Tag Archives: entrepreneurship


How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Authors: Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

In my week three reflection I talked about Part I of my chosen book. This week I am reflecting on Part II: Creating Predictable Pipeline.

Creating predictable pipeline is the ultimate goal because if you can control where and how you are generating revenue, you control you financial growth/success. Here is how Ross and Lemkin say to do it:

  1. Seeds – Customer Success;
  2. Nets – Marketing;
  3. Spears – Outbound Prospecting;
  4. What Executives Miss.

“The Painful Truth: Overnight success is a fairy tale. You’re not going to be “Discovered” with a viral video, post or product that makes all your lead generation problems magically disappear.”

Of these four sections, #2 stood out the most to me because ever business needs marketing, but not every business knows how to do it.

Chapter Six – Nets-Marketing

If a company is struggling with marketing, Ross and Lemkin informs readers that inbound marketing works for every. “The idea is creating marketing that customers love or learn from, inspiring them to want more from you, eventually buying your stuff.”

To put it more plainly for those that are still unsure about what inbound marketing is, here is how Wikipedia defines inbound marketing: Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and branding.

With that being said, be careful. I have seen some terrible inbound marketing. Doing it just to say you did it is almost as bad as not doing it at all. In my profession (membership organization) we have chapters. Each chapter has their own social media platforms because they are interacting with their service areas (a specific city, county or state). Not all chapters are equipped with members that are social media gurus. The other issue is, not all chapters have the resources (revenue) to hire someone to manage their online presence (social media accounts).

Those challenges are the same challenges that small or start up businesses may face. For a business, it’s worth the investment.

Marketing success requires a team. There is a really great graph on page 68 of the book that depicts what your Revenue Team (for marketing) should look like.

This team is headed by a “Revenue Lead”.
Under that lead is a VP of Marketing and a VP of Sales.
Under each VP is a manager – Marketing and Sales.
After this the structure begins to show more clear separation.

On the marketing side there is a Senior Designer.
On the sales side there are Ads (Account Executives).

Each side has an outbound team:
Marketing – Demand Gen Marketers
Sales – Outbound SDRs (Sale Development Rep)

Last, each side has an inbound team:
Marketing – Content & Social Media Marketing
Sales – Inbound SDRs

Without marketing, a business relies only on word of mouth. That is not a sustainable model and your business will never cross the gap.

A Chat with Colin Croat

Colin Croat (2020)

Outside of taking the same course work in the masters of entrepreneurship program, Colin Croat has been a stranger behind a GroupMe message, Blackboard post, or class email. I always speculated that we had similar thought patterns because of our reactions to class activities (group work can be so much fun!), but my thoughts were truly speculation. I had nothing real to base my thoughts on.

It wasn’t until recently that I heard Colin’s voice for the first time. In a brief interview about himself, it was his quote from North Carolina native hip hop artist J. Cole that made me reconcile that my initial thoughts about Colin were pretty much on point – we are very similar in more ways than we are different.

I asked five questions that are similar to questions that I ask applicants in job interviews to understand who they are as potential staff members. This time my goal was to understand who Colin was as an entrepreneur. He surprised me with a few of his answers, but I am always up for a challenge.

What is your background?

Colin describes his education interest and professional background as mixed. He holds a bachelors degree from Western Carolina University in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. His interest when it comes to public relations is crisis control because it allows one to understand communication on a deeper level.

As a student and young professional, Colin had several internships and jobs in student affairs. This has led to opportunities where he is responsible for overseeing undergraduate students.

This question evolved into the natural conversation about what is in store for his future. He has set goals for year five, ten, and twenty, but there is no direct path to how he will get there. Colin (pleasantly) surprised me when he said he once aspired to attend law school. I was surprised mainly because he’s currently pursuing a masters in entrepreneurship and innovative leadership (MILE). That doesn’t really scream attorney to me! The reason for not pursuing law school made perfect sense for me – going to law school wasn’t the most fiscally responsible decision for him.

See, we do think alike. That is one of the main reasons I took so long to further my education – more student debt, if I didn’t do it the right way. I figured out the “right” way for me, just like Colin.

How do you see what you are currently doing as preparation for your entrepreneurial endeavors?

