The key misconception of B2B SaaS growth

Growth happens proportionately

Set that $$$$ you are dropping on media spend on fire.

I know you want to start scaling. You have even seen top-line revenue growth. But the intentional injection of resources into the top of your marketing funnel is not moving opportunities through. 

As you pull apart and dissect each stage of the marketing funnel, none of the experiments apply seem to work. The blogs and YouTube videos that impart SaaS growth wisdom aren’t working. I know. You were hopefully they would.

You rationally might believe marketing is the problem. Not the right content, not the right ads, not the right website, and on and on. But to make one or more of these right will be too costly for you.

Breathe. I’ll explain what’s going on with this essay and what you can do to get out from under this.

You have fundamentally overestimated what your business can produce, how opportunities are moving through your funnel, and which of your customer segments are actually ready to scale. You may believe your whole business is working, but it is not. Read on.

I repeatedly hear from SaaS founders and CEOs who are moving into a scale motion that their overall numbers look good. And they are right (and you’re right). The overall number does look good, but the underlying way of doing business won’t give you scale. Time and time again they assume the business is working as they deploy a meaningful amount of capital toward customer acquisition only to find the harvest yields little fruit.

Growth does not happen proportionately.

New Logo Acquisition Framework

Scaling doesn’t happen proportionately so you need to dissect your business. We will use what I call the New Logo Acquisition Framework. Let’s look at a blank framework.

This framework is your business just zoomed in a little. The framework helps you see what overall customer base is made up of (Customer Segments) and what marketing efforts they come from (Demand Generation Sources). We’ve now set up your one business as nine different business units. You can now see the variance in the performance by lead sources/customer segments. Don’t worry, we won’t be doing any complicated math today.

It’s critical to understand which sources and segments are healthy and which are not to avoid the unintended consequences that can cause a business to fall apart. Imagine you continue to spend $$$$ quarter after quarter in any one of the boxes and it’s been deemed not working.

Now that I have given a basic understanding of the framework let’s get granular and apply it. First, a decision needs to be made on a customer segment approach (i.e. customer size, vertical, etc.). The question to ask yourself, or pose to your team is: what are some things about all of our successful customers that they have in common? You’re not looking for perfect, you’re just attempting to get a beta version of this framework. Examples of segments include employee count and revenue.

For demand generation sources no questions here, just lay them out as Inbound, Paid, and Outbound/BDR (as the framework suggests).

To determine whether the business in each box is successful look at your customer base by segment and source. Does your data suggest anything? If you have weak, or limited data ask your team. Get marketing, sales, support in a room and ask them where things are working and where they aren’t. Apply your newly gained knowledge to each box in the grid.

By saying “successful” you are documenting on the framework that customers within this segment/source combination are retaining and spending more with you. Mark these boxes green. For the segments where customers are not successful decide whether to run an experiment or ignore, for now. You may wish to experiment everywhere it’s not working. Only do this if you have the resources to experiment and can get the data back from the experiments fast enough.

Dissecting both axes reveals the two truths about your business:

  1. Not all customers come from the same marketing channel
  2. Not all customers are created equal

Feel free to grab the New Logo Acquisition framework in my Get Ready Assets bundle. I wrote an earlier essay on how to grow a B2B SaaS Business quickly. You can read about Get Ready Assets here.

If you wish to continue, let me walk you through how I work on this with clients.

Real application of framework

Above is an example of a New Logo Acquisition Framework applied to a SaaS business that I helped. The team took this knowledge and leveraged it to grow 15 consecutive months, achieve their first $1MM month in record time, and complete a successful fundraise.

The client segmented their business by the number of specific assets a customer has. While the client debated customer size, employee size, and number of assets they settled on assets. They selected “number of assets” because marketing, sales and customer support aligned their teams based on size/pricing and size depended on assets more so than employee count.

Let’s go through each of the boxes.

