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Here's a list of old episodes in date order! There have been some great conversations so feel free to binge them all!
Richard Blundell is a serial entrepreneur and startup advisor who helps B2B startups win by getting them uncomfortably narrow and solving critical problems. He also believes that startup founders are heroes, and recently published a book trying to help them avoid common mistakes and have the best chance of putting a dent in the universe. We discussed his approach, and what on Earth he's got against product managers.
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Startup founders often start off spraying and praying, hoping to get any traction at all and start to build their revenue. This is understandable, but generally a mistake. It's important to start off way more narrow than feels comfortable and have a really solid plan to get your next 25 customers. Everything else can follow.
Even when organisations start off with a solid value proposition, this can change over time. But, in any case, one of the main problems with startups slowing down (or failing to scale up) is often not a lack of sales ability, but a lack of fundamental GTM narrative. You need to fix it upstream.
Startup founders put everything on the line to bring a sometimes impossible-seeming vision to fruition. It's easy to criticise them when things are going wrong, but no one has invested more time and effort into their startup than them.
It's important for founders to be self-reflective and understand their own weak spots. In some cases, this is the first leadership position they've ever held. In other cases, they'll have glaring gaps based on their own past experience. It's OK to have gaps! But, it's important to be honest about the gaps and get the right people to help you.
It's tempting to get a seasoned seller into the business to get the numbers in but, actually, there's an even more crucial role that you need to hire first. Listen to the episode to find out who, but it's not a product manager - this can come later after you've got a foothold in the market and the founder can no longer scale.
"There are few people we admire more than the Founders and Leaders of software companies who have the courage, determination and, some might say, sheer madness to put their livelihoods and reputation on the line, to leave their own ‘dent in the universe’. It's a day to day, up at dawn, pride swallowing siege to lead such a business. And we know this for a fact because we’ve walked in your shoes many times. Over the last 25 years, we’ve been involved in the start-up, scale up and exit of several successful technology businesses, that between them have realized close to billion dollars of shareholder value. But along the way we've also had more than our fair share of disappointments and have the mental scars and bruising to prove it. We’ve made mistakes and fallen in what felt like bottomless pits. But fascinatingly enough, we learned as much from the ones that didn’t work, as we did from the successes. It’s these lessons which we thought we'd share in this book."
Check it out on Amazon.