Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.
This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor Chris Bechtel of Growth Engine Labs as he chats about “Driving Growth for Early-Stage Startups.” Chris is a growth consultant, start-up advisor, customer acquisition and sales coach, former SaaS CEO, and marketing executive. Chris brings 20 years of sales and marketing expertise, specializing in demand generation, marketing automation, pipeline optimization, content marketing, and sales technologies. Chris has extensive experience in B2B, internet and SaaS technologies working with start-ups, growth stage organizations and brands to maximize the results of their digital marketing, PR and revenue generation activities through the use of content and technology.
Heidi: What do you think is the most important thing for driving growth for early stage companies?
Chris: I think really, the most important thing is really the market. Being in the right section of the market, really focused on customer needs. I think that most start-ups, start with a hypothesis. It usually comes from personal experience, but people often forget there’s many potential buyers of that start-up’s initial idea. There’s a problem, there’s a pain that needs to be solved and think sort of the biggest barrier is not really focusing on the right growth segment within that market. So, I think first and foremost it’s about making sure you’re in a strong market, where the customer’s segments under served. I think then it’s really about that focus. It’s really about focusing on the right section of the market, really understanding who you are marketing to and that’s really going to dictate the value proposition to use and what channels you use to acquire them.
Heidi: Going back to barriers, talk about the most common barrier to early stage success.
Chris: I think really the same it’s about focus. With every entrepreneur, it’s both a blessing and a curse to have that creative mind. To be able to come up with unique solutions to common problems. But, then the barrier often comes from overthinking and questioning all those ideas and then not actually being able to focus because essentially every start-up is a hypothesis and then when it comes to marketing that hypothesis those are also a set of hypotheses. The key is focusing and prioritizing a series of tests.
Heidi: For early stage start-up, how do you find the right people to surround them with to provide attraction and growth.
Chris: I think that’s a great question, and one that often many founders struggle with. In terms, of how do I have a co-founder, who’s my initial founding team? A lot of it starts with what’s the stage that you’re in? What kinds of people? Do you have people, you know, if you’re already at product market fit and you need people to scale? You will need people who have had experience really scaling. In the early days, you needed people who could do many things and are willing to do many things and are able to then also focus on those core things and get us to the next stage of validating product market fit and identifying the actual acquisition channels that are going to help us get to that next stage. Hopefully get some more capital to start scaling.
Heidi: Finally, what’s your favorite thing about being a mentor here at the Preccelerator? What drove you to join us?
Chris: Well, first of all it’s a great community. There’s great people here and I just really love helping people. That’s why I do what I do I think and helping people get clarity. Because people have so much passion, but it’s hard, it’s really, really hard. So, I love the joy in people’s face when they sort of get clarity, at least what I’m supposed to focus on for the next week or two and get unstuck. I think that’s really what I enjoy the most about being here at Stubbs.
Heidi: Yeah, community and that sense of empathy, among advisors, mentors, and other entrepreneurs that are advising. It’s been really important and greatly beneficial. Thank you for being here.
Growth Engine Labs
To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at firstname.lastname@example.org.