I had the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley this year for the Startup Grind Global Conference! It took place February 12th & 13th in Redwood City California. The conference is geared towards early stage entrepreneurs and consisted of workshops that covered topics ranging from raising your first round of conquering to maximizing digital marketing. I was attracted to this event because of the world class speakers that would be gracing the stage.
Some of the speakers consisted of:
Morgan Debaun, Founder of Blavity
Melanie Whelan, Founder of Soul Cycle
Howie Liu, CEO and Co-Founder of Airtable
Michael Seibel, CEO of Y Combinator
Arlan Hamilton, Founder of Backstage Capital
The event consisted of 6 stages for sessions, an experiential tent of sponsor exhibitions and the opportunity to meet tons of startups that were exhibiting prototypes of their ideas. It was difficult to filter through all of the sessions offered to create my agenda because everything sounded amazing! The conference app made it easier to organize my time so that could make the most of what' was being offered. You can actually catch the replay of all of the main stage sessions here on YouTube as well a small snippet of footage in this week’s #EverydayHustle Vlog.
During my time in the sponsor exhibition area, I had the chance to speak with a few great companies. I stopped by the Intuit booth where I received a ton of valuable information on how I could use their products as a full entrepreneur. Intuit owns some of our favorite tools such as TurboTax, Mint.com and Quickbooks. They also provide software that will help with paying yourself, auto-deducting taxes from your paycheck, paying employees and much more.
I also spoke with some great reps from Industrious and Dynadot. Industrious provides coworking spaces across the country. I’ve seen ads for their space here in Pittsburgh which is actually downtown in one of the skyrise buildings. I received a free 5 day pass to cowork in their facility at Startup Grind so I look forward to sharing my experience. Dynadot is a domain hosting service, similar to GoDaddy. The team at Startup Grind was awesome! They explained that they have the best prices in the market for domains and has a free website builder tool that you can use when registering a domain. They actually gave away free domains to attendees who registered it at their booth, along with cute Valentine’s cookies and a humidifier in the shape of a coffee cup.
My experience at Startup Grind was phenomenal and I highly recommend this event to anyone who has interest in launching their own business. Even if you don’t have interest in seeking venture capital, there was so much valuable insight provided that goes beyond the scope of getting your first round of funding.
Here are my top 4 takeaways from the 2019 Startup Grind Global Conference.
Tracking & Analyzing KPI’s Must Become Common Practice in Your Business
In particular, there are four Key Performance Indicators you should pay attention to.
Revenue Growth: Will value be created?
Sales Efficiency: How much value our $ invested?
Revenue Churn: Do your customers love you?
Cash Burn: How quickly does your business go through money?
Ambition is Not Enough
This message was driven home by Mathilde Collin - Cofounder & CEO of Front. Having an ambitious vision attracts people - but it is not enough. If you don’t have discipline, you don’t have consistency and you don’t have consistency, you won’t have success. Mathilde gave an example of consistency by providing an example of something she does with her team. In her company, she is a big believer in transparency. She wants her team to know what her priorities are and what she’s doing. She host a company all hands on Mondays every week at 9 reviewing priorities and then sends an email at 10 listing them. She also sends emails with priorities and agendas consistently before every meeting.
Community Building Should Start at the Beginning
Derek Andersen - Founder of Bevy/Startup Grind and Courtland Allen - Founder Indie Hackers drove home this point. Community building doesn’t start once you reach a certain number of followers or website clicks. Ask yourself, what can I do now to plant the seeds to build a community? Maybe it starts as a small meetup, a webinar or a newsletter. Embed community into your brand from the start.
Organic Reach Increases the Likelihood that Your Paid Ads will Work
Rand Fishkin, Founder of SparkToro hosted an excellent two part session on marketing. First, he painted the true picture of what’s happened with algorithms and how as time goes on, beating them becomes tougher. Then, he provided his recommendations for “hacking” the traditional growth hacks. His advice? Maximize your organic reach. Provide high quality content that sparks discussion and is NOT a sales pitch. When that post does well, then post another post that does content a pitch. By continuing this trend, you will show networks (namely Facebook) that consumers enjoy your content which will increase the likelihood that your content will be shown to your audience. Once you’ve built brand awareness, the chances of your paid ads converting drastically increase.