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The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

Updated 10 days ago

Rank #126 in Careers category

Business
Technology
Careers
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Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life.

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Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life.

iTunes Ratings

197 Ratings
Average Ratings
185
6
2
1
3

Great Show

By Karen @ Interview Valet - Mar 25 2020
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Steli and Hiten consistently deliver timely and relevant information for anyone working in a startup or have a desire to start their own business. Go ahead and subscribe. You won't be disappointed.

Amazing

By tommye w-c - Mar 23 2020
Read more
Valuable information for anyone starting a new business adventure.

iTunes Ratings

197 Ratings
Average Ratings
185
6
2
1
3

Great Show

By Karen @ Interview Valet - Mar 25 2020
Read more
Steli and Hiten consistently deliver timely and relevant information for anyone working in a startup or have a desire to start their own business. Go ahead and subscribe. You won't be disappointed.

Amazing

By tommye w-c - Mar 23 2020
Read more
Valuable information for anyone starting a new business adventure.
Cover image of The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

Latest release on May 26, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 10 days ago

Rank #1: 361: How to Use Affiliate Programs to Fuel Growth

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about affiliate programs and how to use it for your business when you want to acquire more customers.

Affiliate programs can be an effective way to get new customers and scale your startup. For it to be successful, it is important to know how to create a program that helps your customers and advocates do your marketing for you.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what an affiliate program is, why they don’t work for some startups, why some programs have failed in the past and much more.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:00 About today’s topic.

00:46 What are affiliate programs?

01:09 Why it’s a channel that works really well.

01:20 A key metric that you can use to determine if this is for you.

01:53 A mistake startups who want to use this channel make.

02:12 An interesting thing about affiliate programs.

03:52 Two reasons why affiliate programs work.

04:04 What a referral program is.

05:03 The reason affiliate programs don’t work.

05:59 Another reason why affiliate programs don’t work.

07:35 Examples of affiliate programs gone wrong
3 Key Points:

If my product already has a high word of mouth, it’s more likely an affiliate program will work for you.
When you sell to b2b companies, just offering them some amount of money might not work as well.
You having an affiliate program doesn’t really scale your business if a bunch of these factors are not in place.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about affiliate programs, and how to use it for your business when you want to acquire more customers. I'm going to shoot this first, real quick, and then we'll get into it, Steli, 'cause this is one of those more rapid-fire ones, because it's just a topic and we haven't talked about it, but it's a super-important one, because it's affiliate partners, referrals, there's this whole category of, somebody is bringing me leads and/or sales for my business and I'm giving them some kind of commission. That's essentially what an affiliate is. Right?

[0:00:38]

Steli Efti: Right. Right.

[0:00:40]

Hiten Shah: I love the idea of having affiliates, or even partners that are bringing you customers for a commission. I think it's one of the key channels that, especially in B to B and SaaS, that works really well. It also works really well in e-commerce, and for me it has everything to do with one key metric, if this is going to work for you. And it's going to sound crazy, but it's pretty standard, but the key metric that I actually go for is, if my product already has high word-of-mouth, it is more likely that an affiliate program, or a referral in partnerships are going to work really well.

[0:01:19]

Steli Efti: Yeah, that makes so much sense it hurts. But I'm still sure that a lot of people-

[0:01:23]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, exactly, because not every product has that.

[0:01:24]

Steli Efti: Yeah, and I'm sure a lot of the startups that are considering or have chosen ... Let's invest in affiliate programs or referral programs to fuel our growth, have never stepped back to ask this very simple question, "Hmm. Do we get any word of mouth right now? Are our customers or people who know about us talking about us at all?" It seems like a very fundamental first step to answer before you go, "Let's pay them money, or give them incentives to do it." But-

[0:01:50]

Hiten Shah: Exactly.

[0:01:51]

Steli Efti: ... But I'm still, I would be surprised if a lot of people thought about that first. So one thing, one interesting thing about affiliate programs is that, or referral programs, is that I do think,

Nov 13 2018

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Rank #2: 268: Encore Episode – How to Get Your First 10 Customers

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Today Steli and Hiten talk about how to get those first few customers when your business is just getting off the ground.  The key to that initial traction is to connect with potential customers as soon as possible.

Hiten’s first course of action is to set up a landing page that allows you to collect email addresses.  There are a bunch of tools out there that allow you to do this well.  Pick the one that’s easiest for you to set up today and start getting those email addresses.

If you don’t already have an audience or traffic to the site, start blogging about what you’re doing.  Driving traffic to the site this way is a great way to start getting interest in your project.

Steli used a tactic that is actually one of Hiten’s favorite approaches:  doing consulting around the problem you’re trying to solve, then build tools to solve the problem that your consulting did initially.  In Elastic Sales Steli’s team they validated the concept of on demand sales teams, and within two weeks they had a pipeline 7 potential customers, and 2 that were actually paying.  Check out the script for Steli’s initial cold call.

The reason this was successful is that Steli was able to leverage his unique advantage.  Whether it’s sales, content marketing, or some other specific consulting knowledge, use your Authentic Competitive Advantage as the way you can overcome objections in sales situations.

Stop the recording right now:  Write down what your Authentic Competitive Advantage is and how it can help you get your first few customers.  If you need help figuring this out, send Steli and Hiten an email.

When you get that Authentic Competitive Advantage down, start doing customer development to better understand what the problem really is.  Don’t lead people down a specific path with this and let them freely tell you what their problem is.  Then you’ll need to figure out how to best solve that problem.

Next step is to get people to actually pay you money.  How much to charge?  Steli says charge 3x what your initial instinct tells you.  Get paid what you’re worth.  Offering lifetimes discounts for initial customers is a great way to get people on the line early.  What you charge can easily be changed later.  This is just an indication that the problem you’re solving is actually one that people are willing to pay for.

Today’s Tips:

Steli: In the next 24 hours, ask 10 people to be your customer.  Doing this will get you over the mental hurdle of asking people for their business.

Hiten: Stop thinking about how to do this and go do it.  Take action today and start trying to get customers.

Join our Facebook group to be able to talk with each other.  This is an exclusive group for our listeners and a place to build a community around.

As always, you can hit us up on Twitter @Steli or @hnshah, #thestartupchat. Let us know where you get your motivation.

The post 268: Encore Episode – How to Get Your First 10 Customers appeared first on The Startup Chat with Steli & Hiten.

Dec 22 2017

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Rank #3: 406: Mistakes Startup Founders Make When Asking for Advice

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about mistakes people make when they ask for advice.

Asking for advice can be a tricky thing. Often times, when asking someone is struggling with something, that person might not know exactly how to ask for it. Other times, that person might not be seeking new ideas but is rather looking for validation or an affirmation of a choice they’ve already made.

In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about some common mistakes people make when they ask for advice, how to ask people the right questions, why you shouldn’t give unsolicited advice and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic

00:33 Why this topic was chosen.

