This guide will teach you how to build data-driven, practical, scalable operations for your company. It's not about investment rounds. It's about the bottom line.
This is part I of the guide, bird's eye overview of the topics we'll cover in much more detail in the follow up posts. It's a prezi and is best viewed full screen; use left and right arrow keys for navigation.
Why?There are several clear problems with the startup and venture capital industry (or at least it's coverage in the media):
- There's too much focus on and celebration of investment rounds vs building scalable, profitable business
- Consumer startups at crazy valuations with zero revenue get much more attention than less sexy, but oftentimes significantly more profitable and less risky b2b companies
- There's loads of information on social marketing, significant coverage of "customer engineering", market research and product building topics. At the same time, very little is written on sales, channel, operations and other related areas, which are absolutely critical to get right if you want to successfully scale a b2b company
What's this about and will it help me?The guide is focused on b2b markets and software (all kinds of it) startups in the growth stage from ~$1M to $100M in revenues, but many of the concepts are applicable for consumer markets, different industries and bigger operations as well. We will be covering all important aspects of company operations that you need to design right and execute flawlessly, including, in no particular order:
- Research & Development: techies love creating products so usually this area is the most familiar to any startup founder. What people tend to forget - everything starts with the market, customers willing to pay for a solution to a particular problem, and not with the cool idea that you think will change the world.
- Product Marketing & Management: always start with researching the market, knowing your core customer and positioning your product in a different way from the competition.
- Marketing: while some areas of marketing are overhyped (think content & social), you cannot ignore the areas getting much less love these days while remaining very (an in many cases more) effective - outbound lead generation via emails, online and offline events, and some others.
- Sales: the bigger your average deal size, the more you need real sales people - inside, field, you name it. Information on how to build a successful sales organization, which processes to use, how to motivate sales people etc is there, but it's mostly targeted at big corporations, is too complex and costs way more than a lean startup can afford. We will remedy that.
- Channel: very often overlooked, especially in the US, channel is absolutely essential for you to scale and enter new markets, be it geographical or new segments. Never, ever ignore the channel, in absolute majority of the cases it's what will grow your business by orders of magnitude. The guide will teach you how.
- Data and Analytics: sure, everybody talks about "big data", but very few know how to make sense of even the "small" or "medium" data. We will help.
- Operations, Finance, People... - as you grow, you'll face lots of big and small issues with how to book orders, which systems to use, how to automate business processes, how to motivate and hire people and many more; it's best to learn from others' mistakes.