Author: Nikola Kucerova. Nikola moved to Sydney from Slovakia. She is a software developer at GROW Super, a fintech start-up passionate about improving the lives of everyday Australians through superannuation. She is usually easy to come across at the nearest alternative rock concert.
Expert sales, marketing and growth founders share
Savvy entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts met on Wednesday 7 February 2018 in North Sydney to network and discuss how to scale your business the right way. From marketing to sales to raising capital and growth.
The event was MC’d by the amazing Rebekah Campbell, CEO & Founder of Zambesi, who has more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur. She’s raised more than $15M in venture capital and founded three startups. She was joined by:
- Mark Baartse, Chief Marketing Officer at Showpo, an experienced digital marketing strategist
- Chris Iona, former VP Engineering at Hipages, an expert on recruiting and leading a superstar engineering team
- Robert Coorey, sales expert and author, the “go-to” guy when you need to build world-class sales and marketing funnels.
Scale your business: Q&A with the audience
As with most North Sydney Innovation Network events, engaging with the speakers via a Q&A session was an awesome chance to learn straight from the experts.
Some of the topics discussed included blockchain technology, building engineering teams, pricing of products, sales hustlers, when to start looking for funding and business mistakes.
Understanding customers intimately is essential for effective marketing (something that many of us would acknowledge Showpo has been great at).
Mark is a numbers geek and he emphasised that it is possible to get very powerful insights even from a relatively small sample of customers. He also talked about one of his favorite subjects: customer segmentation.
People usually segment by numbers, which is not a particularly good way to segment. According to Mark, “numbers are really good at telling you what people do, but absolutely appalling at telling you why they do it”.
As an example, Mark described a case of a company which was trying to drive people into their stores. Customers were using the website to find items available in their local store. The data showed people coming to the website, using the system and then leaving the page; it all looked great. However, when they started watching people in more detail using the site, they discovered a bug that was affecting a large amount of users, which caused people to leave the website.
What about investors?
Many people in the audience were interested in how to approach funding to scale their business. What should they do first? Who should they talk to?…
Rebekah shared her thoughts on money and that there are many sources from fools/family/friends to venture capitalists and grants. She also told an interesting story about raising funding for her startup.
She had an idea, created a killer pitch deck and in about a year, she raised almost $1.5M, even though she had no team or a proof of concept. As it turned out, that was the biggest mistake she’s made in the entire business.
The next step was hiring the team: everything from marketing to engineering and before she knew it, the burn rate of the business was around $70,000 per month, but the idea didn’t work. With a team of people Rebekah didn’t want to let go and investors she didn’t want to disappoint, she decided to pivot.
Her concluding advice was: “Don’t raise money too early, but also don’t wait too long”.
Another tip from Rebekah was related to VC and angel investments. It might not be a good idea to mix venture capitalists in with an angel investment round; they have different approaches. If the VC doesn’t opt in to subsequent rounds, other investors may interpret that as a bad sign.
If you missed the event and want to hear the tips on how to scale your business, you can watch the video below. Make sure to join our Facebook group and subscribe to our YouTube channel. To not miss future awesome events join Meetup. Do it now, you won’t regret it!