01:43 The first mistake people make when asking for advice.

01:56 The second mistake people make when asking for advice.

03:48 Why you should always take negative advice gracefully.

05:16 Why observations from other people are really valuable.

06:14 How to ask people the right questions.

07:02 The importance of meditating on a piece of advice before acting on it.

07:43 Why you shouldn’t give unsolicited advice.

3 Key Points:

The first mistake you can make is not knowing that you should ask for advice.When you’re struggling with something, it’s really important to ask for help.Observations from other people are really valuable.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.
[0:00:03]
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Start Up Chat we're going to talk about mistakes when asking for advice and we're just going to do a relatively quick episode going back and forth. I think the first mistake I'm going to share is probably not obvious and that mistake is not knowing that you should ask for advice in the first place. Right? So we're assuming people are asking for advice. I think one that I'm bad at and you might be too I don't know, but I think we've talked about this in the past is that you just don't ask. I think it goes beyond just work or business. It's a life thing where like if you're dealing with something, there are people that will just talk to you. You know and go talk to them and ask. When you're struggling or suffering, even worse, it's really important to do that. It might even be people you don't even know that well. It doesn't really matter. It's not a humility, it's like the opposite of humility but there's like a vulnerability that we might not be willing to go to certain people or anybody when we have a problem. I would just say if you have a problem and you don't know anyone else to call, call the A team. I'm going to leave it at that 'cause I think that sums up one of them for me.
[0:01:25]
Steli Efti: All right, I love that. Yeah I didn't see that coming. I already was in that mind frame of people have already asked for advice so I love that. Two things that come to my mind instantly, one is making sure that when you ask for advice you ask from a place of curiosity instead of from a place of trying to confirm that your idea, your opinion is right. Not that it's bad if somebody confirms that the direction you are going towards is one they think as well is the right direction to take, but I always find that people make that mistake where sometimes they come into a conversation, they are seeking advice, but what they really seek is confirmation. All that we really want to hear is that they're right and what they're doing is correct. They're not there to truly here what this other person or this group of people has to say. So that closes you up to all the value you might be able to receive if you're totally open minded in that conversation so make sure when you ask for advice, you truly want to hear everything the other party has to say, even and especially if it contradicts what you think the right thing to do would be here, or the tendency,

Apr 19 2019

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Rank #4: 410: The Value of Generating Hype for Your Startup

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the value of hype in your marketing campaign.

In the startup world, it is common for a business to try to build some hype around a product that they are about to launch. However, this can leave a sour taste in the mouth of users, if the product doesn’t meet expectations, and it can hurt a brand

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how some companies are really good at being out there, the good and the bad kind of hype, how to separate hype from the quality of a product, and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:24 Why this topic was created.

02:00 Hiten’s thoughts on hyping your product.

02:40 How some companies are really good at being out there.

02:54 The bad kind of hype.

03:46 How to separate hype from the quality of a product.

03:59 How a great product will sell itself.

04:54 How there’s no perfect product.

05:40 There’s no such thing as a product that everybody loves.

06:39 How hyping is a balancing act.

3 Key Points:

I think there’s good hype and bad hype. There are many reasons why a product might not work for your company.If people are sharing things about a product, unsolicited, you’ll see it

[0:00:00]
Hiten Shah: Ask me. This is when it started.
[0:00:05]
Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.
[0:00:08]
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.
[0:00:09]
Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about the value of hype in your marketing, or for your company. Here's what I want to talk about Hiten. Hyping things. I think maybe the tech industry this has been a discipline that's been practiced quite a lot. Some companies had mastered that. Some companies were really, really great at hyping the next big thing they're launching. The thing they're launching, why it's the most amazing thing and will change everything forever, and then there was, I think, a counter trend to that where companies became much more, or startups specifically became much more engineering driven, so much closer to being truthful. The truthiness factor went up a lot and it was just like, "Let's just tell people what the product does and what the features are and functionalities." We're going back and forth, I feel like between how much tech companies and startups are hyping what they're doing, versus how much they're understated, but I recently in B2B SaaS I recently see a resurgence. There's a bunch of companies out there that, to me, seem to be particularly good at hyping. Creating hype around their brand. Creating hype around their product launches, and then when you look under the hood, they're shit is not that exceptional. Their technology is not that crazy. Their things break. A lot of when you dig a bit deeper, there's a lot of disappointment for people that look really deep, but what I realize is that the vast market doesn't look that deep. They just buy into the hype. I wanted to ask your opinion on is hype good or bad? Should hype be a thing that you excel at as a company or not? What are the dangers? Let's just digest this, or dissect this a tiny bit.
[0:01:57]
Hiten Shah: I think there's good hype and bad hype. Immediately when you started asking about this topic and wanting to talk about it, which I think is a really important topic. My first thought was, "Well, what is hype? Do we need to worry about that? I don't know." Because in a way, hype implies smoke and mirrors or something that has no substance. It implies that maybe. I want to get away from that though. I want to talk about the fact that I think what you were really getting at is some companies are really good at being out there, and basically building out a brand for themselves. We can call that hype. They're hyped up. They have hype, and things like that.

May 03 2019

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Rank #5: 252: Startup Branding – Does It Matter and How to Do It Right

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In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten tackle branding for your startup. It’s a common assumption to think branding is important for ALL types of businesses. Steli and Hiten challenge this notion and explain why certain businesses need to focus more of their attention on their branding. They explain how your “branding” is different from your actual brand and outline why your copy is the best place to start to establish your company’s voice. Tune-in to find out whether branding should be your priority and how to tap into your strengths to create your brand.
Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:24 – Today’s topic is branding
01:15 – “Branding only matters if and when the customers will care about branding”
01:41 – “Branding” is different from one’s brand
02:18 – If you’re a B2C business, branding matters more as opposed to those who are a B2B business
02:48 – Intercom didn’t care about branding until they were many years into their business
03:03 – MailChimp, on the other hand, cared about branding from the start
04:10 – Your brand only matters in the eyes of the customer
04:27 – In the SaaS world, your branding matters because of how competitive the market is

05:48 – It’s essential to differentiate from others

07:02 – Steli thinks branding will get worse within software companies
09:19 – The simplest thing you can do for your branding is work on the copy of your website

10:08 – Add some personality to your copy

10:28 – How you communicate to people is your brand’s personality
12:10 – With Close.io, instead of using generic screenshots to show samples of their content, they infuse humor
12:51 – Think about your copy and the ways you can express your team and company’s personality
13:20 – If you’re a B2B, don’t invest too much on branding UNLESS you know what you’re doing
14:44 – If you don’t have a strong idea about the kind of voice you’d like to convey or don’t have the skillset to write your copy, just use the resources you have within your team and see if you can achieve your branding goals

15:00 – Don’t spend money on an outside party to help you with your branding

15:43 – Facebook is Steli’s favorite example for branding that is simple
16:21 – Use the strengths you already have in your business

3 Key Points:

Your branding will only matter if your customers care about it.
A B2B business does not have to focus too strongly on branding.
Use your internal strengths to create your brand’s voice and personality.

