This article looks at added value that a startup can get out of Hubspot in pursuit of these business goals. Startups operate in a volatile environment.
They enter a new market with a new product. They work with limited financial resources and need to achieve two things:Digital DNA and Market Penetration. In other words they are expected to develop products or services that nobody has and find a big amount of people who want it.Startups work in immature markets as those bare the biggest potential. Their motivation is fuelled by the hypothesis that a great idea will become a great success. Statisticbrain states that 25% of all startups fail in the first year. After 10 years, even 71% have disappeared from the market. In the IT sector, 63% of the startups have disappeared after 4 years. If we look at the causes, lack of competence is major reason of failures in 46% of the cases (lack of planning, wrong pricing) and in 30% it is a lack of experience.
Most repeated management mistakes are having wrong advisors, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, underestimating time requirements and getting worn out. And yes - a lack of market awareness and a lack of focus.
If we bring all that into one stringent anti-thesis to build a trail that does not fail, the ultimate goal will be to find the right advisor which helps focussing and getting where the market is, with the right planning and the right pricing, without running out of money. And as time is our major enemy, we need to survive the long path through seed and growth into profitability - or as Schumpeter claims: generate profitable growth!
The Advisor That Help Focus On The Market
We all made this experience. Lots of advisors offer services, garnishing their lack of competence with exaggerated pricing. Friends and family are also a trap, guiding you either into beaten paths ("this is how we always did it") or into directions of wild guessing.
You have two options:
Either you ask a consultant - then you get an opinion about the market
you ask the market in the first place.
This is the first moment where HubSpot enters the scene. Hubspot helps to track live market data. It points out which subjects (keywords) are attractive, and which of those are not yet heavily overexploited. It pinpoints winners and losers in product pages, blogs, tweets or LinkedIn publications, it shows where people are interested in and where not. And further than that, Hubspot helps you getting the names behind the anonymous visitors.
What is proper planning, when you do not know the market, and the product that people are supposed to like does not evening exist? It cannot be linear ("5 year planning with fixed budgets sealed in concrete"). The Lean Startup method suggests an iterative approach aligning short cycles of conceiving a minimum viable product, market-testing it and modification. That only works if many people can be reached in a short time and data is well analyzed. The startup benefits from semi-automated lead attraction and nurturing, from workflows to gain feedback and analytics to help draw conclusions.
Pricing is another parameter that can be experimented on. When is the market ready to buy? Email driven targeted offers can check when a critical mass of users starts buying. And you can experiment on the right blend to freemium products, mixing those products that gain and bind customers (while being given away free of charge). A-B testing scenarios and workflows help to find the most profitable price/value ratio.
Solvency over Time
Much of what we are writing here is following the Lean Startup approach and in the same time the ideas of Venture Management. It aims at surviving volatile environments to cream off the immanent opportunities. Not burning money but being lean and close to customer wishes, not being in love with the products but with the customers’ choice, helps to channel towards a targeted spending philosophy. Global-scale inbound marketing, replacing the bulk of trade shows, sales visits and unnecessary Google Adwords spending, helps reducing costs drastically.
The exhausting factor on this rocky road is time. Lead times can be like chewing gum and project acquisition for capital goods for example can easily reach 3 years counting from first contact to final signing. Reason enough to automate big parts of the buyer journey and to lift it up to a much bigger scale. Get more with less effort! This is where Hubspot is good at. Intelligent but easy-to-design workflows replace management by miles-and-more with an effective sales funnel.
But still a business needs money. That leads to the next point: how to win and retain Angel or Venture Capital?
Most of the big Silicon Valley successes where accompanied by several tranches of Venture or Angel Capital. Investors however strive for rapid exit opportunities, in order not to bind their funds too long.
There are 2 things that make a company attractive to investors (apart from the founders):
- Digital DNA and
- Market Penetration.
Surprisingly it is not profit margin. It’s the 2 things that allow to sell at hight price: Digital DNA, that’s that something special that nobody else has, a product or solution that is attractive to other buyers, e.g., to round up their product portfolio. In this case, it is the documented intelligent market testing and refinement, which can attract an investor to place an initial or continued investment tranche.
The second investor magnet is a successful market penetration. Surprisingly, this does not necessarily imply a strong sales base in the target market.
The important factor is rather market access to many (recurring) users who frequent the Website. Hubspot is a tool helping to attract and retrain users, and through automated workflows to retain and guide them through the sales funnel.
Investors need data to substantiate facts like attractiveness, growth, conversion rate, etc. Hubspot allows to easily custom-design automatic reports, exportable into various formats and to keep the investors happy during various investment cycles.
VentureSkies has years of experience with capital investment on both sides - the receiving and the investing side. The team implements and customizes Hubspot to your startup’s and business requirements. The VentureSkies Cloud Workers operate as active back-office to startups and help attracting prospects, generating and nurturing leads and enabling sales - on a fixed monthly price basis, much cheaper than hiring. It helps the founders to focus on its core competencies and to accelerate growth.
Image: courtesy of JD Hancock, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)