  • A quick observation was made that the client did not want more customers with less than 50 assets. The part-time CFO had identified revenue from this segment was not healthy. For now we will IGNORE this segment.
  • It was not clear on our first pass how to segment the remaining segments so we took our best guess and came up with 50-100, 100-1000, 1000+. These were generally agreed upon. Remember this is our first pass at this exercise. We’re looking for better, not perfect.
  • The team shared the 50-100 segment was a sweet spot because Inbound was working, clients were staying, and there was a large market in that segment. We will SCALE this segment.
  • Client decided to ignore the 100-1000 segment as they wanted to see if scale with Inbound would expand in this segment experiments in the 50-100 segment would solve it (maybe the 100-1000 segment wasn’t necessary)
  • Client decided to ignore PAID efforts for 1000+ segment as they didn’t have bandwidth.

This made it easy to determine which sources/segments to ignore. Of the remaining, only one box was really working and required Scale resources. We now knew where to invest heavily with capital and resources (allowing us to create very specific job descriptions) and where we wanted to experiment. We also set the customer segments as assumptions so each week the framework would be challenged as new learnings emerged.

The team felt really good about this. They would invest resources where they knew things were working so the numbers overall would still grow and they would experiment in the areas they deemed they should to get things turned around and working so they could scale.

Going through this exercise will teach you more about which customers are successful.. It will teach you how the three main sources of demand generation are feeding your business. It will also teach you where you might be placing too much stress on the business at the moment and create focus.

I hear time and time again the relief from Founders and CEOs after I have run them through this. They consistently claim their teams have better focus and understand what the business is attempting to do.

Most of them just don’t know to take one more step, dissect their business, and look at their business as 4-9 different business units. While the benefits for growth are clear the feedback from other executives and members of the team is glowing as alignment becomes tighter and clarity of focus increases.

If you know of a Founder or CEO who might get value from this please share.


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How do you grow a B2B SaaS business quickly?

I’ve run four SaaS businesses in the last decade and two things have happened at each of them: 1) I’ve reported to the Founder & CEO (always brought in by them and the board), and 2) I’ve grown the top line revenue quickly. I’ve built a reputation around this and since 2016, Founders and CEOs have regularly asked me one-question: “How do you grow a business quickly?”

If you’re running a business today, the advice you’re getting isn’t working. You’re learning on the job and learning from blogs and YouTube videos. Some of them might be very popular. Every Founder and CEO has a desire to grow their business, and the advice that some get is to choose revenue growth at all costs and then fix the rest of the problems later (okay, more than some – most). So they do this and it is both painful and it doesn’t deliver the desired result. Even though this is generally accepted advice it should not be followed. I’ve observed the best path for success is to focus on customer success early, clarify what drives success through a few key indicators of success that are measurable over time, and then layer the go-to-market strategy over it based on clear segmentation.

Did you know the rate of failure – as defined by a company’s inability to return funds back to investors – for Series A companies and Series C companies is the same. (Yes, you should read that again.) Does this make sense? It gets worse. The rate of failure for both groups is 75% This doesn’t make sense to me at first, but it told me that we as a community are really messing up the curve. 

I dug into this and created and tested a framework with 50+ SaaS companies in the last 3 years. I want to share it, I want you to have it, work with it, and improve it.

The G.R.O.W. Framework

When applied, the G.R.O.W. Framework I’ve created for SaaS companies consistently helps Founders & CEOs increase clarity for the team (and build alignment), increase confidence (e.g. obtain a win in at least one part of the customer funnel within 30 days), and ultimately healthy revenue acceleration that has allowed my clients to raise their next round or complete the sale of their business.

There are four pillars that support the G.R.O.W. framework:

  1. Get Ready Assets
  2. Real Indicators
  3. Operational Cadence
  4. Weave in the Go-to-market.

Get Ready Assets drive clarity

You are unique and your customer is unique. There are nuances among startup companies that often get lost. This harms startup companies: it’s a silent killer. When things work in your favor and your business grows you will begin solving problems for different customer segments, the underlying harm is compounded (this is part of the reason why the failure rate above is the same for both companies). While many companies create documents that contain the Ideal Customer Profile and the Buyer’s Journey, these same assets are often obsolete by the time I show up to help.

