T: @DuaneBrown

Managing Resources As You Scale Up

I talked about pricing agency services this year and in the future I want to talk about selling your service. However, today I want to talk about managing your resources… which is a bigger concern for me right now. I don’t have everything figured out and if  I did, it’s going to break past 3 – 5 people as what works for 1 or 2 people doesn’t always scale.

Since we have been figuring out our pricing and moving off of selling hours. I’ve noticed that I can devote more time, when needed, to clients and super focus on the outcome we talked about when we signed them. I’m not worried about working X hours or doing busy work to delivery some line item/digital artifact in a contract.

Instead of thinking about resources as hours (worked) and more about your intelligence and knowledge, which you use to reach an outcome. I can take on a bit more work this way because I’m not worried about hitting my 45 hour work week. After 45 hours it’s either hire someone else or work longer hours each week to take on more work, which isn’t ideal from a burnout and health perspective. It’s not perfect nor is this all figured out but I’m loving the different ways I can work.

On Boarding A New Employee

When you’re a company of one, it’s easy to have a process in place and know where everything is. when you’re two people in a company, it becomes harder but maybe not twice as hard. When you hit three people it almost become four times as hard to keep everything together because you have two other people to keep in the loop on everything.

When I think about all the things you need to keep on top of with new employees, it made me realize all the other work I had not always taken into account. Just some of the items include…

  • Contract – how will this get signed and where will it be stored?
  • HR & Benefits – How will you track everyone’s progress in the company
  • Payroll – How and when will everyone get paid
  • Password – What will you use to manage this…. that doesn’t mess up your IT needs
  • Folder Sharing – Is Dropbox good enough and what about sharing that work with clients. You don’t want to end up with multiple systems because that’s when things turn into a mess
  • Meeting Management – Big fans of Calendly but even then, making you sure you don’t double book yourself or have to many meetings in one day is important. This happened to me one day and made me rethink how I book meetings even more then usually
  • Communication – email, IMs, phone calls, Slack….what you do and don’t use matters and like passwords and folder sharing, you want something that works across clients and limits your downtime
  • Culture – how to share this and encourage the behaviors that you want each employee to take

All of the above is even before your new employee has written a piece of ad copy or launched a campaign. The back office and administrative work needed to bring on a new employee isn’t easy. Nor something to underestimate because you still have all the government paperwork to take care of too.

The Importance Of Over Communicating As You Grow

When your company is a single person. There is no need to worry about communication as much because there is no one else to talk to. Maybe you have external clients to talk with by phone and email but that’s a different type of communication. It’s similar to doing the marketing for your company to the outside world.

When you’re two people or any number under 10. You’ve to almost make sure that you keep in mind what you say and how you say it to the team because these are the people who are going to communicate your brand and help grow your culture.

However, you’ve to remember how you act and the non-verbal signals that you send because those are almost as important, if not more important, then what you say. 90% of communication that is given is non-verbal. You don’t want what you say and do to be out of sync. You also don’t want to create a place that is do as I say and not as  I do. This creates an environment of resentment for your small team as there looks like there are two sets of rules in the working environment.

A leader, or one in training who wants to lead a company, should lead by example and show their team what is expected everyday of the week and when you’re not in the room because you’re hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in a balmy August summer.

As I get ready to on-board my second team member, I can’t help but keep on thinking about what I say, what I do and how I say things to each person. If there is one major lesson after living in the UK for two years…it is this: over communicating important tasks/ideas/vision is ok and encouraged. You want to do it until the other person tells you to stop. If the other person asks you to stop, ask them to explain back what you’ve been saying to make sure they truly understand. You can never say something important to much because usually saying it once or twice isn’t enough. If you’re not over communicating right now… you should change that.

What Are The Two Best Research Sources For SaaS Pricing?

A few months ago I wrote about pricing your agency services. A follow up piece to this and one that on the surface looks like something for startups and SaaS businesses. Actually applies to anyone starting their agency. You just have to dig below the surface to see it.

Since March I have been spending a lot of time looking at, thinking about and analyzing pricing pages of B2B and SaaS brands as I buy tools and technology for my agency; Take Some Risk. As I pitch and work with startups and established brands on both sides of the pond. Pricing and how they talk about their brands becomes a part of our servicing offering because no matter how well designed a product or service is, if it’s priced wrong we are not going to be able to sell it to our potential customers.

Beyond looking at direct competitors in your space and running polls against visitors of your website. It’s important to research what other B2B and SaaS businesses are doing in regard to their pricing

Questions To Ask Yourself

  • How they design the landing page
  • How they pricing their product
  • What yard stick they use to measure an upgrade
  • Do they offer a free plan
  • Do their offer a trial period before you pay
  • Do you need a credit card to sign up

The Two Best Research Sources For SaaS Pricing
Beyond doing a Google search or sending out a tweet to your network. I think you should use the following resources that have been my go to: Dribbble and Pinterest

While doing some other research I came across the pricing tag on Dribble that has heaps of beautifully designed landing pages and pricing pages for SaaS businesses. This came at a perfect moment as I just finished talking about a/b testing the pricing page with a client. I wanted to send their paid media traffic to a landing page that has a modified pricing page compared to the main pricing page that everyone else would see. Other awesome tags I looked at are: Purchase, Pricing Tables, Cost, Plans and Price to name a few. To a lesser extent you can also look at Subscription and Subscribe. Seems that 3 tier pricing is still the name of the game when you look at all those tags.

Beyond the Top SaaS Pricing Pages, there are other boards across Pinterest that can help you understand what others are doing in the space. It’s important to get out of our point of view and field of vision to truly see what is going on. Otherwise we risk getting into a rut and complacent in our jobs.

Designing That Pricing Page For SaaS
The team over at ChartMogul designs this cool pricing page diagram that gets at the heart of what a high converting pricing page could include. I say could and not should because there are always exceptions to every rule in business.

Combining the above graph with my post on how to build a high converting landing page, means you’re in the right place to build a pricing page that can help you startup grow faster and be profitable as you grow.

Designing any page on your site is going to be a mix of art and science. It’s important to mix tried and tested ideas with new inspiration as you search around on the Internet to see what others in the space are doing.

13 Tools To Help Market Your Startup In 2017

Startup Marketing Bullhorn

Working in the performance marketing space for 8 of the last 10 years has been amazing. I’ve been able to use many tools and services to do my job better (and faster). Maintaining quality should always been number 1.

I also believe in automation not repetition where possible. You should know how to do the task manually before automating anything (and why you’re doing it).

Below are some of the tools I use each week (some daily) to get my job done. A couple I’ve been using for 8 years now. They have stood the test of time.

Zapier – The software helps you connect two programs together that don’t have an official integration. e.g. importing a Twitter list into a Slack channel, so it’s searchable later by your team. I did this recently for a Twitter list I had based on research publications. Zapier’s recipe library.

IFTTT – It’s is a web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called “recipes”, which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Dropbox, Instagram, and Craigslist. Seer Interactive put together a great list of IFTTT recipes for marketers.

AdWords Scripts – Provide a way to programmatically control your AdWords data. You can use scripts to automate common procedures or interact with external data in one to many AdWords accounts. A couple cool scripts I’ve been using over the last year are URL Link Checkers and Keyword Performance. Brainlabs also has an AdWords script library that is a great resource if you work in the commerce space or have a ton of different inventory and SKUs type clients.

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