The post 252: Startup Branding – Does It Matter and How to Do It Right appeared first on The Startup Chat with Steli & Hiten.

Oct 24 2017

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Rank #6: 282: The Most Common Product Mistakes Startups Make

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In this episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the most common product mistakes startups make when developing new products.

Tons of new products are being developed all the time. While some products may end up being great, it’s inevitable that bad ones will get developed. What may seem like a brilliant idea on paper, often turns out to be a terrible idea when introduced in the real world.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about some common mistakes they see that can kill a product, the best way to avoid them and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 - About today’s topic

00:55 - Why this topic was chosen

01:34 - Hiten gives a background about a blog post he made on the subject.

03:13 - Hiten talks about the first mistake he and his team made when they developed a product that failed.

04:20 - Hiten talks about the second mistake made in developing that product.

05:13 - The third mistake that was made in developing that product.

07:56 - Steli highlights a mistakes he’s made in developing a product.

12:15 - Hiten talks about his biggest challenge in developing a product.

13:33 - Things Steli is looking to change this year in how they develop new products.

14:18 - 4 main mistakes startups make when developing new products.

Quotes:

Developing a product is actually very challenging today.
When developing a product, make sure to do user research.
Do competitor research when developing a product.

[0:00:01]

Steli: Hey, this Steli.

[0:00:03]

Hiten: This is Hiten, and today on the startup chat, what are we gonna talk about today, Steli? This was your choice.

[0:00:08]

Steli: This was my choice, yes. (chuckles) We're gonna talk about the most common product mistakes people make, startups make, and even some fucking mistakes that you made last year when it comes to building products, which you only did five of, right? So this is based on a talk that you and Marie gave at SaaSFest a few weeks ago, but also based on the I think most recent product habits e-mail. Again, quick shout-out for those that are listening to the podcast. Probably everybody has already subscribed, but for the new listeners, if you're not on the e-mail list, make sure to go to producthabits.com and get on the e-mail list. Some of the most valuable stuff on the interwebs, and definitely one of my favorite e-mails I get from Heton. So the last e-mail two days was kind of an e-mail where you write in detail, in depth about the most common product mistakes you've observed other people make and other startups make. Those are some of those that you made, and I thought, "We should talk about this, because it's gonna be super valuable to people," so yeah, that's what we're talking about.

[0:01:18]

Hiten: Yeah, I'll give the background. We know everyone builds products, you know? Even if you're not on a product team, we just know that, like, whether it's software, hardware, even if you're a services business, we consider you someone who builds product, and we consider the service a product. So what Marie and did was we got really excited this year as the year started to actually ask people on our list what their biggest product mistake was. And so we asked that question last week on Monday, and then -- was that last week? No, it was this week. Holy crap.

[0:01:56]

Steli: (laughs)

[0:01:56]

Hiten: So we asked that question this on Monday, and we got a whole bunch of responses. They came in super fast, and people were telling us their stories -- very elaborate stories, some of them -- about the mistakes that they made 'cause we asked them to. And we said we'd share them. We even said, you know, we might use your name, if you want us to or not, let us know. We ended up not using anyone's name,

Feb 09 2018

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Rank #7: 270: Encore Episode – Minimum Viable Products: How to find out fast if your idea is legit

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On this episode we take a close look at the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and what it means and how to apply it to your business.  The concept sprang up during the early startup movement and has become a bit muddled in definition over time.  In a product development sense, it refers to the first thing you can release for a product in a minimal way that helps you start learning about your product and its viability.

We share some examples of how startups can begin the process of testing an MVP and pitching a concept to get response from potential customers.  Testing often includes pitching something before release and before any real functionality.

Topics discussed today include:

Using information gathered from single features used by testers to help you move forward
How to determine a Minimum Viable Product by working backward
How emotional detachment is a necessary tool for success
Why perception changes when customers look at actual products vs mockups
How launching something that lacks features can be a signal of eventual success

If you are interested in  learning more about the concept of Minimum Viable Products there are many available resources, including this image from Spotify.

We invite you to join our Facebook group.  It’s great to have such an incredible group of entrepreneurs out there making it happen every day.  We’d love to hear from you; please feel free to join our Facebook group and share your experiences, challenges, and motivation with us and the rest of Startup Chat community.

The post 270: Encore Episode – Minimum Viable Products: How to find out fast if your idea is legit appeared first on The Startup Chat with Steli & Hiten.

Dec 29 2017

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Rank #8: 281: How to Use Process to Grow Your Startup

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why startups are allergic to processes and what they can do about it.

A lot of startups have “process allergies” and this can be a hindrance to growth. The thought of building and setting up business  processes also adds pressure on founders. However, what they don’t realize is that every business activity is done through a process.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about “process allergy”, what it is, why most startups have it, and what founders can do to eliminate it. Listen until the end and get a chance to win a surprise from The Startup Chat!
Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:28 – The reason we’re talking about today’s topic.
01:01 – What “process allergy” is and why startups have it.
02:23 – Hiten talks about what inexperience leads to.
03:07 – The general mantra processes.
03:59 – What a process really is.
05:17 – Why realizing you have a process is a powerful thing.
07:21 – The worst thing about creating processes.
08:54 – Hiten’s suggestion on how to develop processes.
11:17 – Steli talks about how to eliminate “processes allergies”.
15:26 – Steli suggests using Process Street and Asana

Quotes:

Every business has a process even if you don’t think you do.
Repetition doesn’t happen without process.
The way you do things is your process.

We want to help you become more process oriented. For the first five listeners who reach out to Steli by email at Steli@close.io we will pay for a business pro plan upgrade at Process St.

[0:00:00]

Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah . And today on the startup chat, we're going to talk about why startups are allergic to process and what you can do about it.

[0:00:12]

Steli: So the reason why I wanted to talk to you about this today is just in a recent episode, you dropped a Hiten bomb, which was saying that lots of startups has process allergy. They're allergic to process. And that can be a hindrance to growth. So I made a mental note when you said that to come back to this. And to talk about it a little bit further in detail. So let's start off the episode with the open ended question. We'll go deep and deep in detail. What do you mean by process allergy? And why do you think startups have it?