To make matters worse, most people in the company cannot find the assets easily.

Get Ready Assets are foundational documents that are living, editable, revisable, challenged, and, most importantly, easy to find/see and should be reviewed when having a discussion about sales, marketing, or product.

Let’s say a sales rep is reviewing their current Get Ready Assets prior to a sales call. During the call, she quickly learns that the decision maker with whom she is speaking is ready to buy, but is also considering an alternative solution. Two scenarios can play out here:

  1. Her assets clearly have the questions and discussion points she needs to move the conversations along, or
  2. Her assets are missing this vital information. Either way, she has feedback for the business and the asset is strengthened, or modified.

In the first outcome, the rep has a higher likelihood of winning the business and can confirm for the business that the playbook works. With the second outcome, her likelihood of winning decreased (she might have lost the deal) and can communicate this missing piece of much needed information to the business. Imagine if 10, 20 or 30 of your reps each experiences the second outcome and not only did they not say anything, but they never even had assets to point to what the issue was.

If these assets would be helpful to you, I’ve placed a Get Ready Assets TEMPLATE pack online and you can download them here.


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Real Indicators give you a crystal ball

SaaS companies in 2020 have a means to understand (and understand early) which customers are successfully buying, deploying, and winning with their purchases. But so many SaaS companies use churn as an indicator of success. 

Churn is a worthless indicator of anything because it is lagging. What will you do once you lose the customer? What will you change? How will this help you increase retention? Churn will not help you clearly understand what to change in your business to have customers stay and spend more.

Companies need Real Indicators to properly measure their success over time. You have to determine what indicator is best to measure your growth; examples of Real Indicators include: number of messages sent, number of meetings booked, used at least 5 features in 30 days.

Many companies sign annual or multi-year agreements and think they’ve made it. It can seem like they are successful because of the awesomeness of their new business/revenue trajectory. But, when it comes time to renew the contract, these same companies that were celebrating their success are seeing 40%, 50%, even 60% churn. Can you imagine coming up on a year where you will ask a majority of your clients to renew and you’re flying blind as to whether they are successful since having purchased your solution? There were no Real Indicators.

Then the finger-pointing starts. Sometimes blame is placed on the Customer Success team because they “didn’t do any work during the time of contract” while sometimes the product vision that was sold couldn’t actually be delivered. 

The best way to get ahead of this is to set up Real Indicators that will tell you whether the customer will be successful. Don’t make this too difficult. Do you have a customer success call with the client? Do you hold multiple? Track whether the client shows up. Is product tracking usage behavior? Find all the metrics/criteria you can and see which ones make sense to really track. Maybe the Founder, Head of Product, or customer support person has input. These answers do exist and can be tracked.

You want to be proactive, measuring, and sharing your learnings weekly or monthly. You may learn Product needs new/different features, Sales needs to change a part of their playbook, Marketing needs to adjust language, Product has related jobs that are not being addressed by the current version of the product.

Operational Cadence give you executional superpowers

Operational Cadence may by far be the most critical pillar of the entire framework. The entire success of the business is predicated on the right behavior. As with any VC-backed SaaS company, the team can be learning so much. I’ve observed that the most successful Founders and the most successful teams learn fast. If you want to reverse engineer the cadence then you, too, need to learn fast. 

Setting up an experimentation cadence based on the scientific method is perfect for this. Each week bring together key leaders across marketing, sales, product, engineering, and people, and look at what you want to improve. Draft experiments, look at which ones will have the most impact, which ones will be the most expensive, which ones will be the toughest to do. Rank them. 

Experiments naturally have hypotheses. Review your hypotheses weekly. If there was one part of this framework I would do, without question, it is this one. Every CEO that I observed succeeding is also learning continuously. This pillar pretty much guarantees it.