Colin shocked me again. The degree he is currently pursuing (MILE) is more for the leadership aspect. I found that extremely interesting because I would assume most students are the opposite (pursuing the degree for the entrepreneurial gain).

As he continued telling me more about his plan, his decision started to make more sense.

Colin has an interest in politics. This degree – the leadership aspect – allows him to hone his networking skills. The readings and articles that are assigned in the coursework are transferrable in meetings and committees that will be essential in building communities.What do you believe are the essentials to a successful business?

Colin referenced the Surfers Rules of leadership. This was new to me. I would have never correlated surfing to leadership – but after looking up what those rules are, it works! Two other essentials that Colin feels builds a successful business are passion and impact.

“The hard part isn’t starting, the hard part is stopping.”

Relatable! Anyone that has ever been passionate about something knows first hand how true this statement is.

This was the question where Colin referenced our mutual lyrical connection with J. Cole. As a matter of fact, before writing this interview, I had to take a listen to “Love Yourz” on J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive, even though I have heard it more times than I can count.

Paraphrasing J. Cole’s lyrics “…the good news is, you came a long way. The bad news is ….. you went the wrong way…”. Impact. Colin believes that re-evaluting his/your impact that you are making is essential not only to business, but life experiences.

What does retirement look like to you?

Colin talked more about his interest in politics. His fluid path was still prevalent in this question as he spoke about maybe one day being a mayor or governor to build communities. One thing he was sure of was his desire to be the youngest person ever elected as President of the United States.

Swoon. Suddenly I felt inadequate (in my goal setting – ha!) and then almost immediately I was inspired. There are obvious selfless reasons Colin aspires to be President of the United States of America, but his retirement vision doesn’t end there.

Colin hopes to be in a position, “at retirement age”, to look forward to waking up to what he enjoys and loves, even if that means waking up at 8:00 AM.

“It is important to always keep working”.

What truly defines you as a leader?

This question was somewhat impromptu after speaking with Colin about his background, goals and aspirations. I loved the vulnerability of his answer because it wasn’t a “cookie cutter” response. 

He said “A year ago I wouldn’t have known how to answer that question and in a week my answer may be completely different.” While some people may find that statement wishy washy, it makes perfect sense in the grand scheme of leadership – you have to be flexible.

It is clear from our short conversation that Colin has not only an entrepreneurial spirit, but even more so a leadership state of mind.

He describes himself as a motivator and supporter, which is backed up with the the last quote he left me with: “(I) unfill my cup for someone because I know I can fill it back up.”

(D) Week Two Reflection: From Impossible to Inevitable

How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Authors: Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

The opening in the preface says “There’s never even an easier time to grow a business. Ironically, tough, wile everyone else around you seems to be crushing their goals, does it feel like a struggle for you?”

My first thought after reading that was “bingo”. That sentence feels true about most facets of life. Thoughts that have loomed in my head: “I’m not doing enough”, “I’m not going hard enough”, “you can sleep when you’re dead”. All in the name of success. It’s unrealistic, but perception is reality.

It is perceived that in order to be successful, you have to do the right thing, but what is the right thing?

One reason I believe that we have the feeling of struggle while others seem to be yielding success is that it is really easy to overly focus on the things around you instead of focusing on your own goals (and small wins!). Most people also tend to struggle through certain ventures because they are prideful – not interested in asking for help or guidance because it will make them appear that they are not capable of gaining success on their own. 

This book is extremely important to any entrepreneur that desires success or to jump above their current plateau because it is written by two entrepreneurs that used a specific formula to build success. We get to learn from their experience. Experience that would take us years to gain.

As you continue to read my reflection on this book, I am writing with the following in mind – regarding hyper-growth:

  1. “Why aren’t you growing faster?”
  2. “What does it take to get to hyper-growth?”
  3. “How do you sustain it?”

The second set of things that I will be addressing are Ross and Lemkin’s Seven Ingredients to Hyper-Growth.

  1. Nail the Niche
  2. Create Predictable Pipeline
  3. Make Sales Scalable
  4. Double Your Deal Size
  5. Do the Time
  6. Embrace Employee Ownership
  7. Define Your Destiny