Alec Stern Lays out his 10 Pillars for SMB Success

Before he came to our recent Tech Cocktail Sessions in Downtown Las Vegas, Alec Stern managed to get himself cast as an extra for a new episode of Pawn Stars; it didn’t trump his time talking to our great audience though. When he’s not talking at our events, or appearing on hit TV shows, Stern spends his day to day as the VP of Strategic Innovation at Constant Contact.

During his talk at our event, Stern related the construction of what he labels the 10 pillars for achieving SMB success. He packaged them up to help demonstrate how a company might go from ideation to full-product launch before relating it all back to his experiences with Constant Contact.

Here are Stern’s 10 pillars:

  1. Set your business guardrails: Often we have big vision to solve problems for target audiences, but don’t be afraid to step back and nail down the core of your mission first.
  2. Test and invest: While you’re working on your core and going to market there’s still plenty of things you need to test to see if there’s something that might resonate better with minor tweaking.
  3. Metric-Driven Decisions: Simply put, measure everything! When you start out, put the hooks in and measure the things you currently have in place even if you don’t analyze it immediately.
  4. Go-To-Market Strategy: Where’s the channel for your business? How are you going to market?
  5. Surprise and delight your customers: Wow your customers, and they’ll turn around and tell everybody how great you are.
  6. Humanize your business voice: Find the voice of your business – SMB have the unique opportunity to be creative with their voice.
  7. Look big, act big, become big: It’s all about perception. If you professionalize things you do early on, you can explain the value prop of what you’re doing.
  8. Effective immediately you’re a thought leader: You’re doing something different and unique to what’s out there. That’s why you start a business after all, so be the best.
  9. Feedback is a gift: Think about all the ways you can achieve feedback from customers, good or bad, because they care. If they didn’t care they’d just leave with no comment.
  10. Formalize a ‘Cradle-to-Rave’ Strategy: Your customers go through different stages with you as a business, and the end stage is a rave customer loyal to the bone. Treat them and bucket them so you can do different things with different customers.

Here’s the video:


Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at

Written by:
Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988
Back to top