I recommend implementing a cross functional growth team. I have seen successful teams create a culture of brainstorming, hypothesis creation, and most importantly failure acceptance. Organizing the team of people that includes product, marketing, design, engineering, analytics, and sales will allow you to leverage work across all functions. More importantly though, you will be able to take one problem, examine it through multiple lenses, focus on a number of experiments each week from these different lenses and achieve learning and outcomes faster.

Here’s some tactical advice. Each week, each person reports out in a brief document and in the meeting answers to questions like:

  1. What experiments did I run last week?
  2. What happened?
  3. What did I learn? What success did I have this week?
  4. What will I do next week?

Operational Cadence is critical because it speaks to the daily and weekly behaviors your team exhibits. You started this business and are running this business because you wanted to create disruption in the market and solve a need for a specific customer in a better way. You may find the need to pivot in small or big ways along the journey. Better to be armed with the ability to face failure with a smile and have a record of what you’ve tried, what’s worked, and what’s not worked. Build your own Operational Cadence.

Weave in the Go-to-market to accelerate revenue

With the pillars for success and customer value creation in place, you can now weave in sales and marketing, and align the go to market with your Real Indicators. 

Like baking a cake, it’s beautiful to watch the dough rise.

While the Operational Cadence is clearly actionably and applicable, the Weave in the Go-to-market pillar is a bit unique. Each company will have a unique flavor to their go-to-market motion. Some will heavily lean toward enterprise sales which will dictate a specific sales methodology, some will heavily rely on marketing and possibly a deeper focus on paid acquisition channels, others will find that a product-led growth strategy is better. Regardless of the specifics, the objective is the same: weave in the go-to-market (sales and marketing) to support helping the customer achieve success.

If you know what outcomes you want the client to achieve in the first 30, 60, 90 days then you want to make sure that sales supports you achieve those metrics. If you want sales to have success bringing in new business/revenue then you want to think about how marketing can leverage the success your clients have had to navigate them on the path.

Weaving in the go-to-market is a mix of art and science. I have observed a lot of failure at this stage, but if you are thoughtful about what marketing is promising, the discovery call guide for sales, the presentation guide for sales, and the role the Get Ready Assets play, you can make it far more effective than it would have been otherwise.

What’s next?

My intention with this essay was to give you a perspective on how to grow a business quickly. If you align with my thinking, drop me a note on Twitter. Let’s connect and discuss how we can improve this.

If this paradigm is new to you, or challenges your thinking I hope it gave you at least one tactical item you can deploy in the next week.

If you want to learn more or are stuck, feel free to schedule some time and I assure you 30 minutes with me will be worth more than all the time you’ll spend not taking action or browsing the web for more content.

I am wishing more success for you because I know the courage it takes to start something and stay focused on it.

If you found this post helpful, feel free to share it with a Founder or CEO who might find this useful.

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This black box saves me a ton of time

Image 1. The Alfred Command Box. Similar to macOS Spotlight, but faster, customizable, and powerful.

I’ve downloaded Alfred. For around USD $30 I’ve freed up so much time. I like the power at my finger tips. I like the freedom to operate from a central place. I like that I can pull up the command box (⌘+space) and I can be on my way to completing one of many tasks. All those repetitive tasks take less time.

I will suggest this to anyone who uses a Mac (while I’m sure a similar product exists for PC users). With over half a billion computer users worldwide that’s a lot of people who would love to have their unique ways of using their computer. Alfred does so much, but I’ll limit it to a few items that might you find intriguing.

I started by replacing my shortcut keys that I used for Spotlight and it now launched the Alfred Command Box. The Feature set for Alfred is pretty large, so here are some simple, basic things I’ve been doing in the my first real week of using Alfred. 

