Simple Ways To Grow Your Business From the 2012 Channel Partners Conference

April 10, 2012

11:30 am

Last week, I attended the 2012 Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas and had an amazing time (thank you Time Warner Cable Business Class). Surprisingly, I met numerous successful entrepreneurs who were making over $1M per year with their companies. I never really thought about how many similarities the average web tech startup shared with their counterparts in the telecom and data industries. Sure we all run businesses in tech, but we hardly ever cross paths early on. These telecom companies focus on B2B but seem to cater more to medium to larger sized companies, not particularly friendly for bootstrapped startups. However, they’re great business resources especially when you grow past your startup’s bootstrapping stage.

Many of the successful entrepreneurs I met at the conference shared several beliefs and methods in common with tech startups.   The following tweets from the conference really summarizes our shared values:

How many of us entrepreneurs can relate to this? All of us, hopefully. We all choose to work on our own startups because of the love and passion we have for our product. We also focus on improving our strengths and tackling our weaknesses. If there’s any startup that represents “love your customers,” it would be Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness. Built upon the values of passion and customer service, Zappos, Converged Network Services, and many other startups have grown much bigger and faster than their hard-to-reach competitors.

Last but not least, HUSSLE. A word that has been used constantly and effectively by Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion. HUSSLE represents the blood and sweat we pour into the soul of our startups.

Back at SXSW in 2011, a Y Combinator panel mentioned the importance of leveraging your human capital and resources. Reaching out to your peers and other successful entrepreneurs can greatly improve your chances of moving past your bootstrapping days. Don’t have any human capital? Try the classic approach of taking someone out to lunch! An important rule to follow is to always try to help someone else before asking for help.

One quote especially resonates with me regarding helping and asking for help:

“What are you doing to help the person next to you? Don’t you want to wake up and go to work for the only reason that you can do something good for someone else? Wouldn’t you want them to do that for you?”
– Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action at the 99% Conference

Niche your market, niche your market, niche your market. This can’t be stressed enough. Many entrepreneurs, including Tim Ferriss (author of The 4-Hour Work Week), Ramit Sethi (author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich) and Noah Kagan (Chief Sumo at AppSumo) all stress the importance of focusing your business to target niche markets. Winning in your niche market allows for you to hold an imperial monopoly over your turf, setting you up for success in other related niches. (PS: Be a friendly monarch!)

Help your rock stars. Martin Ringlein, co-founder of nclud (clients include: Mashable, Discovery, Oracle, Ogilvy, PUMA, and The Washington Post), is known for encouraging creativity and fostering an environment of collaboration. This small yet creative and collaborative team have brought nclud many hard to reach and exclusive clients.

The life of a startup is bound to have bumps in its road to success, so here’s one last additional tip, which comes from Tricia Ward, Founder and President of Net Source Group (the first sales partner to achieve $1 million in monthly recurring revenue).

“Expect change and plan for it.”

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Jeff Tong is a social media strategist in Washington DC and has been a long-time contributor at Tech Cocktail. You’ll find Jeff at tech events, foodie hangouts, and possibly snorkeling somewhere tropical. Contact Jeff online at @gundamwing4132 or [email protected]

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