[0:00:50]

Hiten: Startups are usually started by inexperienced business people. And I don't mean because of age, I just mean in general. It's inexperienced business people. Maybe people that worked at companies cool, but they're just inexperienced at starting a business. They're inexperienced at thinking through team and structure and even things like how do you grow a business? What are the most important things to do? Even things like how do you raise money? Usually these startups, especially on the tech side are started by people who can build things. And so a lot of times, what I see ... And this has been getting better over the years but is that people just get into it accidentally. And they just do whatever they can to get shit done. And so that's the hustle mentality, the get shit done mentality. And at some point, whatever they're doing starts breaking. And what I mean by breaking is, you have process whether you think you do or not. And that's the key statement I would make, which is if you're getting anything done, you're building product, you're getting customers, you're hiring, there's a process to it. You're just not conscious to it if you think you don't have it. And you probably haven't written it down. And you don't follow the same process necessarily every time. So a lot of times I think what happens is, inexperience leads to this idea that I have, that process is not something startups have. They don't, and it's because they're moving so fast,

Feb 06 2018

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Rank #9: 307: Outbound Email Sequences

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about sales and email automation. They lay out why sales automation could be a useful tool in your business and they give you some key tips for how to create great emails which get the outcome that you are looking for. Steli and Hiten also share their candid list of what not to do when creating your new email sequences.

Sales automation emails are aimed at supporting the sales team and sales process. But how can you be sure that the emails in your automation sequences, are geared towards the result that you are looking for? One of the most important points of email automation is ensuring that the copy within your emails is compelling enough to elicit a positive response. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when creating your sales automation email sequences. But there are a few success tips that we can all follow to have more success with our automated email sequences.

Tune into this week’s episode, of The Startup Chat to learn about the step by step actions to creating the kind of email sequences that crush it and how they can help the success of your business sales. Follow Steli and Hiten’s top tips to make your own email sequences, and learn how to stand out in a crowd, of all the bad emails, that your target market are receiving every day.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:49 The link between marketing and sales.

01:06 Introduction to automated emails.  

02:01 Automation and outbound prospecting for sales teams.

02:40 The benefit of the automation process.

05:07 The negative side of automation.

05:35 The good, the bad and the ugly of automation.

07:42 Steps to stand out from the ‘crappy’ email crowd.

09:50 What you must understand for successful automation.

10:10 How not have successful automation.

10:45 What to know about tools and templates.

3 Key Points:

The days of mediocre and even good email is dead, but great emails are alive because they are so rare.
Understand the environment in which you are competing, which is the inbox of your prospect.
Start manually first and then automate.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah, and today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about, I think one of Steli's favorite topics that I want to learn about a lot more, because I don't do this right now at my companies, at least I don't, is how to do basically email sequences when you're doing outbound emailing for sales.

[0:00:24]

Steli Efti: Yeah, so this is a fascinating topic, and we'll bang out some tips and try to give people a framework of how to think about this. But back in the ... I think when it comes to email, marketing has always been, or in many other areas when it comes to technology in general, I feel like marketing is always kind of a little bit of a step ahead of sales. But sales is always following suit, falling behind on marketing. I know that I remember when marketing teams started to use drip emails, started to use automated emails that were personalized, depending on a person's life cycle in the marketing funnel, or depending on their life cycle as a customer or as a user of a product. So you would set up this drip email system from a marketing perspective, and then if I as a user or as a trial user, if I visited the pricing page multiple times, you would fire off a personalized and customized email that responds to that. Or if I stop logging into the product, you might fire off another customized and personalized email that says, "Hey, we haven't seen you around in a while. Maybe either you should watch this tutorial, or maybe we should jump on a quick demo call," or whatever, and just use logged scale customization in an automated way, and that was kind of a brilliant trend. We might do an episode on that,

May 08 2018

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Rank #10: 306: How to Find Product Market Fit

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Product-Market Fit. They guide you on the path to identifying if your product is well placed to succeed in its target market and how to define what it means for you and your business.  

Perfect Product-Market Fit is the dream of every startup, imagine your product flying off the shelves and into the arms of a crowd of satisfied customers. To define and achieve  Product-Market Fit you have to have a deep understanding of your audience. Integrating the compelling value triggers to solve a key pain point for your target market.

Tune into this week’s episode of The Startup Chat to learn how to develop your own perfect  Product-Market Fit for your startup and how to do it the right way so that your customers cannot get enough of your products. Steli and Hiten also share their top tips to getting you started on the path to successful product placement.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

01:12 Product-Market Fit defined.

01:34 How can you achieve Product-Market Fit?

02:04 Three ways to find Product-Market Fit.

03:41 Important things you must be aware of.  

04:54 Being honest about product performance.

06:00 The difference between growth and Product-Market Fit.

07:18 The difference between marketing and Product-Market Fit.

07:33 Product-Market Fit equation.

09:10 Top tips for finding Product-Market Fit.   

10:16 Top strategy to get genuine confirmation from your market.

3 Key Points:

If a customer gives lots of their time, money and if they can not stop talking about the product. Chances are you have found Product-Market Fit.
When you think about your product, what will cause them to keep coming back?
Go out and try to prove yourself wrong.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today I think we're going to talk about one of my favorite topics, which is How to Get to Product Market Fit. I think there's lots of different ways. Steli, what's your deal with this topic? Do you like this topic?

[0:00:16]

Steli Efti: I love this topic. You know why?

[0:00:17]

Hiten Shah: All right. Yeah.

[0:00:19]

Steli Efti: You know why? I was talking to somebody, I think it was even an email exchange of a listener sending us an email asking us about how to prioritize certain things, and product market fit, and then not being sure they have it and all that and that clicked. That made me realize, "Is it possible that we've never, in 300 episodes we've never talked about product market fit as the topic of the episode?" I did a bit of a search and boom. I was like, "Oh shit." I mean we've talked about it many, many times within another episode but we've never gotten a full episode dedicated to it. So it was like, "Fuck. We need to talk about this."

[0:00:54]

Hiten Shah: All right. Product market fit, let me start by defining it. It's when your product fits in a market. What that means is that people love your product and they want to use it and they're telling everybody they know about it. I know that might set a really high bar, but that's product market fit.

[0:01:14]

Steli Efti: I love it. I wish I could disagree, but I won't. All right?

[0:01:17]

Hiten Shah: Oh shit. How do you get to product market fit? Well you build something people absolutely love and love so much that they want to share it with other people. Love so much that when you're on a sales call with them ... Again I'm preempting your answer probably, they're just like, "Where can I sign," like, "Let me just pay you." That means that you could have a verbal product market fit where you're on a sales call and people are just ready to buy it based on how you're describing it ...

May 04 2018

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Rank #11: 444: How to Increase Your Productivity

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to increase your productivity.

If there's one thing founders struggle with a lot, it's being productive. With all the distractions of social media, mobile gaming, and the internet, in general, staying productive at work can be a challenge, and this can have a negative impact on your startup.

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what it means to be productive, how to define productivity for the role you’re in, tips for being more productive. and much more. 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:35 Why this topic was chosen.

01:50 How being productive makes Steli happy.

03:42 Why it’s a good idea to consciously review your day, week or month.

04:10 What some of Hiten’s most productive days look like.

05:00 How to define productivity for the role you’re in.

