The most expensive capital a founder will ever raise is the first round of equity. An early equity round can be a harsh reality check for a founder considering whether to bootstrap or face dilution. The good news is there are other options to consider. In fact, there are ways for early stage startups to obtain funding without having to sacrafice equity. One approach is called Revenue Based Financing (RBF), and happens to be the specialty of my guest, Chris Russell.
Chris has extensive experience as both an operator and investor; having been involved with dozens of startups. Chris founded GSD Capital in 2010 to invest in early-stage Mountain West startups. He was also the founder of WestHost where he grew the company to 80,000 clients in over 130 countries by the time it was sold to the UK2Group in 2008.
On this episode we explore the concept Revenue Based Financing. How does it work? Who is it for? And why is it such an appealing alternative to early-stage debt financing or venture capital? We also explore the dynamics of the best founding teams, the metrics investors look for in a winning startup, and the surprisingly truth about what matters most when pitching to an VC.
As a follow-up to the 4 Pillars of Online Marketing, this week's Mastery episode focuses on how to pick the right marketing and SEO firm for you business, as well as what you should expect for results and costs. Without a background in web development and SEO, it is extremely difficult for entrepreneurs to create a competitive online presence. At some point, you will need to enlist some professional help to build a powerful lead-generating engine. As you consider your options, here are a few expectations and warnings signs to guide you in your decision.
For more information, visit www.salesfounders.com
Online marketing is one of the most cost effective strategies to attract leads and drive revenue. The challenge is that most entrepreneurs get it wrong as they attempt to develop it themselves. This week, Voxxy Marketing founders, Michael Clark and Justin Taylor join me to explore the 4 key components to your online presence: your website, content, SEO, and paid strategies. We walk through the steps to leverage each component into a cohesive strategy that will have a magnetic impact on your target audience.
When it comes to lead strategy, efficiency is the key to success. On this episode of mastery, we explore the reasons most startups struggle with lead strategy, the key components of a winning lead strategy, and a few cautions and best practices to you develop or refine yours.
A crowdfunding campaign has become one of the most powerful, and competitive, platforms for entrepreneurs to introduce products to the market. The challenge is that less than 20% of campaigns succeed and most of those fall short of reaching their potential. This week, SalesFounders pulls the curtain on America’s leading crowdfunding marketing agency, funded.today.
Co-founder Zach Smith joins us to talk about the secrets of crowdfunding and how his team has their clients raise more than $135 million in crowdfunding pledges. With hundreds of successful campaigns in their portfolio, funded.today knows exactly what it takes to create a successful launch strategy, get featured on trending lists, manage a mid-campaign pivot and the 7 p’s that will give your campaign the edge needed to stand out in the crowd.
For more information, visit www.salesfounders.com/blog
The mentor dynamic is a key component of success, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. Too many entrepreneurs embrace the "lone-wolf" strategy with a fierce independence and desire to grind it out alone. The reality is that every entrepreneurial success story is built upon a network of relationships, advocates, mentors, and supporters.
"No individual has sufficient experience, education, native ability, and knowledge to ensure the accumulation of a great fortune without the cooperation of other people."-Napoleon Hill
Narrowing your startup into a specific niche might seem counter-intuitive in the early stages of development. "What if I get it wrong?" "How can I possibly say no to willing customers?" This is a narrative familiar to most founders, especially during the pivotal stages of validation. The truth is that finding a niche is the only way to differentiate yourself in today's noisy market. Playing it safe just doesn't work anymore, and my guest, Nick Wood shares how hard work, sales mastery, and a passion for entrepreneurship have evolved into a niche platform known as Kholo.
This might be the perfect case study on the topic of crowdfunding and the lean startup. My guest is Bryson Hill, co-founder and CEO of Daplie, a startup that offers the internet's first personal at-home cloud server that anyone can set up and use. Their mantra is to "Take back the internet" and Bryson joins us to share the exciting trajectory that is going to fundamentally change the internet.