With Alfred, I do a number of things (that I do repetitively) faster. Here are a handful I’ll walk you through:

  • Open File
  • Launch a Program
  • Open a Recent File
  • Search Folders/Files
  • Search Google
  • Search Bookmarks/Reading List
  • Snippets
  • Clipboard
  • Calculator
  • Launch website for financial institution and enter username/password

Step 1. Starting small

Prior to Alfred, I would keep my Dock loaded with apps, even some. These days, my desktop looks like this. Let’s start with some basic items. Image 2 is about what you can do with a file. I can find a file and simply open it. Once I find the file I can hit the right arrow and do number of other tasks (move, delete, find similar files, open in Evernote, etc.)

Image 2. Launch Alfred and then press the space bar. I’m now ready to search for any file on my Mac.

I search for files frequently. So now I have the ability to search for a file name, or search for words embedded within a file. I can also find files based on tags.

Image 3 allows me to type any letter, this case ‘g’ and do a number of things. I have ‘g’ set to search in Google, but if I continued typing and wrote ‘gmail’ it would let me search my gmail inbox. As you can see I can also hit ⌘1, ⌘2, ⌘3 and open up other apps, contacts, etc.

Image 3. Launch Alfred and then press any letter and now I can pass a query to Google, for example, or open Gmail, or launch a program, like Chrome.

Launching a program is easy as well. In this case, typing Word and then hitting the right arrow brought up Image 4.

Image 4. Launch Alfred and then type Word and press the right arrow and I have a number of things I can do.

I can do a more broad search and type ‘~’ and it pops up a Finder like environment and I can use shortcuts to browse through folders. At any point I can start typing to narrow down the files to the one I’m looking for. See the visual in Image 5.

Image 5. Launch Alfred and then type ~ and start browsing through folders.

So you’re starting to get the picture. I can find things in my Safari Reading List or my Chrome Bookmarks (Image 6), anything I copy gets pasted to a Clipboard and I can search that clipboard and paste what I need (Image 7). I can save a number of snippets (Image 9) and have them ready to use at the click of a few buttons. Image 8 shows something similar to Image 3 where I type linkedin and I can pass a search query to the LinkedIn search box. I use the computation feature a lot as it can save the answer to my clipboard for use where I need it (Image 10).

Image 6. Launch Alfred and type Reading List to find Safari items in Reading List.
Image 7. Launch Alfred and then type ~ and start browsing through folders.
Image 8. Launch Alfred and then type linkedin and I can pass a query to the linkedin search box.
Image 9. Command + Shift + V and I can paste pre-written snippets.
Image 10. Launch Alfred and compute. I hit enter and it’s saved to the clipboard to use where I need it..

This was a fun way for me to document how I am using powerful, automation tools as part of my workflow. I hope if you read this you got some value out of it.

Link to Alfred App

Focusing on the #codeless space


Image Credit: Pablo Stanley

I have spent most of my time since 2004 operating businesses. While my background by education is engineering and my experience for two decades has been growing businesses, I do not have a knack for software design and product development. I’ve tried to learn how to make websites, tried to learn how to program, but it never really stuck! For me, it just needs to be easier.

So it came as a surprise to me when in December 2019 – just a few shorts months ago – I decided I would allocate some of my time into the role of an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to spend a lot of this year investing in the #codeless (aka #nocode or #lowcode) software development world with the purpose of building a SaaS business.

As I reflected on my life over the last few years a trend had emerged. I was noticing that while my clients were accelerating their revenue lines they were doing so faster than I anticipated. I am well aware that I’m best at what I do, but the results were exceeding my expectations. I also noticed that many of my clients were using tools that I had never had direct experience with.

It’s a new reality. Since January of 2020 I’ve connected with some of my friends in the #codeless space – investors, operators, founders, and creators. I’ve gone in and looked in to the space and tools. I’ve joined a small community of makers based out of Atlanta.

Over the last 12-18 months there has been a growing community – I’ve heard estimates of anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 people – across the globe creating and validating software ideas faster than ever. Not too many examples of any of them generating profitability yet, but there is plenty of opportunity to leverage the tools for existing businesses and it will come for those creating the tools.