05:35 Why Hiten works a lot on weekends.

06:01 The different angles to productivity.

06:37 Tips for being more productive.

07:14 How to measure productivity as a manager.

3 Key Points:

Productivity is a human desire.The feeling of productivity is really high up on the list of things that make me happy.Some of my most productive days are the most random days ever.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti`.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to increase your productivity and there's a really good reason we're talking about this. We've been wanting to talk about this. We know that this is something that is on most of your minds, whether you're working in a company or working on your own company or in a really large company of some kind. It doesn't matter. Productivity is something that's almost like a human desire, especially at work.

[0:00:34]

Steli Efti: Okay?

[0:00:34]

Hiten Shah: That's where I'll start. I'm like, hey Steli, I think it's a human desire.

[0:00:37]

Steli Efti: That is not what I thought you would say. So like my mind was wandering off in a specific direction and you took a left turn while I was still going straight and eventually I was like, where is he? He must have taken a left turn. I kind of lost it over there.

[0:00:55]

Hiten Shah: There we go.

[0:00:57]

Steli Efti: What did you say? Human desire?

[0:00:59]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, we want to achieve. We want to be productive. We want to get stuff done. I also want to be happy. Don't get me wrong.

[0:01:07]

Steli Efti: No, but you know what I mean. I fucking love this because that is actually one of the, I'm sure it's the same with you. I'm sure it's the same with most people that listen to us. If I have to identify a very big contributor to either my happiness or my lack of happiness. Productivity, the feeling of productivity is really high up the list. So even when everything is going well, like I could have a great day with lots or a week where lots of good things happen, where there's a lot of reasons to be happy. But if I personally didn't feel productive that week, I guarantee you I'll be unhappy. It's feeling productive is kind of a crucial, fundamental thing I need to be feeling kind of good in my own skin, right? To feel comfortable, feel it.

[0:02:03]

Hiten Shah: When you reviewed, you actually think of it like that?

[0:02:06]

Steli Efti: Yeah. But you know what it is? The crazy thing is it is not a mental thing. It's not a, wow, I had so much fun this week. Everything went well. Let me review the week. Let me think, what is everything that happened then? Shit, I wasn't as productive. God and then I start mentally making myself feel bad about it. It is literally like not showering the entire week, right? If you told me we're going to have an amazing week.

Aug 30 2019

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Rank #12: 452: The Need for Speed vs. the Need for Focus at a Startup

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the need for speed versus the need for focus at a startup.

Deciding whether to prioritize speed versus focus at your startup can be crucial to how successful you’re going to be. Overall, prioritizing focus will always trump speed. However, in order to prioritize focus on you need to know what to focus on.

In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about why focus and speed are really important, how focusing can affect your speed, how to tell when you should focus and when you shouldn’t and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic

00:33 Why this topic was chosen.

01:20 Why focus and speed are really important.

01:48 How focusing can affect your speed.

02:14 How to tell when you should focus and when you shouldn’t.

03:54 An example of what to focus on.

07:55 How some founders tend to prioritize speed over focus in the early days.

05:42 How focus always trumps speed.

06:42 How focusing has helped Close succeed.

3 Key Points:

Speed and focus are still an important aspect of your job.A lot of times when you’re very thoughtful, speed isn't your biggest consideration.Most founders in the early days prioritize speed over focus.

[0:00:02]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat, we're going to be talking about speed versus focus and this is one of those topics where one of us kind of knows what we want to talk about and the other one of us doesn't. And in this case I know what we want to talk them about it a little bit and Steli is going to be surprised and then we're going to get into a discussion about this just because it's a super fascinating topic and it's one that really is inspired, not necessarily fully sponsored, but inspired by this. A partner of ours that we brought on to basically talk about something, give us a some inspiration to, and it's a brain.fm/startupchat is where you need to go and they are a product that it provides science backed music to help you focus, relax, and sleep. So you can guess why I was inspired on this topic. Now this is a topic I've talked about before a lot, so I'm going to jump right into it and say, Steli, this is the deal. I think that when you're working on a business, regardless of what size or where you are in it, there's two things that are really important: focus and speed, and you can say, "Oh, I'm in a larger organization. Speed is something that I don't control or whatever," but still speed is still an important aspect to your job regardless. And focus is also an important aspect of your job. And you can imagine that sometimes both of those things can be contradictory. And the reason I put those two things together is because I think the way I look at it is focus can either bring you a lot of speed and can make you quicker at executing or focus can actually distract you from going fast because you're spending so much time or going so deep into something and you don't need to. So how can you tell the difference between when you should focus and when you shouldn't on something about your business or in your business? And then how do you decide whether it's something you need to go fast on or something actually that you should go slower on because it requires more depth or requires more focus and that focus will ultimately speed you up. And one example I'll throw out is engineering. So when I think about engineering and I think about wonderful things like technical debt, which is this idea that you are accruing debt that you're going to have to pay down later on as you're writing code because the code gets old, for lack of a better word, or the code. As you pile on more code into your software, you end up having all these, all this code and that code can be on top of each other.

Sep 27 2019

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Rank #13: 396: Should You Be Secretive About Your Startup Ideas?

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how secretive you should really be with your ideas as a founder.

The startup industry, it’s common for new founders to be super protective of their ideas. However, more experience founders understand that ideas are a dime a dozen, and execution is all that really matters.  

In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten dive into how secretive you should be with your ideas, wow the execution of an idea is what really matters, when to be protective of an idea and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:27 Why this topic was chosen.

01:33 How secretive you should be with your ideas.

01:46 How the execution of an idea is key.

02:33 The last time the guys worried about sharing an idea with anyone.

03:28 How being new to coming up with ideas tends to make you overprotect them.

03:51 How the value of execution has taken center stage in the startup world.

04:06 How valuable is an idea in today’s world.

04:17 When to be protective of an idea.

05:20 How executing an idea can change how you feel about it.

3 Key Points:

Ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is all that really matters.
Ideas are more of a starting point and are almost never the end all.
The more experienced you become the less protective you are of your ideas.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:02]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And in today's episode of the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how secretive should you really be about your ideas as a founder. And the reason we wanted to record an episode is that one of you, one of the listeners sent us an email and this is a founder that was wondering and worrying about how openly he should share his ideas with potential investors and potential co founders. And I think the heart of the issue was the fear that people could steal his ideas. I thought that, a, it's funny we've never talked about this, at least not in a full episode, but it felt like a prime time kind of a inexperienced founder worry or fear that you and I could quickly dissect and misspell. Let me ask you Hiten, how much should I protect my ideas? How secretive should I be? Should I worry about telling people my brilliant ideas and will they take them, run with them and crush me then.

