We all have great ideas. The challenge is turning these great ideas into large successful business that can become catalysts for industry innovation. One of the best way to do this, is to learn from others who have made this type of success happen. That was the goal of the
, organized by
from the Boston Globe.
Executives from VistaPrint, ConstantConact, ZipCar, Akamai, TripAdvisor, and
all discussed how they went from a small start-up to a hugely successful business. I had the great pleasure of attending the event to learn from these experts. Some of the best quotes I noted are below. If you are an entrepreneur or part of a start-up, this is great advice to consider when planning to take your business to the next level.
I hear "fail forward fast" a lot these days from startup executives. That strategy can be dangerous. You could just collect a number of false negatives. How do you know if it truly was the wrong strategy or if you just did not try hard or long enough?
Run lots of tests and always have a control group. For example, when we first started selling, we hired 3 sales people. If we only hired 1 sales rep, how would we know whether the issue was the concept of selling or the sales person?
Never deal with a junior partner at a VC firm. Akamai made that mistake in their first round and the senior partner taught the junior partner a lesson by killing the deal at the last minute.
Don't focus so much on the advice from potential investors. They will always be skeptical. Focus more on what your customers think. If you are doing the right thing for customers, in the long term, you will be successful.
VistaPrint started doing Freemium before it was a term. The free business cards are our hook. We have 5 billion impressions on free biz cards across the globe. That is an extremely valuable and profitable marketing channel for us.
Test early and often. When we consider a new feature, we promote it before we build it by putting a link on the website. It takes an hour. Yes, the link does not lead anywhere. Yes, it may upset some people. However, if 10K people click on it, I will be the happiest man knowing there is demand. Now let’s build the feature.