

How did he do it? Read More

5 Things That All GREAT Startups Have

By | Growth Engine, Startups, Strategy | No Comments

“This is totally a company you would create!”

That’s what people would say every time I showed them the prototype for Clarity.

My passion for connecting people to have a conversation was something I had been doing for years…

… first starting with Founder Dinners, and morphing over the years to my entrepreneurial events like Maple Summit, Idea to Exit, etc.

What I quickly realized is that most great companies were started by founders who had a passion for the problem way before they discovered the solution. Read More

The Audience Triangle – 5 Stages of Customer Intent

By | Marketing, Sales, Strategy | No Comments

If I grabbed 100 people, and asked them how many needed to buy a pair of jeans – only 3 would raise their hands…

… but 7% would be “In Market” (the 2nd stage of the Audience Triangle) and will be buying soon.

What about the other 90%?

How do you speak to them?

That’s what I cover in this week’s video where I define the 5 stages and the different “buying intents” of each.

If you do this right, you can create marketing content that will take care of the market until they’re ready to buy.

Here’s how it works. Read More

The 3 Inputs to a Great Product Roadmap

By | Marketing, Startups, Strategy | No Comments

When I first built Clarity.fm, it wasn’t a marketplace.

It was a call list app.

The concept was that I could add anyone to my list, with phone number and description, then it would robo call each person, reading to me the name of the person and reason for the call.

In short…

I was building a productivity tool, NOT a marketplace.

A strategic “face palm” that would greatly handicap the business’ potential for growth. (#2 on my list of inputs to build great product).

Even after I held a 300 person launch event in my hometown of Moncton, I refused to build search into the product.

What I did instead was build a page that listed all of the experts who were available for a call.

Stupid.

It wasn’t until after months of getting emails to our support team that I realized we needed to add a search feature.

What happened next was the beginning of what made Clarity a huge success. Read More

How To Create a Business Playbook™ (aka SOP’s: Standard Operating Procedures) for Your Startup

By | Productivity, Startups, Strategy | 7 Comments

Are you down with SOP’s?

Some call em’ Standard Operating Procedures, I call them Playbooks.

If you’re tired of putting out fires in your business, then you’ll need them to keep your sanity.

Recently I had the privilege of having dinner w/ the Godfather of system design for entrepreneurs, Michael Gerber (author of The E-Myth / 10M copies sold).

I shared my story of how his book transformed everything for me.

At 23 I was set on starting another company for the 3rd time (the first two failed), but I was deadset on doing it differently.

Listen to the full story on my Facebook page (10m21s).

Gerber’s book, taught me a new way to think about business. Read More

How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle and Avoid Wasting Time

By | Sales, Startups, Strategy | 3 Comments

If I asked you to name a credit card company that rhymes with latex…”

Could you guess who I’m talking about?

Yes? Got it?

Good, so now you’ll understand the size of the company I was trying to sell to.

The challenge with big companies is that they have all the time, resources and money in the world, so wasting your company’s time isn’t a big deal.

For a small company, this imbalance of resources can mean death.

So to even the playing field, I developed a technique I call the Commitment Fee™. Read More

The 6 Secrets Of Repeat Business: How To Make More Sales Without Finding New Customers

By | Growth Engine, Marketing, Strategy | One Comment

The other day my furnace stopped working.

The issue is that my wife was trying to change the air filter.

Why?

Don’t ask (she just likes to do those kinds of things, and yes – I realize I’m the man of the house and I should be doing it, but I digress…)

After Renee’s noble attempt at performing advanced furnace surgery…

… we got stuck with a half-opened furnace, and no idea how to piece that sucker back together.

So I called my brother who built my house (he’s kind of a baller, check out his story).

He laughed and asked why the heck I was changing the filter myself?

Why didn’t I have the furnace guy do it? Read More

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