[0:01:16]

Hiten Shah: I'm laughing 'cause people are really protective of their ideas, especially if they're new to having ideas and wanting to execute on those ideas. I think there's a lot of sayings about this, but ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is all that really matters. And that's where I will start. And if you're not worried about your execution, which you shouldn't be really, if it's an idea and you want to pursue it, then why would you worry about telling anyone your idea? It's this thing where it's almost like if you are new to what I'm going to call turning ideas into execution, then you will totally be very, you're very likely to be hesitant to share your idea. If you're not new to it, you just don't care. You're just like, "Yeah, it's an idea and I'm executing towards it and I want the whole world to know.

[0:02:16]

Steli Efti: Yeah, I was wondering if the episode just started with a question like, when was the last time, because I don't remember the last time I worried about sharing an idea with anyone with the thought in the back of my mind of, "Oh, if I tell this person this brilliant idea, maybe they take it and run with it and I'll be lost." I don't think, can you remember the last time you worried about sharing an idea from that kind of protective point of view?

[0:02:40]

Hiten Shah: I can't.

[0:02:41]

Steli Efti: I can't. Yeah, I do believe that,

Mar 15 2019

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Rank #14: 465: Scheduling Principles for Startup Founders

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about scheduling principles for startup founders.

Being a founder of a startup means you’re extremely busy most of the time. It also means that you’re being asked to certain things like speak at events, be a guest on a podcast and so on. When not managed properly, fitting all these into your busy schedule can get out of hand, especially if you schedule way in advance.

In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about a bad habit Steli picked up recently, One way to decide if you should schedule an event in advance and how Hiten schedules events much more. 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:31 Why this topic was chosen.

01:58 Steli’s latest tip in sharing philosophy.

03:22 A bad habit Steli picked up recently.

05:32 One way to decide if you should schedule an event in advance.

06:49 How Warren Buffet schedules events.

08:01 How Hiten schedules events.

09:00 Why you shouldn’t say yes to everything.

09:34 Why you need to ask yourself how saying yes to something will benefit you. 

3 Key Points:

One bad habit that I’ve recently developed is scheduling things for many weeks in advance. If this is gonna happen next week would I do it?We are not Warren Buffet.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:06]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about scheduling hacks or scheduling tips for founders. Here's why I wanted to talk to you about this. I think we've, with the years, we've talked about how to manage your time in a couple of episodes and shared some of the kind of time management principles that we use to make sure that we get the most out of our time. But recently I made a pretty big shift, there was one ... I've changed many things over the years in terms of how I handled my time and especially the requests for my time. But just recently I made one I feel final big change that I wanted to share, and then I thought it would be fun for us to just share a little bit of how we decide what to schedule, how to schedule things and all that good stuff. So, I'll kick it off by sharing my latest change in scheduling philosophy, and then we can just go back and forth on some tips, tricks. I know that you are really principled and disciplined in the way that you give out your time, because of the demand and requests for your time is so high. So, for me the latest and greatest on this is that, I have stopped allowing anything to be scheduled in my calendar that is further out than four weeks. And here's why. One bad habit that I've developed over the last two years, especially I feel like, is that I've been pretty good at pushing back on requests for my time if I know that you know, this month or the next couple of weeks it's not really ... It doesn't really fit. But it might be something, it's a nice to have. Yeah, "I'd like to talk to you one day," or, "I'd like to maybe do your podcast one day but just this month it doesn't really fit into my schedule." And then one really bad habit that I picked up was that I would just tell people, "You know what, whatever, October, November are not really good months for me to be on your podcast. But maybe early next year." And then they would send me an invite for some random time in January or February and I'd be like, "Sure." If it was far enough out, it would be easier for me to say yes to it, because it just felt so far away. I'm like, "Do I know what I'm doing July, 2025? No. Ah, sure, I might do your whatever." Podcast events, whatever it is. But then inevitably time passes and I look in my calendar and I go, "What the hell is this thing in my calendar?" Why am I doing this this Thursday if this doesn't work at all with the rest of my day?

Nov 12 2019

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Rank #15: 354: How to Create Vision & Mission Statements

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about two parts of the business trifecta, the vision and mission statements.

As a founder, you should have a clear mission and vision for your company. Mission and vision statements are similar and knowing the difference between both can go a long way in moving your company in the right direction.  

In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what a company’s vision should be, how it differs from its mission, how to create early versions of these statements and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:43 Why this topic was chosen.

01:34 What’s a mission statement.

02:28 What’s a vision statement.

03:41 Why you might not need both statements at the same time.

04:04 You can also have a product vision.

05:10 The right time to have a mission statement.

05:43 Why both statements are tools to help you run your company.

06:51 One of the main goals of these statements.

07:19 How these statements can help you make better decisions.

09:20 How to create an early version of your statements.

3 Key Points:

It’s not about if it’s trendy, it’s all about if it’s useful to you.
If you don’t know where you’re going you’re not going to get there.
Mission and vision statements are tools to help you run your company.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today, on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about two parts of a trifecta for a company that we haven't talked about. We've talked about values before, so company values. I don't think you and I have talked about company vision, so the vision for your company, your business, or company mission, which is a mission for your company. I think there are just really really interesting, just like values, in that they can actually, you know, cause people on your team, because this is really about the people on your team, to be motivated toward a common, sort of set of beliefs, set of goals, if you want to go there.

[0:00:51]

Steli Efti: Yeah. The episode on how to define your company values, is episode 336, 336, for people who want to check that out. Let's talk a little bit, first, maybe let's define what is the company ... What is a company vision and what is a company mission, and how is this different? I see there's a little confusing between vision and mission statements, often times.

[0:01:13]

Hiten Shah: Take a crack at is, Steli.

[0:01:16]

Steli Efti: All right. I'll do my best. For me, vision is really all about super long-term, the north star of the company, you know, kind of where potentially even an unattainable future, where you want your company to be. Ideally, the vision statement is something that gives people direction without being hyper-specific about all the specific steps, right? As my example, I always love to bring up Google's original vision statement that was like, take all the world's information and make it universally accessible to people. That's both, very specific, but also so broad that there's a lot of different things a company or people in your company could do that would potentially help the company move closer to that vision. A mission statement, in my definition, the way that I would think about it and talk about, is a bit more on the tactile side, in terms of trying to answer the question on how are we going to get to our vision? Like, how do we deliver this? You know, adding a bit more specifics on like, what are we going to have to do in the kind of more immediate future? Maybe, you know, a vision statement could be like a 100 year thing, verses, a mission statement could be a five year thing, or a three year thing of like, here's the part of the world,

Oct 19 2018

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Rank #16: 311: How to Get User Onboarding Right

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Today on the Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about what user testing is, why it’s important, and some tips on how to do it right. This comes after a series of blog post Hiten and his business partner have been working on around the topic.

After user testing products like Duolingo and Grammarly, Hiten shares what he’s learned from the process, including what works so well for those products and what could be done to improve the overall user experience.

Hiten also shares some tips on how you can user test your own products the right way and, if you choose to, test those of your competitors as well.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:44 Why this topic was chosen for this episode.

