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SaaS Growth Stacking - with Dan Martell

How do you end up in rehab for 11 months, discover computer programming, then build 5 tech startups, selling 3 and raising money for the last 2 in 15 years? Tune in each week and Dan Martell will teach you: How he got invited to spend a week with Richard Branson. How he ended up raising money from Mark Cuban. How to hack your productivity. How to focus your marketing efforts. How to get your big dreams funded. How to build, scale and sell your technology company without giving away the control to investors and financial stakeholders. The 3 disempowering “pick me, pick me” mentality that plagues startup founders.. and what you can do to avoid it and fund your startup. Tune in each week and get Dan’s deep-in-the-trenches experience as a father, serial entrepreneur, and investor. Do you want to fund, start, scale and sell your business? That’s the only question that matters here. If the answer is “yes”, then hit the SUBSCRIBE button and let’s make it happen.
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Now displaying: December, 2017
Dec 25, 2017

Every startup wants to grow fast.

And while there’s value in modelling the tactics and strategies that have fueled the rapid success of companies they look up to…

There’s even MORE value in identifying the core, underlying principles that serve as the backbone for that success.

Over the years, I’ve identified 5 core elements behind the perfect software business.

I learned one of them directly from Jason Fried @ Basecamp.com when I visited Chicago to take his workshop over 10 years ago.

Another from guys like Mike McDerment @ Freshbooks.com, and Ben Chesnut @ MailChimp.com, both early mentors of mine who inspired a lot of the work I create at Flowtown.

In today’s world you see companies like Slack.com, and Intercom.com (disclosure: I’m an investor) shooting for the moon and you wonder:

“How did they do it?”

That’s what I want to break down for you in this week’s video.

Here are the 5 key elements that the world’s best startups all have in common.

What I’ve learned is it really comes down to how the product is used by the companies, how they extract the value (i.e. get paid) and their position in the market…

… now, there are some nuances, and I go over them in the video, but I want to list them out real quick so that you can understand how impressive it is for a company to hit this level of growth:

  1. Product Is Core to the Operation of the Business
  2. Cost/Value Proposition is Straightforward
  3. Finances Its Own Growth
  4. Efficient Sales Model
  5. Market Leadership

If you’ve got tough decisions to make on your product to better address these elements and need my feedback, be sure to leave a comment with your question and some context, I would love to help.

See you next Monday!

--

Dan Martell has advised more startups than his hometown has people and teaches startup founders like you how to scale. (Get the free 3 videos to grow your business here.) He previously created, raised venture funding for and successfully exited two tech startups: Flowtown and Clarity.fm. You should follow him on twitter@danmartell for tweets that are actually awesome.

Are you an entrepreneur? Get free weekly video training here:
http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter

+ Instagram (behind the scenes): http://instagram.com/danmartell
+ Facebook (live trainings + Q&A): http://FB.com/DanMartell
+ Twitter (what I'm reading): http://twitter.com/danmartell

Dec 18, 2017

When I started my SaaS (that stands for Software-as-a-Service) startup Flowtown my co-founder Ethan and I had a tough decision to make…

How do we fund the company?

Even though I had the capital to self fund the whole thing, as I had just sold my previous company Spheric, he was 23 and didn’t have a penny to his name.

So this is what I did…

It was Friday, and I said, if you can find a way to raise $15K, I would fund the rest.

On Monday he called and said he had the money!???

That’s when I learned how great of a person he was.

You can listen to how he did it in this week’s video, alongside the 8 other strategies you can use to raise money for your startup.

I go deep into all 8 strategies in the video…

But if you’re looking for a quick primer, here are my 2 favorites:

  1. Crowdfunding: I like this one because it also has the side effect to help you validate the idea as well. If no one buys, then it might be an indication that the idea is bad, or that you packaged it wrong.  I’d rather find out quickly before I invest a ton of time and money to fix things.
  2. Venture capital: Even though most people think VC’s are horrible, I’ve learnt that there’s something powerful to having incredible investors. It’s a quick way to establish authority in a space, it provides a sense of confidence (if you get the right investors) that you know they’re in your corner, and you get the positive peer pressure to report your numbers to an external group of people.

You might of expected some kind of secret government program, or easy way to get banks to lend you money, but I’m a big fan of testing and validation…

And nothing works better to prove you have an idea worth pursuing than having others take their hard earned money and invest in your business.

My good friend Clay Hebert, a crowdfunding expert, once said “… the cost of failure will eventually go to $0 because of crowdfunding.” and I’m a big supporter of this.

So if you have big dreams, there’s a good chance you’ll need some money to fund them.

Be sure to study all 8 of these strategies and use them accordingly.

If you have any questions for me on how you should use them, be sure to leave a comment with your questions – that’s best way for me to help!

--

Dan Martell has advised more startups than his hometown has people and teaches startup founders like you how to scale. (Get the free 3 videos to grow your business here.) He previously created, raised venture funding for and successfully exited two tech startups: Flowtown and Clarity.fm. You should follow him on twitter@danmartell for tweets that are actually awesome.

Are you an entrepreneur? Get free weekly video training here:
http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter

+ Instagram (behind the scenes): http://instagram.com/danmartell
+ Facebook (live trainings + Q&A): http://FB.com/DanMartell
+ Twitter (what I'm reading): http://twitter.com/danmartell

Dec 11, 2017

Have you ever struggled with your marketing website?

