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7 Things I Wish I Knew When We Started BigCommerce
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7 Things I Wish I Knew When We Started BigCommerce

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Slides accompanied BigCommerce (http://www.bigcommerce.com) co-founder Mitchell Harper's presentation at SydStart in Sydney, Australia on September 22nd 2011....

Slides accompanied BigCommerce (http://www.bigcommerce.com) co-founder Mitchell Harper's presentation at SydStart in Sydney, Australia on September 22nd 2011.

In his speech, "7 Things I Wish I Knew When We Started BigCommerce", Mitch discusses 7 key points for all entrepreneurs starting a new business, which are:

1. Business model
2. Modelling
3. Product first
4. Automate everything
5. AMB (Always Be Marketing)
6. Culture is king
7. Maintaining state

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    7 Things I Wish I Knew When We Started BigCommerce 7 Things I Wish I Knew When We Started BigCommerce Presentation Transcript

    • 7 Things I Wish I Knew When We Started BigCommerce
    • Allow Myself to Introduce... Myself...
        • Me:
          • 29 years old, programming since 12
          • Developer-turned-entrepreneur
          • Love innovation in the software space
          • Co-founder of BigCommerce
        • BigCommerce:
          • SaaS e-commerce solution for SMBs
          • Launched in September 2009
          • 20k paying clients, ~$15M revenue
          • (Almost) 100 employees in Sydney+Texas
          • Raised $15M series A in July 2011
          • Growing > 100% year-on-year
          • Kick ass culture + awesome people
    • 7 Things I Wish I Knew (And Now Do)
        • Business model
        • Modelling
        • Product first
        • Automate everything
        • ABM (Always Be Marketing)
        • Culture is king
        • Maintaining state
    • #1 - Business Model
      • Where will your revenue come from?
        • Start with the exit in mind
          • Do you want to go public (IPO) or be acquired?
          • What is your break even point?
          • Find a consultant (CFO) to build a financial model
        • Recurring (i.e. monthly subscription) vs perpetual
          • Recurring revenue makes it easy to sleep at night
          • Recurring revenue significantly improves valuation
          • Recurring revenue goes up over time
    • #2 - Modelling
      • Another word for modelling is "copying"
        • You're not the first person to do what you're doing
        • Someone else has done it
        • They've made the mistakes
        • Find & bribe them to be your mentor
        • Learn from their mistakes
        • Compress years of THEIR experience into days of learning
        • Focus on the end goal not process
    • #3 - Product First
      • If your product sucks then your business (revenue) will too
        • Are you building a real product or just a feature?
        • Quick test: If what you build could easily be added in the next release by a competitor, then it's a feature
        • Find a single pain point that people will pay you to fix
          • For us, this was ease-of-use
        • Use surveys to find the biggest pain point and nail that in your product and in your marketing
        • Case in point: Google Wave
    • #4 - Automate Everything
      • The more you automate, the lower your costs + work load
        • "How can we automate that?"
          • Ask it about EVERYTHING
            • Invoicing -> Freshbooks
            • Recruiting -> Jobvite
            • Website Updates -> SquareSpace
        • Automation is cheaper than hiring
        • Automation lets you focus on strategy
        • Documented processes + automation = nirvana (scale)
    • #5 - ABM (Always Be Marketing)
      • Become a whore - a marketing whore, that is
        • You're always marketing
        • You never know where a conversation with a stranger can lead
        • Always be thinking "how can I use this opportunity to grow my revenues, team or customer base"
        • I'm marketing to all of you, right now
          • We're looking to hire 30 engineers
          • Startups are hard, join us instead!
          • BigCommerce.com/careers.php
    • #6 - Culture is King
      • Awesome culture attracts kick ass people
        • You're a startup, so no one knows you
        • People don't  really  believe in your idea
        • An amazing culture can win them over
          • Look at your competitors and be different
          • Inject your personality into your culture
          • For us, that means:
            • We only hire A-players
            • We hire and fire based on our core values
            • We take care of the little things
              • Free food, soft drink, beer, lunches, etc
              • Xboxes, bean bags, t-shirts, books, courses
            • We all play poker and drink beer together
        • Your decisions on people will make or break your company
    •  
    •  
    •  
    • #7 - Maintaining State
      • Or, how to cope when shit hits the fan (because it will)
        • You're always on an emotional roller coaster
        • You're either at the top (fun), bottom (miserable), on your way up or on your way down - this is called "state"
        • You need to be aware of your state every day
        • If you're on your way down you should already have a plan to start heading back up the roller coaster
        • Acknowledge that you're at the bottom/heading down
        • Feeling awesome one day and like absolute shit the next day is normal and happens to every entrepreneur
    • Thanks For Listening And Good Luck! [email_address] @mitchellharper on Twitter