02:36 What user testing means.

03:43 Hiten talks about the user test he carried out on Grammarly.

04:19 How much the study cost.

05:10 Why it’s a good idea to user test your competitor's products.

06:08 Lessons Hiten learned from user testing Grammarly.

10:40 Tips to help you user test your products or those of your competitors.

3 Key Points:

User testing is the ability to see how people react to an experience.
If you're trying to figure out what your users hate about your product, you need to ask them.
User testing allows you to understand what’s working and what’s not.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on the Start-up Chat, we're gonna talk about a series of blog posts I've been doing with my business partner Marie, around user testing and the value of it. It was a hard one for us to share, and we'll talk about why. Steli, you wanted to talk about it, so I'd love to get your take, as always, because apparently you're reading my crap.

[0:00:26]

Steli Efti: Yeah, dude. You're killing it with product habits. Again, for people that are listening. I'm pretty sure that people that listen to the Start-up Chat are already subscribed to Product Habits, but for those that are new that haven't, go to ProductHabits.com and subscribe. I've been on your email list for a long time now, and the content you're sharing right now is the best content you've ever shared, in my opinion. Really it's-

[0:00:51]

Hiten Shah: Wow, thank you.

[0:00:52]

Steli Efti: It is killer. It is really, really fucking good. The emails that you send are really good. I know that you and Marie, you've kind of gone from a model of considering having a content team that writes these emails, to getting back to the two of you writing these emails, and spending a lot of time back and forth until you get it right. And it really fucking shows. It's unfortunate, but there's no shortcut to excellence and to greatness. You have to put in the work. I love the new format right now, the new thing that you guys do where you do these research studies on other companies, right. On their products, on their user onboarding. You do really deep dives and then you share the deep dives and the learnings that you have with brands that are pretty popular. And are teaching even how they could do things better. So I love that content. It's incredibly insightful. I wanted to pick the last one you did on Grammarly, and share some of the insights you learned there. And then for people that want to learn more, they can just go to ProductHabits.com and read these user research or product research studies in much more depth and detail. But let's talk a little bit about user onboarding and what you've learned through doing these deep dives so far. What are some of the key learnings that you guys took out of it as takeaways?

[0:02:16]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, absolutely. A couple things. One, for those of you that don't know what user testing is,

May 22 2018

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Rank #17: 426: How to Create a Successful Pilot Program for Your Startup

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to create a successful pilot program for your startup.

In the startup world, running a pilot program for your startup is a great way to fine-tune your solution and get in some early customers. Sadly, many pilots end up failing due to mistakes made during them, and this is something that Steli and Hiten explore in this episode.  

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to do pilot programs correctly, why you need to be clear about KPIs, why you need to be as hands-on as possible during the pilot and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:46 Why this topic was chosen.

02:36 Why you need to be clear about KPIs.

04:46 Why clarity is super important.

04:16 Why you need to be as hands-on as possible during the pilot.

05:13 How you need to babysit the pilot.

06:36 How to get more advice about your pilot.

06:41 How to handle contracts and timelines.

06:50 Why want to learn from your customers past.

06:33 A question you can ask your customer during a pilot.

3 Key Points:

Find out from your customer what you’d need to do to get them to purchase your product.You need to babysit the pilot.You wanna learn from your customer’s past.

[0:00:01]
Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti
[0:00:04]
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today we're going to talk about sales but what we're going to talk about sales is how to do pilots correctly so that they lead to successful outcomes and basically close deals.
[0:00:19]
Steli Efti: Yeah, this is one of the biggest heartbreakers. Whenever I talk to startups that have A, pilot or multiple pilots going on usually with either larger customers or maybe if it's very early in their development phase where the product maybe doesn't work yet or is very rudimentary. Startups like to do pilots, right? It's these agreed upon times where a potential customer in a startup will come together and they'll agree that they're going to run a certain amount of tests. They're going to try to use the product or implement it or integrate it and if it goes well the idea is at the end of pilot, once we've tested this out, we would buy. The company would become a customer. The heartbreaker is that a lot, the vast majority of the time, especially startups that are not super experienced in sales, they'll put these pilots together in a way that's destined to fail and they will work so hard and have such high hopes. Then at the end of a one month or three month period when they were hell bent on needing this pilot to turn into a successful customer relationship, it doesn't, right, and it doesn't just crush the morale. It doesn't just deplete the funds and the money but it's also wasting the biggest resource the startups have which is time. So let's unpack a little bit of the mistakes that startups do, how to do avoid them and how to do this well in order to save some people a lot of trouble and a lot of wasted time.
[0:01:49]
Hiten Shah: Yeah, pilots are so key, especially to get the kind of deals that you're looking for. They also help companies get really comfortable with your product and your technology and help you actually sort out how to make something that actually provides something that they actually need and want and help them get ramped up on something. I'm going to let you lead the way because I'm sure you have more tips than I do on this.
[0:02:12]
Steli Efti: I have a million of them. All right.
[0:02:13]
Hiten Shah: Go for it.
[0:02:15]
Steli Efti: After all, a few simple things and I know you'll pepper and salt it with your wisdom around it. One of the most important things when you set up a pilot is to create clarity on what the key KPIs are that will indicate that this is going well.

Jun 28 2019

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Rank #18: 471: Startup WTFs: Not Dedicating Enough Time to Your Most Important Customers & Team Members

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about not dedicating enough time to your most important customers & team members.

As a founder, you have to decide what to spend your time, energy, and money on. This can be from customers, team members to investors. To be a successful founder, you need to decide what’s worth your time and what isn’t, and even more importantly, when to cut your losses.

So in this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you shouldn’t spend too much energy on people that are not working out, how to decide how much time to invest in something, how to work with challenging customers and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About the topic of today’s episode

00:32 Why this topic was chosen.

03:33 Why you shouldn’t spend too much energy on people that are not working out.

04:00 How to decide how much time to invest in something.

05:10 When to cut your losses with a customer. 

06:20 Why you should ensure that you spend most of your time with your most successful customers.

07:30 How to work with challenging customers.

09:34 The importance of understanding how to help your customers.

09:14 How most people put in so much energy in things that are not working.

10:44 How to decide what to spend your energy on.