In the last 75 days I’ve made a few interesting observations and built a handful of applications and workflows:

  • Building software and playing with tools doesn’t feel as daunting as it used to
  • Playing with ideas increases my knowledge of databases
  • Designing and laying out workflows is utilizing a different part of my brain, building new muscles

The overall journey feels comfortable given three years ago I made the switch from business executive to independent consultant. Moving in to this new world feels like a natural extension. I’m exited to share what I learn.

Hitch

For the last decade I have been partnering with visionary leaders who have a desire to accelerate their business and push their personal growth to new heights. As an independent consultant for the last two years about 30% of my work is with early stage companies who are taking their understanding of the market and trends and are either solving a meaningful problem or fulfilling a new or growing desire. These leaders are particularly compelling to me when they are fully committed to themselves, have a large appetite to learn and have a large vision for themselves and the customer they serve.

There are three categories of businesses you can create today: service, physical goods, or information products. Many of these leaders tend to focus on service and information. However, when I met with Sky Gilbar and David Silverander, co-founders of Hitch, I was excited to speak with a team tapping into their superpowers and the physical goods category in the food and beverage carry space!

Sky and David’s company has a profound mission to make life easier for everyone who carries food and drink on the go. Hitch is a sustainable brand offering cleverly designed reusable storage to carry food and drink on the go. Their first product is the Hitch Courier, the world’s first water bottle that has a reusable, leak-proof coffee cup hidden inside.

The market for food and drink carry is large and growing. Transparency Market Research estimates that the reusable water bottle market is expected to rise from a $7B valuation to a $10B valuation by 2024. The everyday segment is expected to be the most lucrative segment of the space. When you go beyond water bottles, the data is scattered. It’s likely that the total resuables market will be around $22B by 2022. 

But how we carry reusables is at odds with the current trends and day to day reality. A dense McKinsey report unpacked by Fast Company presents a $900B packaging industry that is growing and growing. The actual logistics of carrying raises the question: How? The reality is there is only so much space when you’re carrying a water bottle and then asked to carry a coffee cup.

There’s a growing trend of people asking if there’s a better way to carry their food and drink. A recent internal Hitch survey found that 80% of people who carry a reusable water bottle won’t carry a reusable cup because it’s too hard to carry. So when you ask someone to carry a water bottle they may carry it, but when you ask them to carry that + another reusable you run into a carry problem, a human problem: too many reusables.

For coffee and water consumers the best experience would be to have a carry product that would allow for both. For people who already carry water bottles, the bottle could carry the reusable coffee cup for you. Think of a premium full-size water bottle with a removable barista-approved coffee cup hidden inside. The water bottle and cup are both double walled, stainless steel, and the cup is coffee shop ready, meaning it’s full-sized and includes a leak-proof lid.

For companies, Hitch presents a new business opportunity. There are many companies looking to freshen up their brand image with digital transformation, sustainability and diversity/equality initiatives often leading the way. Others have connected closely with the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of Consumption platform. With Hitch they can:

  • provide means to cut costs for themselves while showing benefits for their employees and their communities.
  • meet their employees through personalized customization.
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Improve the carry experience for their employees through superior design

Hitch is about to drive a movement where millions of people will think consciously about what happens when they use an object, like a paper cup, for just 10 minutes before it goes off to a landfill. There is a growing awareness that paper cups cannot be recycled with cities and coffee shops introducing surcharges or banning them from their coffee shops voluntarily. 

Sky and David have the right background to tackle this market. Sky had led product design and storytelling for multiple startup companies, he co-founded Snapwire, a platform connecting mobile photographers and brands. He’s brought his talents as a consultant to brands like Google and Coca-Cola on brand, sustainability, product, and experience design. David’s wheelhouse is sales, operations and finance having most recently been the COO of an athletic apparel manufacturer. Both share an appreciation for the value of a deeply considered brand with a meaningful vision. 

Sky and David have assembled an impressive team that has the ideal skill set to help them bring an excellent and innovative product to market. With the support of an experienced mechanical engineer and an award-winning product designer, they undertook a deliberate and purposeful design process that has resulted in a truly impressive marriage of aesthetics and functionality. 