Sure, they have templates and super slick WYSIWYG editors.

But that doesn’t deal with the hard part:

The content.

WTF do I put on those pages?

How do I turn lorem ipsum into monthly recurring revenue?

How many pages should I have on my site?

What should those pages be?…

I need a blog, right?… right?…. right?

(read below to find out) :p

If you’ve ever wrestled with these questions… then I want to make things really simple for you.

In this week’s video, I share my Authority Architecture framework that will help you design the ultimate website for your startup.

The first thing you need to understand is your website is a 24/7 salesperson.

They don’t sleep, but they do repeat themselves – the exact same way – to everyone that they talk to.

(Did I lose you in that analogy?)

Here’s a quick rundown of the 5 pages you NEED to have on your website…

… and more importantly, the critical questions they need to be able to answer for your visitor.

  1. Home Page: The information on this page should answer “Do I need this?” for your potential customer. Is it clear? Does it have a product hook, and a clear promise?
  2. Pricing Page: This is typically the second page customers will look at, and they want to know “Is this for me?” So be sure to align your pricing with your ideal customer profile. That means you can’t sell a $30/mth plan if you’re wanting to attract Fortune 2000 clients. It causes a disconnect.
  3. Features Page: The information on this page, the complete list of benefits and features of your product should answer the “Does this solve my problem?” for your customers. If you integrate with specific solutions, list them. If you have key features that overcome specific problems, have those as well.  If they don’t see it listed, they might think your competitor – who does list it – has a better product.
  4. About Page: I can’t tell you how many startups do not have an About page??? It blows my mind. How can anyone trust a company if I don’t know who’s behind it.  The question people need answered here is “Should I trust them?”. So yes, put a picture of you, your team. Be honest. If you’re small, own it.
  5. Blog: Some startups still ask me, should I have a blog? Of course. Here’s why… when a customer invests in your product, they’re also taking a bet on you to continue to innovate and improve. Your blog will answer this question for them: “Are they experts?”. If they don’t see your thinking on the blog, they may be concerned that you won’t keep up with the times and that will hurt you vs. alternatives in the market.

If you tweak those 5 pages, add the missing content or tweak your messaging to be a bit clearer (and answer those questions) your site will rock!

Take a few mins to watch this video so that you can finally drag that pesky “website development” Trello card into the “completed column”…

… and sit back as your 24/7 salesperson brings in the revenue.

--

Dan Martell has advised more startups than his hometown has people and teaches startup founders like you how to scale. (Get the free 3 videos to grow your business here.) He previously created, raised venture funding for and successfully exited two tech startups: Flowtown and Clarity.fm. You should follow him on twitter@danmartell for tweets that are actually awesome.

Are you an entrepreneur? Get free weekly video training here:
http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter

+ Instagram (behind the scenes): http://instagram.com/danmartell
+ Facebook (live trainings + Q&A): http://FB.com/DanMartell
+ Twitter (what I'm reading): http://twitter.com/danmartell

Dec 4, 2017

How much does it cost you to acquire a customer?

Understanding that will help you understand your model.

Most founders think it’s just the cost of your advertising spend.

Nope.

It’s everything you spend on marketing (people + ad spend + contractors, etc) AND sales (everyone involved in the process + tools, etc)…

And that still doesn’t include anyone you might have to qualify, or the cost of running webinars, etc.

All that to say, knowing your numbers matters because it’ll help you understand where you should be in my Software Sales Matrix™.

Watch this week’s video to learn how to avoid landing in the “Startup Graveyard”… and the 3 strategies to pull you out fast.

When I sit down with a startup to help them scale their business, I always ask questions around 4 key areas.

  • What’s the average size of a deal on an annual basis (called ACV: Annual Contract Value).
  • What do your marketing activities look like and how much do you spend on a monthly basis?
  • What do you offer to support your customers? 1-800 #? Online FAQ? Do you send people on site to train or configure?
  • How does your sales process work? Who’s involved? What’s the time to close a new lead?
  • How do you onboard a new customer? What’s the process for them to get started?

With only the answers to these questions, I can build a complete model of their business in my mind and map it to the matrix to understand where their opportunities lie.

When it comes to scaling a SaaS business, understanding what you can invest in, and what you can’t because your pricing doesn’t allow it, is the ultimate clarity.

It’s this level of clarity that most overenthusiastic startup founders are blind to.

They dig their head in the sand… and in doing so, dig an early grave for their startup.

Watch the video to understand the two axis’s I use to evaluate startups, and place them on the grid.

Do this for your company, then leave a comment and let me know what you learned.

Can’t wait to hear where you’re at!

--

Dan Martell has advised more startups than his hometown has people and teaches startup founders like you how to scale. (Get the free 3 videos to grow your business here.) He previously created, raised venture funding for and successfully exited two tech startups: Flowtown and Clarity.fm. You should follow him on twitter@danmartell for tweets that are actually awesome.

Are you an entrepreneur? Get free weekly video training here:
http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter

+ Instagram (behind the scenes): http://instagram.com/danmartell
+ Facebook (live trainings + Q&A): http://FB.com/DanMartell
+ Twitter (what I'm reading): http://twitter.com/danmartell

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