Whether you’re the founder of a software startup trying to compete against big competitors or a serial entrepreneur looking for the next great enterprise opportunity, Aaron Levie, the co-founder and CEO of Box, has some advice for you: Avoid doing the obvious.
“Take the stodgiest, oldest, slowest moving industry you can find. And build amazing software for it.” — Levie, in a recent tweet
In 2005, Aaron Levie co-founded Box as an innovative solution to the staid hardware-based file storage and sharing market. Since then, Levie and his team have built the company into one of the most innovative and highly touted enterprise software platforms in the world. According to Inc.com, Box’s customers include 97 percent of the Fortune 500, and the business is now being valued at $1.2 billion. Not bad for a startup that was created in a University of Southern California dorm room.
So, what’s made Box so successful at the enterprise level, and how has Levie made something as mundane as file sharing and content management into something that’s sexy?
Here are four tips from Levie on how to position your software startup to take the enterprise world by storm.
Sales and product teams aren’t typically the best of friends. But aligning sales and product management can go a long way toward building a stronger company.
When it comes to aligning sales and product management teams in expansion-stage businesses, the relationship should come natural. After all, says product manager Jock Busuttil, customers need something, the product team can build it, and the sales team can sell it — which means creating that alignment should be the simplest thing a technology business does. Unfortunately, Busuttil explains in a post for Business 2 Community, that’s not usually how it works.
Online and tablet videos are a red hot content marketing currency — and they’re about to get hotter. Find out how to take advantage of the video marketing boom.
With more than four billion hours of video watched on YouTube every month and some research suggesting that customers that watch a brand’s video are 85 percent more likely to purchase that companies’ products or services, it’s no wonder why video marketing is all the rage today. And that excitement is only going to grow over the next five years, says videographer Kerrin Sheldon in a guest post for FastCompany. Is your company positioned to embrace and capitalize on that video boom?
For most non-technical entrepreneurs, communicating with sales, marketing, and customer service team members is easy. Communicating with software developers? Well, that can be a bit more challenging.
In a perfect world, all of the employees in high-tech companies would speak the same business language. That way, founders and CEOs could communicate their vision in one fell swoop — saving themselves time and frustration, and ensuring that everyone would be on the same page. Unfortunately, that’s not really how it works. In fact, as Nelly Yusupova writes for Entrepreneur, communicating with software developers often requires non-technical entrepreneurs to different approach entirely.
Sales can sometimes feel like you’re repeatedly slamming your head against the wall. Unless, of course, you’re well prepared to overcome the most common sales objections.
Most seasoned salespeople have heard them before. “I can get a cheaper solution from another vendor,” or “I didn’t have a good experience with your company in the past.” Both are the kind of common — and cliche — sales objections that drive sales pros nuts. But as respected sales pro Tom Hopkins tells Inc.com’s Geoffery James, all you really need to overcome those sales objections is a good script, a smile, and a little persistence.
Big Data is here to stay, and it’s creating significant brand marketing opportunities for savvy marketers. Are you prepared to embrace it?
In a guest post for Branding Strategy Insider, J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman of the The Futures Company, writes that like Noah and The Flood, marketing insiders and media types alike have been foretelling the era of Big Data for some time now. Yet, as it relates to brand marketing, few B2B marketers seem to really understand it and even fewer seem to be embracing it effectively.
It might not be the most obvious analogy, but football can teach startup founders and technology entrepreneurs quite a bit about launching a product.
Like an NFL team with a sputtering offense and a porous defense, many startup and expansion-stage technology companies struggle with the process of launching a product. Inevitably, writes Jeff Lash on his blog How to Be a Good Product Manager, that results in ineffective and costly go-to-market failures that leave those companies with no choice but to heave a Hail Mary.
As the founder of a growing startup or expansion-stage company, it can be difficult to relinquish or redistribute corporate decision making to anyone other than senior-level executives.
But according to entrepreneur Robert Jordan in a post for Forbes.com, corporate decision making does not need to start at the top of your company’s hierarchy. In fact, it might do your business a world of good to empower employees to make some key decisions (and mistakes).