Sky and I were introduced in early 2019, got to know one another and spent most of our initial conversations on how to leverage what an individual is best at. When Sky reached back out in the summer I was excited to learn that he had partnered with David and they had launched a project with a large vision leveraging their individual strengths. A tough call to make for many entrepreneurs is burning the boats and taking the island. They both made that call.

Today I am happy to announce that Hitch and Vik Duggal are partnering. I’m excited to join the team as an advisor and help launch the first product.

Let’s do this together!

How an executive assistant grew her practice by following a clear playbook

The Vik Duggal Workshop aka The Workshop is an offering that is part of DuggalConsulting. Two years ago I started helping friends who wanted to live the consulting lifestyle I had created. I do this through a 2-day offsite specifically dedicated to refining the offer to be sellable immediately after leaving. Some friends take advantage of the ongoing support I provide for six months afterward.

This is my way of taking what I’ve learned creating DuggalConsulting – a business that serves companies ranging from VC-backed technology startups to large companies doing $12B in annual revenue – and by serving my clients to help friends unlock their full potential.

In this case study, I interviewed Ferren Warner from ACE – an executive assistant service that is building a larger business after The Workshop.

Ferren Warner, Founder/CEO, Ace

1. What made you sign up for the workshop?

I knew that my business had a cash flow problem. Honestly, I started the company with my first client being my mom. Yes she was my mom, but as the Chief Medical Officer of the largest public health plan in Southern California transitioning into a consultant traveling 80% of the time.

I thought she was the perfect person for phase one. I think I took for granted that I didn’t have to raise money or bootstrap. I just started doing what I knew best and trusted the rest would go from there.

I quickly realized 15 clients and 10 team members later that I was really in business. Year 1 “proof of concept” was done. And I was headed into Year 2 attempting to up-level everything (team, service, client coverage). I quickly realized to do it well meant a shift in the entire business model…but I didn’t know how to get there.

I was also intrigued. I knew what Vik had done for himself and I saw first hand the success of his hard work (full disclosure he’s a client). I envied the model he was living and breathing. I wanted to learn how to manifest that for myself and my family.

2. What was the most impactful part of the program?

There were so many wonderful parts of the workshop!

(1) I loved the opening and how we were asked to explore answers to a series of prompted questions. My favorite “why are you here?” and “who are you doing this for”. I revisit those questions every, single day. It motivates me beyond words.

(2) crafting our target audience. I can’t believe I had never done this before. I think I was stuck in this “thank god anyone wants this service” mode that I didn’t take time to think through whether I thought they were the ideal client or not. I now have it firmly in my mind who the ideal client is.

(3) Crafting my sales proposition. This was a light bulb shattering moment. When I was finally able to have the words to describe what ACE is meant to be. Not just an on-demand VA service. It’s so much more than that. The value of the service, the ambitious but attainable goal…my mission felt very clear and I am now able to easily identify where my growth opportunities are.

3. What kind of results did you get from the program?

In 30 days I was able to:

– identify my current client base and identify who my ideal clients are, 

– I was able to speak comfortably about the future of the company with existing and new clients, 

– I was able to convert existing clients to the new model, 

– I onboarded new clients, 

– I have made improvements to internal operations with the team and how we function, 

– I brought in $72,000 in the first 45 days and am set up to bring in another $600,000 in the next year.

4. Anything surprise you about the program?

-I was surprised by how emotional I got. What I experienced in that workshop really changed my life. We were talking about everything in the construct of what to do with my business, but the potential it unlocked changed the way I think about my life (and that of my husband and kids). I’m so grateful. Yes, I actually cried at times (outside of the meeting of course).

5. What did you think of the facilitator?

He’s alright 🙂 KIDDING. Vik is incredible! He’s the reason I even came. It was not an insignificant amount of money for me to come, but I didn’t think twice about it. I jumped two feet in because again I’ve seen the outcome of what he’s done for himself and others. I’ve seen his magic. It’s pretty infectious.

