We believe the internet gives every small business owner the most unfair competitive advantage they will likely ever have in their entire careers. The fundamental nature of shopping has radically changed in the last decade from one where potential clients are "found" by cold calling sales reps, at trade shows, through seminars, etc. to one where potential clients "find" vendors through Google, Technorati, industry discussion boards, blogs, etc. with sales people getting involved much later in the convincing process. This shift dramatically favors prepared small businesses. The tools and techniques that most small business owners use today feel like relics of the past compared to what is needed for small business owners to take advantage of the internet transformation going on today.
We are writing this blog to small business owners and entrepreneurs to give them the advice they need to capitalize on the unfair competitive advantage the internet disruption affords them. While writing this blog, we are building our software company, HubSpot, to give them the tools they need to capitalize on this opportunity.
There is an interesting group of people working on SB2.0/HubSpot including a few employees, a few MIT interns, and a few overseas developers. There are four of us that get together in Cambridge to work on strategy that influence the content you read here. If you enjoy the blog, it probably is because of the fact that the four of us are coming at things from very unique perspectives that creates a cauldron of innovation. Here's a little description of who we are and a bit on our perspectives:
- Dharmesh Shah -- He's my co-founder who I met at MIT. Before HubSpot he bootstrapped a successful software business and sold it to SunGard netting himself a tidy sum. He started his own blog at school that has been exceptionally successful and has heavily influenced our thinking. He's got a software development background. He's the sharpest guy I came across while I was over at MIT.
- Patrick Fitzsimmons -- We acquired Patrick's company which he started while studying at Yale. He's a true "web native," a great/creative programmer, a born skeptic, and exceptionally bright.
- Mark Roberge -- A friend of ours from our MIT days. He works for us a day a week "on the side" while he ramps his own consumer internet startup. His "day job" is full-on consumer internet marketing and he infuses that interesting perspective into our conversation. Most of our customers are selling to other businesses, so we are able to take the best of the consumer marketing practices and apply them to b2b marketers.
- Me -- I spent my whole career in sales and marketing and have seen up close and personal how the internet has shifted the landscape and how the old tools and techniques no longer work. I'm unique from Pat and Dharmesh in that I am a mere mortal when it comes to using computers/software, so we are writing SB2.0 and building HubSpot to people at my technical level.
Like you, we are a small business. We take our own SB2.0 advice and we are the heaviest users of HubSpot software. Much of the advice you see in this blog is the result of the work/research we are doing for ourselves -- when it works well, we share our success with our readers.
Anyway, I hope you are enjoying our blog and will continue to read it and pass it along to others you think will be interested. If you get a chance, have a look at HubSpot -- the product is in beta, but it works well and is delivering a lot of value to our 20 or so beta customers. If you are interested, we also built a website grader that you might find helpful to see how your are doing relative to your peer group.
-- Brian Halligan on behalf of the HubSpot/SB2 team.