Mission-Driven Startups

Recently I was meeting with an entrepreneur and he started talking about their mission. After five minutes on the mission it was clear he was serious and dedicated to building a mission-driven business. First, what’s a mission?

From How to Write a Perfect Mission Statement, here are a few examples:

  • Ben & Jerry’s: Making the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way.
  • Disney: To make people happy.
  • Instagram: Capture and Share the World’s Moments.
  • Amazon: To be the world’s most customer-centric company.

A mission is the core aspiration of the business. The best mission statements are short, inspiring, and memorable.

Here are a few ways to know if it’s a mission-driven startup:

  • Employees talk about “we” and not “I”
  • Everyone in the company can recite the mission
  • The entrepreneur is constantly connecting the actions with the mission
  • There’s a sense of focus and drive in the team members where it’s clear that it’s more than “just a job”

Look for the rare mission-driven startup. Mission-driven startups grow faster, achieve more, and make a bigger impact.

What else? What are some more thoughts on mission-driven startups?

Compounding Value Over Time

One of the most profound forward-looking concepts is the power of compounding value. I’ve mentioned the idea several times before, and it’s worth repeating many more. Let’s take the simple example:

  • Start with $1,000 of value today
  • Compound at 5% annually
  • After five years you get $1,276

Now, expand that value in a hyper-growth ( > 50%) fashion:

  • Start with $1,000 of value today
  • Compound at 50% annually
  • After five years you get $7,594

By growing at 50% per year instead of 5% per year, there’s 6x the value in only five years. Carry it out further in the future and the multiple becomes even more dramatic.

Finally, apply the compounding value concept to ownership in a startup with a much larger dollar base and fast growth rates. The SaaS valuation growth rate multiplier shows the importance of growth, and the corresponding compounding value, in a startup. Combine that with Tomasz Tunguz’s When Should I Sell and it’s clear how to create real value.

Do the simple math. Run the numbers around compounding value and appreciate just how powerful it is to create incredible value over time.

What else? What are some more thoughts on compounding value over time?

Announcing the new Endeavor Atlanta for High-Impact Entrepreneurs

Last month I joined the non-profit board of Endeavor Atlanta to help local high-impact entrepreneurs scale their businesses and grow the entrepreneurial community. Endeavor is a global organization with chapters in almost 30 cities and nearly 1,500 entrepreneurs. Here, in Atlanta, we’re looking for 6-8 entrepreneurs per year that are committed to learning, growing, and giving back as part of a program to help them realize their full potential.

Here’s what we’re looking for in Endeavor entrepreneurs:

  • Motivated, learning-oriented mindset
  • Scalable, high growth business
  • $500k – $10 million in revenue
  • Aspirations to grow to $100+ million in revenue

Want to learn more? Read the press release about Endeavor Atlanta and reach out to meet. We’d love to talk more.

What else? What are some more questions about the new Endeavor Atlanta chapter?

The Four Recurring Activities to Build a Powerful Marketing Engine

Earlier today I was talking to a successful entrepreneur that has built an excellent company in only a few short years. Intrigued, I asked a simple question: how’d you do it? His response: we built community around our target audience. That sounds straightforward; I wanted details. Here are the four recurring activities to build a powerful marketing engine:

  1. Two Quality Blog Posts Per Week – Inbound marketing works well when done consistently with great content. Want to see an example of great content? Check out Hitenism.com.
  2. One Quality Webinar Per Week – Webinars work wonders. At Pardot, we ran a new one every week and they were super successful. Make great slides, get a guest speaker, and run a weekly webinar.
  3. One Quality Email Newsletter Per Week – Build a list of opt-in subscribers. Find people that care about quality content and send a weekly newsletter. Need an example? HubSpot has over 300,000 subscribers to their newsletter.
  4. One In-Person Event Per Month – People connect with people first, companies second. Run in-person events locally at first and then in major cities around the country. Build a tribe. Find the 1,000 true fans.

These four activities are hard to do well. After achieving product/market fit, this approach is excellent to build a repeatable customer acquisition process.

What else? What are some more thoughts on these four recurring activities to build a powerful marketing engine?

Example Account-Based Sales and Marketing Program

Terminus put on an excellent FlipMyFunnel class today. One element of the event was walking through an account-based sales and marketing program. Let’s take a look at their example:

Marketing Touch Points

  • Pre-cadence: Terminus Ads
  • During cadence: LinkedIn and Facebook retargeting to known contacts
  • After 1st 8 days: Direct mail to unresponsive accounts

Sales Touch Points

  • Day 1: Personalized video email (via Vidyard integration in SalesLoft)
  • Day 2: Email
  • Day 4: LinkedIn (Attempt to connect)
  • Day 6: InMail
  • Day 7: Video email (From different team member)
  • Day 8: Call, no VM
  • Day 8: Direct mail
  • Day 13: Call, LVM about the package
  • Day 13: Email about the package
  • Day 15: Video email
  • Day 16: Call, no VM
  • Day 20: Breakup video email

Most companies focus on making a certain number of calls and emails per day that ends up being broad and shallow. Modern customer acquisition teams run detailed outbound account-based sales and marketing program against their best-fit accounts using account-based intelligence.

Thanks to Terminus and the FlipMyFunnel team for putting on the event and sharing the excellent ideas.

What else? What are some more components of an effective account-based sales and marketing program?

People Connect With People First, Companies Second

During the Pardot journey I’d talk to customers at tradeshows like Dreamforce and ask about their experience as a customer. At first I was expecting feedback and input on the product — what worked well, what didn’t work well, etc. — only the feedback was always about the people. Comments like “we love X on the sales team” or “Y is great to work with.” While customers thought Pardot was great, it was really the people at Pardot they loved.

People connect with people first, companies second.

As much as we like to talk about our cool technology and awesome startups, the ones that people really engage with do so because of the people they interact with at the company. There’s a reason the “service” part of Software-as-a-Service is more important than the “software” part — good products make for good customers, good service makes for raving fans.

Remember that people connect with people above all else.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that people connect with people first, companies second?

Video of the Week: Chip Conley on Measuring What Makes Life Worthwhile

Chip Conley is a successful entrepreneur and I’ve enjoyed reading his books over the years. For our video of the week watch Chip Conley: Measure What Makes Life Worthwhile. Enjoy!

From YouTube: When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.