Daplie is also the first company to launch simultaneous equity and reward crowdfunding campaigns. On this episode, we are going to dig into the founding story of Daplie in context of the lean startup method. We’ll talk about the pros and con’s of crowdfunding, and the secret sauce that has enabled Daplie to hit a grand slam in their first inning!
“More than 90% of startups fail, due primarily to self-destruction rather than competition. For the less than 10% of startups that do succeed, most encounter several near death experiences along the way.” - Startup Genome
This week, we take a closer look at the causes of startup failure. Considering that 70% of failures are attributed to premature scaling, it's imperative that entrepreneurs understand the startup framework as well as the red flags and warning signs of premature scaling.
For more information, visit www.salesfounders.com/blog
Entrepreneurship seems to be commonly associated with stigma of crazy hours, high stress, and a constant need for multi-tasking. Ironically, these are three of the most devastating forces to your productivity and success. The reality is that most of us misuse the the most powerful asset we have - our brain!
James Garrett is the creator of Brain by Design, a coaching and consulting company that translates what scientists know about the brain into practical tools that anyone can use to increase their creativity, decrease stress, and be more productive. James joins us this week to explore the brain-science of entrepreneurship and tackle 7 commonly adopted myths of entrepreneurship and explain how to leverage the power of your brain to boost productivity, creativity, and success.
This week, we take a closer look at the stages of startup growth. Entrepreneurs who discipline themselves to follow proven methods of validation and growth can drastically reduce the threats of premature scaling. In episode 1, Paul Ahlstrom suggested that "premature scaling is often a result of doing many of the right things, in the wrong order." Join us as we explore the objectives and blindspots that face entrepreneurs in each stage, as well as the resources available to help you define your startup roadmap.
For more information, visit www.salesfounders.com
One of the biggest hurdles facing entrepreneurs is raising capital! It's hard enough to decode the red tape and fine print of most investment vehicles, not to mention the unlikely chance you will find yourself in a position where the amount of equity or "skin" required justifies the capital offered. With over $531 billion dollars funding startups in the US each year, it's time we explore some strategies to give some leverage to entrepreneurs.
My guest this week, Leo Kanell, is the founder of Fundwise capital and author of the business funding formula. Leo is passionate about providing funding tools, startup education and growth solutions for entrepreneurs. Leo and his team have helped secure over $150 Million in funding for clients across the country. The best part, is his strategies are focused on helping entrepreneurs retain equity and control of their companies. On this episode, Leo walks through the common pitfalls of early stage funding and explains how he helps entrepreneurs gain the understanding and tools that will help them scale into revenue.
For more information visit www.salesfounders.com/blog
Who you are is a direct result of the questions you ask! Asking is at the foundation of every great opportunity. The problem is that most people aren't thinking big enough. There is a limitless supply of success, fortune, abundance, and happiness all around you. The only way to get it, is to ask for it.
"Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers." –Tony Robbins
For more information, visit us at www.salesfounders.com/blog
"Passion is powerful," say's Jason Adams when asked about launching Bex sunglasses with only $600. 8-years later, Bex is a multi-million dollar brand that sells hats, sunglasses and apparel throughout the world. This week, Jason joins me to walk through the creation of what started as a passion for design and a belief that he could create a successful business doing something he loved. Well talk about branding, funding, growing pains, competing with major brands like Oakely, and RayBan, leadership, and some of the key lessons that can help you generate sales traction.
Learn more at www.salesfounders.com
"Knowing thyself is the beginning of all wisdom" - Aristotle
How well do you know your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur? Are you aware of your blindspots? Understanding who you are, your natural strengths, and disposition is the only way to truly leverage your potential as both a leader and a founder. On this episode, we explore how you can discover and align with your strengths and how to identify and mitigate your weaknesses.
What if there was a formula that an entrepreneur could follow to ensure startup success?
This week, PrinterLogic CEO, Ryan Wedig shares 7 steps he's followed to transform a tech-founders epiphany into an world-class software company. From messaging and sales strategy, to cap tables and advisors, Ryan explains how PrinterLogic has grown to #141 on the Inc. 5000 list and become a disruptive force in the print management industry.
