Startup Help

Startup Help is the category for all posts relating to general help for startups and entrepreneurs, that does not specifically fall into the category of Building a Sales and Marketing Machine, or Business Models

Consumer VCs like to make light of the Founders Fund mantra ‘We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.’ For those of us working in the enterprise, it’s actually the reverse, “They promised us 140 characters, instead we got Workday.” Since 2010, SaaS applications were supposed to “consumerize”, but...

In this article I interview Aaron Ross, co-author of a new book, Predictable Revenue. Aaron discusses his experience at Salesforce.com starting a new group that used an innovative outbound prospecting approach (involving no cold calls) to create new leads. Aaron’s group came up with several important breakthroughs...

Customers hate being sold to. Customers hate being sold to. They don’t mind getting expert help when they want to buy something. But much of the time they are not ready to buy, and one of the most irritating things is to have a salesperson try to get them to buy when they aren’t ready. Unfortunately too many people in...

The Science behind Viral Marketing is a look at the key factors that drive growth in viral marketing. (Hint, the most important factor is not the one everyone expects.) It also looks at what is needed to get virality to work, and how to create and optimize viral marketing campaigns or viral products. This was a slide...

If you are a serial entrepreneur starting to look for an idea for your next startup, you are likely to want a way to stimulate your brain to come up with as many good ideas as possible. This blog post outlines a framework that is designed to fire up your best creative thinking modes, triggering the creation of new...

Introduction This post aims to help startup CEOs optimize their funding strategy by examining how investors value startups, and explaining how to avoid the common cash management pitfalls. (Note: The concepts in this post will likely be obvious to experienced CEOs and entrepreneurs. Despite that, our experience...

Here is the slide deck that I presented last night at the Boston Lean Startup Circle. The slide deck describes how to build a Sales & Marketing Machine that is predictable, scalable, automated, well instrumented, and cost efficient. Building a sales & marketing machine Building a sales & marketing machine from...

Many entrepreneurs have a strong suspicion that there is an opportunity in a particular market, but lack the detailed understanding of customer pain needed to design an appropriate solution. The  following guest post by John Raguin, ex-CEO, and co-founder of Guidewire Software, describes how he and his co-founders...

How to make sure your sales forecast has been properly validated so it will stand up to test of time (and investor scrutiny). This blog post looks at the process that I would use as a board member or investor to validate a bookings forecast, checking to see if the key elements that are needed to support that forecast...

Almost every sales and marketing funnel has blockage points where the conversion rates are lower than hoped, or the process cannot be scaled. This blog post talks about how to solve those blockage points using an intense study of the customer's concerns, and brainstorming to see what motivations can be used to over...

Great companies are almost always run by great management teams. And great management teams know that the only way to improve a process is to start by measuring it. Good metrics should also be actionable, and drive successful behavior. In this post I hope to help show how to figure out which metrics matter the most,...

In the many thousands of articles advising entrepreneurs on what they have to focus on to build successful startups, much has been written about three key factors: team, product and market, with particular focus on the importance of product/market fit. Failure to get product/market fit right is very likely the number...

A short study of this web site reveals that a hugely important factor for success in startup companies is finding ways to acquire customers at a low cost. In the Business Models section, we looked at the perfect business model: Viral customer acquisition with good monetization. However viral growth turns out to be an...

As a serial entrepreneur, I learned a lot of lessons from things that didn’t work. These lessons later on shaped my ideas on what would be needed to build a successful startup company. When I became a VC, I realized that these same lessons could be applied to helping evaluate the many businesses that I was getting to...

This post is part of my series An Analysis of 5 Business Models. Many businesses talk about Viral marketing, but in reality, only a few are actually able to pull off true viral marketing. The effect of viral marketing is that a company can acquire their customers without spending any marketing dollars. The internet is...