3 Key Points:

There’s very few people who spend time on the right things when it comes to people.If it’s a bad fit customer, it might just be a better use of your time to refer them to someone else.Find your most successful customers and ensure you spend time on them.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today The Startup Chat we're going to talk about this phenomenon in business of spending most of your time with employees and customers that aren't working out and neglecting your superstars. You're rock stars, the best employees, the most successful people on your team, the happiest and most successful customers. So recently I had a conversation where this came up again, but it's been a theme and it's been on my mind for over a decade now. I've noticed this in my own businesses. I've noticed this in many other people's companies where I think it's natural that we all spend or invest most of our attention where there's conflict, where there are problems, right? So if you're managing a team and there's somebody not working quite out at that well in that team, that person is going to consume a lot of your attention, a lot of your energy, a lot of your time and you're going to coach them more, spend more time with them, look over more of their work, worry more about them, talk more to them. And maybe at some point you part ways, but you'll give them a ton of your energy and time. And then the people that just crush it, the people that are kind of just superstars doing their own thing, over delivering on all the numbers, just showing that they don't need, you know, they're not struggling, they're thriving, right? They don't need a lot of your handholding. And with those people, oftentimes we just don't spend any time with him. And maybe it's even more dramatic in customers, right? The customers that complain the loudest that are the unhappiest you might take a plane fly to them, spend a lot of time one on one with them. Your team is going to worry a lot about them. There's going to be lots of internal discussions about that customer, what to do and how to help them. And then there's a bunch of customers that are just happily paying you full price, right? Never complain about a thing, never sending you an email, never ask for a discount or for a handout and you happily ignore these people or just don't even realize they exist. I think that there's a real cost to this, there's a real downside to this in business.

Dec 03 2019

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Rank #19: 283: How to Create a Good Email Newsletter

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about email newsletters and why it’s important to your startup.

In this day and age of social media, does email marketing still work? According to Steli and Hiten, the answer is yes and if you’re not sending out newsletters in your startup, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with your audience and grow your business.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about newsletters, the value of them and why you should be emailing your mailing list consistently and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 - About today’s topic.

00:28 - Why we’re talking about today’s topic.

01:14 - Steli talks about one of his favorite Hiten Shaw quotes.

01:45 - Hiten talks about what great email is and tools you can use.

05:19 - Steli dives into what one-to-many emailing is.

07:41 - How to do newsletters the right way.

11:06 - Hiten gives a great tip on how to improve your email.

12:13 - Steli talks about how you should consume the emails that you receive.

14:00 - How to improve the content of the emails you send.

15:17 - Why editing helps take your emails from good to great.

18:31 - Hiten suggests how you can improve your emails if you’re struggling and putting in the work.

Quotes:

Good email is dead, great email more alive than ever.
If you write great email, you’re gonna be crushing it.
Learn how to tell a great story.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today, on the startup chat, we're actually gonna talk about one of the most boring topics out there. And that topic is email. Were not talking about the Gmail you use, and the emails coming in your inbox, although we kinda are. We're talking about the emails that you actually send.

[0:00:20]

Steli Efti: Yeah

[0:00:20]

Hiten Shah: And this is like, whatever you would call a newsletter. We've talked about this thing in the past about the value of them and things like that, today's episode we actually want to double down, dig in deeper and talk more about kind of where we are at right now. You know and answer the stupid question, which is does email still work? Which I think we've answered before but I wanted to start a little light-weight. Yes, email does work. Yes, if you are a business of any kind, you should be emailing people.

[0:00:52]

Steli Efti: Boom. And then, I will double click on one of my favorite all time Hiten Shah quotes on the topic of email, which was, so good email, people say email is dead and all that crap, good email might be in trouble, great email is more well in the life today than ever before. If you write great email your going to be crushing it for your business.

[0:01:18]

Hiten Shah: Good email is dead.

[0:01:20]

Steli Efti: There you go.

[0:01:21]

Hiten Shah: Great email is more alive than ever.

[0:01:22]

Steli Efti: Boom.

[0:01:23]

Hiten Shah: Just to paraphrase a little differently, I don't remember how I said it, thank you for that reminder. I almost forgot I said that. I don't think we talked about what great email is. Did we?

[0:01:36]

Steli Efti: Let's talk about it.

[0:01:38]

Hiten Shah: Okay. So well one, great email is using a great email tool. Let's just start there.

[0:01:45]

Steli Efti: Alright.

[0:01:45]

Hiten Shah: I know there are a lot of them out them, and we don't really necessarily promote one or another, but I am going to speak about it for a few seconds. There are tools like MailChimp. MailChimp is actually a very good tool. I do use it.

Feb 13 2018

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Rank #20: 378: Do You Have to Sacrifice Your Life & Health in the Early Days as Founder?

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about if it’s necessary to sacrifice your life and your health in the early days of building your startup.

In the startup world, creating a healthy balance between work and play is absolutely essential when it comes to leading a happy and productive lifestyle. But achieving this is not always easy – especially if you’re at the early stages of your startup.

In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on the importance of having a healthy work-life balance, why you should do whatever you can to make your business successful, the importance of knowing when to take a step back from hustling and much more.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:32 About today’s topic

00:40 Why this topic was chosen.

03:01 Hiten’s thoughts on this topic.

05:14 Why you should do whatever you can to make your business successful.

06:40 Why it should be called work-life harmony

07:43 The importance of knowing when to take a step back from hustling

09:17 Why there’s no such thing as the right way to be successful.

12:16 Steli’s take on the idea of hustle porn.

14:44 Hiten’s take on the idea of hustle porn

3 Key Points:

There are so many founders out there that can’t handle the stress of being a founder.
You should do whatever you can to make your business successful.
If you’re emotionally and spiritually burned out, maybe this isn’t for you.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hi everybody this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And today on the StartUp Chat I want to talk about, do you really have to sacrifice your life and health in the early days as a founder or is that bullshit. So, here's the reason why I want to talk to you about this, I think throughout the episodes we've always aired on the side of working smarter not harder, people don't have to sacrifice their health, and their family, and their emotions to be successful as entrepreneurs. We're always attacking this myth that you have to burn yourself out to succeed. But then recently, I saw a discussion online that I thought, this is actually interesting and probably thought provoking and an interesting topic for us to digest where one specific founder, I'm not going to call him out by name, that has done a successful company and is now in a later stage in his life with wife, and kids and an investor and is advocating a lot doing a lot of press around this hustle culture is toxic, and working too many hours is toxic, and not working out, and not eating healthy is toxic, and entrepreneurs really need to have good work life balance. And so working too much and focusing only on work isn't the right way. And I thought at first glance when I was just seeing the headlines of these podcast interviews and articles, I was like, sure. And then I started seeing a really strong counter reaction, and I started reading those comments and tweets and basically, I'll summarize it, basically a bunch of founders, younger founders, but also some older ones are calling bullshit on this. And were basically saying, "Yeah, motherfucker when you started, your first startup, I mean you were nobody, and you had no resources, you had no success, you want to tell us that you were doing eight hours a day off, six hours a day, and weekends off, and going to the gym every day, and eating super healthy, and having friends, and traveling, and taking vacations? No you didn't. You were working all day seven days a week hustling your ass off to make that first company succeed and now that you have the momentum of success, and recognition, and money, and fame in your much later stage in your life and a different stage in your life, now you're all about eating healthy, and working out, and spending time with your kids, but young or early founders they can't afford that work life ...

Jan 11 2019

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