It's troubling that so many brilliant entrepreneurs cringe at the idea of selling. Selling is merely an exchange between two parties, and whether you realize it or not, you've been selling since the day you were born. When you break it down, the currency of the exchange is value.
The good news is that there is a simpler approach to selling. On this episode of Mastery, we explore salesmanship, human nature, and 3 simple models to understand why customers buy.
Eirini Schlosser is the CEO and Founder of Chuz, a mobile app that is being described as the “Spotify of where to go and what to order.” More specifically Chuz is disrupting lifestyle decision making with the mapping of human emotions.
On this episode we are going to break down the business model to learn more about how Chuz is disrupting mass-review sites like Yelp and Foursquare with a data-driven solution that adapts to the mood and behavior of its users.
On this episode we discuss:
Eirini Schlosser is the CEO and Founder of Chuz, a mobile app that curates quality spot content and replaces mass reviews with a data-driven, adaptive software that recommends spots for food, drink, and lifestyle based on menu-specific feedback, tastes, and habits.
Eirini Schlosser completed her masters at London Business School and started her career in investment banking in Morgan Stanley's M&A Execution Team in London.
At Morgan Stanley she had exposure working on multi-billion dollar technology, consumer, and retail deals. Though an incredible learning opportunity on how businesses scale, how to problem solve analytically, and how to execute and work very hard, she craved creative outside-the-box impact.
Introducing the SalesFounders Mastery series. Each weekly episode takes a step outside of your business to focus on you, the Founder. Join us as we explore the habits, strategies, and mindsets of successful founders and how you can lead your startup to the next level.
The root cause of startup failure, or an individual's failure to succeed can be traced to a disconnect, or an imbalance between disciplines of salesmanship, entrepreneurship, and the organizational focus toward an ultimate objective or purpose.
Consequently, at SalesFounders we focus on these 3 disciplines to ensure that our clients have a balanced and sustainable approach to leading their organizations to their ultimate potential.
Entrepreneurship - An understanding of the entrepreneurial approach to innovate and validate a solution to a market need and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage amidst adversity and competitive forces.
Salesmanship - An ability to establish rapport, discover the needs of your audience and communicate in a manner that adapts to the needs and demonstrates value in a way that naturally facilitates an exchange.
Purpose - The underlying passion, reason or motivation that drives behavior.
In spite of the obvious stigmas of entrepreneurship, the reality is that most successful entrepreneurs seek to avoid risk. Moreover, companies that have emerged from their humble garages did so NOT by brute force and good luck, but through disciplined learning and calculated risk.
Dr. Eric Pedersen joins us this week to discuss strategies to mitigate startup uncertainty, and the calculated risks necessary to become a truly scalable organization. If there is even a shred of uncertainty as you think about the future of your company, this is an episode you can’t afford to miss.
“Plan the work and work the plan, but be flexible, adaptable and responsive to unexpected events” - Dr. Eric Pedersen
Dr. Eric Pedersen, Dean of Science and Technology and Professor of Web Development at Dixie State University as well as being an active tech entrepreneur. He currently serves on the Board of InfoWest, BusyBusy, CodeChangers /GirlsGoDigital, and PurePickleball among others. He has been involved with the technology sector in Southern Utah for the past 25 years. He started the Center of Excellence for Computer Graphics at DSU and was a member of the research and development team that created the first web site in Utah. Dr. Pedersen received his PhD in MIS from Utah State University.
In 2004, David Williams was asked to help close down a startup that had amassed $2.5 million in debt and still had no product to offer. When David arrived on the scene, what he saw was “the opportunity of a lifetime.” On this episode, we explore the power of Social Capital and how 6 employees and 1 strategic partnership helped David transform Fishbowl into the leading inventory management solution. Sure, his approach might have “broken a few rules” but the results will compel you to reconsider the way you lead your organization.
