More Oatmeal, Fewer Business Plans: Key Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs
By Erin Sherbert, Content Marketing Manager, Salesforce
In this hyperconnected world, we recently tried something a little different — we unplugged and had a good, ol’ fashioned conversation (the face-to-face kind, in some cases) with business leaders who have successfully launched their own businesses to learn more about their ways.
One of the many questions on our minds: What makes the modern-day entrepreneur tick (besides innovating, of course)?
“I’ve been looking for an app that could trigger a sequence that begins cooking my instant oatmeal and then makes my Keurig coffee in the morning (similar to the opening scene in Back to the Future),” says Russ Hearl, DoubleDutch’s vice president of sales, mid-market. “If such an app existed, that would be another game-changer for me in my quest for peak productivity. Maybe I will build that… ah, maybe not.”
But the future holds much more for mobile apps than a hot bowl of oatmeal. According to Hearl, now is the time for app developers to really go after distribution if they want to succeed in the competitive mobile app market.
“Having the best app doesn’t guarantee success,” Hearl says. Many startups offer products in highly competitive markets with low barriers to entry, he adds. In this case, it’s crucial to build “a distribution engine,” powered by technologies like Salesforce and InsideSales.com, that helps you move faster through the sales cycle than your competitors.
“In the end, your primary differentiator may not be your software — It might be how quickly you move to seize the opportunity in the marketplace,” he says.
Click here to learn more about accelerating your sales cycle.
Speaking of eating lots of oatmeal, we recently found out that Ethan Senturia, founder and CEO of financial lending company Dealstruck, is also a fan. Senturia recently stopped by Salesforce HQ in San Francisco to talk about his business journey — from Wall Street to startup world. Senturia says that in his current role, the change of pace is exhilarating, in that very scary sort of way. So what keeps him from losing steam? Exercising a “keeping-it-real culture” at the office. (That, and consuming a ton of oatmeal every day.)
What doesn’t scare Senturia is CRM, or Customer Relationship Management — in fact, he sees it as a kind of safety net for growing businesses. “If you find yourself being slow to respond to people, or you’re getting lots of inbound follow-up like ‘Hey, I’ve been waiting to hear back from you,’ then you probably need a CRM,” Senturia advises.
Want to know more about CRM? Download Your Complete CRM Handbook (it’s free!).
What we noticed when talking to these leaders is that today’s business executives are offering up insights that are just as cutting-edge as the innovations that launched their companies. If you ask Mark Hope, CEO of Pegasus Sustainability, he’ll tell you to ditch your business plan, that one you crafted during business school. “It’s crazy — it’s like writing a life plan. I mean, you don’t know what’s going to happen to you in 25 years … the same is true for business.”
Instead of a business plan, Hope suggests entrepreneurs make a “roadmap” — one that details the competitive landscape. “Then you move in that direction and reiterate the things that work and stop the things that don’t.”
And Hope should know: He’s been a business executive for more than two decades.
Want more insights from business leaders? In The Quest for Growth, brand-new research from Salesforce shows how 300+ entrepreneurs and small business principals plan to achieve double-digit growth this year. It’s free — just complete this form to get the report.