We’ve been speaking with founders of successful startups about how they introduced their products to the market in order to inspire people who want to start their own businesses.
He has a BS in Math and Actuarial Science, an MBA from Chicago Booth, and about two decades of experience building, growing, and exciting companies from the earliest stage startups to the Fortune 100.
His specific expertise lies in building zero-to-one products, growing the North Star materials from 15% to 90% per month, and performing due diligence and value creation services on behalf of private equity for M&A transactions.
His boutique company, Everett Advisors, helps inventive, high-integrity founders and boards build, grow, and exit companies. For the past two decades, they’ve been advising and leading fast-growing startups through difficult turnaround situations and into the Fortune 500.
Read the full interview to find out all about his achievements, key turning points, and strategies he used to climb the ladder of success.
What is the backstory of Everett Advisors? How did you come up with the idea?
I wanted to build a company with strong core values that combined the financial discipline of venture capital and private equity with the operational excellence of high-growth companies. That kind of professional services firm didn’t seem to exist, especially one with people who were highly skilled in both fields and knew how to connect them. Said differently, we believe that a company’s growth rate is equal to an investor’s return.
How did you validate your idea?
I had already been operating in the space for decades and knew the problems that existed. So I just got to work and started helping founders build and grow their companies, booking revenue, and then began working more closely with investors at the point of acquisition and fundraising from LPs.
“Trust in the process” is one of the growth principles you follow. Why do you believe it is important?
It’s because every operating environment is different, every company and product is different, and every team is different. So by definition, there are too many variables to consider and optimize. However, because we’ve validated a proven Build & Grow process linked together on the flywheel of never-ending hypothesis testing, it works across industries and company stages.
What marketing strategies have been successful for your company so far?
We’ve found that podcasting is a great distribution channel for countries and users around the world. LinkedIn is great as well. We’re in the B2B space, so it’s harder to create compelling and differentiated content that business people want to consume because they’re usually busy running companies.
On the consumer side, obviously, social networks get a lot of attention, but we don’t lose sight of more classic techniques like direct mail or more creative techniques such as digital and physical experiential activations.
How did you get your initial users?
Most of our business has been organic and came to us through searches on LinkedIn or word of mouth, but we’ve also spent many years setting up distribution channels through partnerships with marketplaces and other professional services firms.
What acquisition channels worked for you to reach new users?
Our own website has been a great unified source of intellectual property awareness. SEO, other marketplaces, word of mouth, and LinkedIn have also driven revenue.
What do you consider your biggest win so far with your company?
Our biggest win so far has been the positive feedback we have received from our users and the success of our early marketing efforts. We have also accomplished an incredible amount of tech development without any pre-seed investment. Everything is bootstrapped. Imagine what we could do with even a small investment.
One of the key benefits you provide is 15%–90% growth for your clients. Can you elaborate on this and share a success story about how you helped a business achieve 90% growth?
The case study below explains how one person can grow 3x per month, from 0 to 14,000 subscribers, with no advertising, sales, or marketing budget.
What is your advice to founders who are just starting?
We see many founders make the same mistake: building software or a product before validating the market. It’s better to start with a fast-growing email list or user base and then back into the product that naturally develops from interacting with those people and automating processes.
In addition, it’s much easier to fundraise when your North Star metric is growing at 50% per month than having a pre-built product with no users.
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