“No individual has sufficient experience, education, native ability and knowledge to ensure the accumulation of a great fortune, without the cooperation of other people.” - Napoleon Hill
Since 2004, David K. Williams has been the Chief Executive Officer of Fishbowl, the maker of the #1 manufacturing and warehouse management software for QuickBooks. He has worked in numerous industries during his career, and he has worked hard to help Fishbowl become one of the fastest-growing and most successful software companies in the state of Utah. Fishbowl has won numerous regional and national awards from a number of respected organizations, including Inc. 5000, Deloitte, MountainWest Capital, and Global Red Herring.
In July 2013, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. published Williams' book, which he wrote to inspire his fellow business professionals and leaders, The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning: Tying Soft Traits to Hard Results. In it, he detailed the secrets of his success as an entrepreneur. He writes a weekly column for Forbes, and he has also contributed to Harvard Business Review and Inc. Magazine in the past.
In addition to his work at Fishbowl, Williams also acts as the President of the Woodbury School of Business National Advisory Council at Utah Valley University, and he is a member of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce's Executive Board of Directors. For more information about Williams, visit the Wikipedia article dedicated to him.
Entrepreneurs need to constantly be thinking about lead sources and profitable strategies to generate customers. In spite of so many overpriced lead strategies, the most powerful and often underutilized lead source is your own expertise.
My guest this week is Brian Horn, a best-selling author, investor and entrepreneur who helps professionals leverage their knowledge to gain authority status and national media exposure. On this episode, we explore the strategies of thought leadership and how entrepreneurs can convert their expertise into scalable revenue.
What does a venture capitalist look for in a winning startup? How does an entrepreneur know when it's time to scale? In this episode of SalesFounders, we explore the playbook of venture capitalist, Paul Ahlstrom, and take a deeper dive into his book, Nail it Then Scale it. Paul shares 4 key strategies that every startup must understand: What is a minimum feature set? How do I validate my solution? What is my go to market strategy? and Why VC's have no interest in your business plan. Do you know what it takes to build a scalable startup? Join us and find out!
Customers can validate but they cannot innovate - Paul Ahlstrom
Paul Ahlstrom is a co-founder and managing director of Alta Ventures, an early-stage venture fund and co-author of Nail it Then Scale it. For more than 30 years, Paul has operated on both sides of the table as a venture-backed entrepreneur (founder of Knowlix, sold to Peregrine Systems, sold to HP) and as an investor. To date, he has raised over $1B and directly invested over $500M in more than 125 startup companies. He earned his BA in communications from Brigham Young University and an honorary doctorate from the Netanya Academic College in Israel.
Entrepreneurs are often fascinated with the idea of disruption. The reason is obvious - it is typically associated with entrepreneurs who have defeated a giant, and/or redefined an industry. The reality is that disruption is arguably the most difficult and risky approach to entrepreneurship.
My guest this week, Andrew Weinreich, is an expert when it comes to the topic of disruption. Andrew founded SixDegrees (the first social networking platform) and is the "father" of social networking. Andrew joins SalesFounders to share his views on innovation and how he has founded multiple companies that all have one thing in common - massive disruption.
Andrew Weinreich is a serial entrepreneur, social networking pioneer, and active presence in NYC’s Silicon Alley for 2 decades. To date, he’s founded 7 startups and has been awarded 2 software patents.
Since 2013, he has sold 2 businesses, including Xtify to IBM, while advising 5 tech startups. He is currently the co-founder and Chairman of Indicative, a data analytics startup.
In the world of enterprise software, Clint Carlos is an anomaly. Unlike the majority of startups who take on funding, Clint has mastered the art of bootstrapping. In this episode, we discuss mentorship and 2 key lessons that have defined Clint's approach to entrepreneurship. Then Clint also opens the doors to the enterprise SaaS solution Ampt, and shares the system he's used to organically grow Ampt by 3000% in 3 years.
"No venture is real until somebody sells something."
1. No venture is real, until someone in it sells something. It’s never too early to try and start selling, whatever it is.
2. You just never know what you can actually get until you ask for it. You may be able to command a much higher value than originally assessed. Be bold, and take chances.