6. Who do you think this program is for? 

This program is applicable for almost anyone at any stage of their business journey. I believe it’s for those who are just starting and looking for positioning and value prop support, I believe it’s for those whose businesses grew so quick and organically that they haven’t had time to pause and roadmap (that was me!), I think its for those who are struggling to figure out how to pivot / save their company when they’ve think all options are exhausted… but mostly I think it’s for those who know that life can be exactly what they dream it to be, but need a bit of support putting that into fruition. I feel like I’ve been fortunate to be put in the right place, with the right “support”, at the right time. I’m ready to help others live the richest, most enjoyable, stress-free life they can live. Ace is ready to take off. Let’s do this! 

How a UX leader thoughtfully grew his consulting practice

How a UX leader thoughtfully grew his consulting practice 

It has always been a goal of mine to share my learnings and expertise and the stories of companies and entrepreneurs I have helped – from seasoned veterans to those just starting up. It’s part of the reason I created The Vik Duggal Workshop two years ago as I built my own consulting practice. I have received incredible results; I want to share them. In this event, I take attendees through an incredible experience over two days to analyze what they do better than most and MAXIMIZE all aspects of their consulting practice. When done, they have all all the tools to increase their income and deliver amazing value. 

Today’s interview is with Prakash Chandran. Prakash is the former head of UX for Google Enterprise. He attended The Workshop and used what he learned to increase the value he delivers to his clients. He answers six questions for you today:

1. What made you sign up for the workshop?

After getting to know you, It was clear that you had more experience than me and were at a level in your consulting practice that I aspired to. After you sent me the initial workshop offer, the email spoke to the problems I was having, but sounded a little bit like so many things i’ve heard pitched to me before. The difference for me was the fact that you were willing to be fully transparent about the practice you had built and that you took the time to address my concerns when we met for coffee. You gave me a little hint of what was to come by telling me my revenue model might be wrong. I like that I got some value before even taking the workshop.  

I’d say I was also at a time where I was looking for a breakthrough. My wife had me read a chapter in the book YOU are a Bad Ass and it was around the limiting beliefs we put on ourselves. It just so happened that I met you shortly after that happened.

2. What was the most impactful part of the program?

* Hearing about your values (aligned with mine). We spoke about this briefly yesterday. “Figure out what you do REALLY well, figure out how to sell it so you have more free time to do things you love”

* Putting structure around how I talk about what I do

* Putting together an offer email. Empathizing with the customer first, saying I can help and then being very clear and structured about how I will help them. Finally ending with what the investment is 

* Being asked to reach out to people in my network immediately

* Seeing other people go through the exercise with you of figuring out how to talk about what they do

3. What kind of results did you get from the program?

Before the program even began, I signed my first retainer customer. In total my monthly revenue has gone from $15k (the most I had ever done in a month) to $60k per month (consistently) and should hopefully grow if I can figure out how to systematize even more.

4. Anything surprise you about the program?

I don’t think anything surprised me per se. I didn’t really know what to expect, but taking the time to be with like minded people and having a mentor to really provide structure to our thinking was just what I needed.

5. What did you think of the facilitator?

I love that you love when people unlock things for themselves. You’ve clearly spent a lot of time thinking through what’s important and how to get the life you want, and you can articulate it in a way that inspires people to get moving and create better circumstances for themselves. It’s a true gift!

6. Who do you think this program is for?

I think this program is best suited for consultants/contracts who have already taken the leap to get out of the W2 world but aren’t making the kind of money they want to be making. Secondly, someone who is STUCK at a W2 job who has spent a career crafting their abilities and thinks they are capable of more but doesn’t know where to start

Anything I missed asking about?

I think there’s a certain mindset that people need to be in to get the MOST value out of the program. They have to be ready to change and to make an investment in themselves. I think it’s hard to really figure out who sits in that bucket, but I think the price (cost of investing in themselves) is a good start.

If you think of any more questions don’t hesitate to ask!