4 Startup Tips from Constant Contact’s Alec Stern

December 10, 2014

6:30 pm

This Thursday, December 11, we are holding our Tech Cocktail Week: December Sessions in downtown Las Vegas, where we will hear about the experiences of successful entrepreneurs, investors and other industry experts.

Alec Stern is the VP of strategic innovation and the executive-in-residence for the Small Business Innovation Program at Constant Contact, the Waltham, MA-based online marketing company that provides its small business and nonprofit organization customers with various social and digital marketing tools. Through his experiences both at his current role at the company and as a member of its founding team, Stern has had many experiences dealing with small businesses. It should come as no surprise that he’s got a few startup tips up his sleeve for those who want to know how to better run their companies.

At a recent presentation he gave to the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE), Stern offers a few pieces advice for small businesses. He lists ten tips overall, but I’ve included the four that I believe could apply more generally to startups.

Here are the 4 startup tips from Constant Contact’s Alec Stern:

1. Set Your Business Guardrails

“Be thoughtful of mindful of those pivots and those lane changes…really just think about it and see if it truly is aligned with your [your goals],” says Stern.

As a startup, it’s really easy to get sidetracked by other goals or other opportunities that you run into while on your startup journey. While some sidetracking certainly can lead to positive outcomes for your company, sometimes other opportunities end up not benefiting your startup’s overall goals or direction. Before making the decision to pursue a certain route, make sure that undertaking such an option will continue to align with your startup’s vision.

2. Measure Everything

From both a digital and physical standpoint, measure everything. When it comes to your site, for example, make sure that you’re keep an eye out on where people are coming from, how long they are visiting, and what kinds of actions are taking place. When it comes to the real world, how often are you reaching out to your customers or users – whether via phone or email?

“It’s all good information to sort of capture because they may lead to some decisions around tweaking some things that you’re doing.”

3. Delight the Customer

“They expect you to hit some bar – being customers – but what can you do to exceed that? Or get to a place where you delight?”

According to Stern, it’s not just about providing satisfactory customer service, it’s about creating that “wow experience” for your customer. What are the various ways through which you are going beyond the bottom-level expectations of your users?

4. Humanize Your Business Voice

There’s opportunity for you to show that your business is made up of actual human beings. A lot of these opportunities are available through various social channels, where you can engage with your various markets in a way that portrays you as more than just a brand, but a company that genuinely cares about other humans. Your goal is let them see that you’re good people and that you’re approachable.

Stern lays out ten points overall in his presentation, which you can watch below. But if you want a better opportunity to interact with him, he’ll be speaking at our Tech Cocktail Week: December Sessions this Thursday night (6 PM) at The Learning Village in downtown Las Vegas. Make sure to buy your tickets to the event! Here’s the video from his SBANE presentation:

This Thursday night, Alec Stern will join us to speak at Tech Cocktail Week: December Sessions. The event begins at 6 PM at The Learning Village.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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