Boston Startup Week: From Startup to Scaleup
By Lexi Williams
Startups are quickly becoming one of Boston’s best known sectors as individuals keep striving to demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit. With events like Mobile Mondays and MassChallenge stimulating aspiring business owners to shoot for the stars, it is no wonder that Boston has become home to a five day series of events known as Boston Startup Week.
From September 18th through the 22nd, Boston hosted events geared towards different topics from technology to marketing & growth. One keynote speaker was even hosted by Boston University in the Hariri building on September 19th. Brian Halligan, Cofounder and CEO of HubSpot, spoke about how to take startups to next level by flexing three major muscles groups.
To begin with, he recommended that startups should focus on 'stretching management muscles'. Hubspot has found that by valuing the overall company more than the team, they have been able to make better decisions and break through the plateau, so frequently experienced by firms that are trying to scale up.
Often, startups fall into the trap of saying yes to every little idea. However, someone needs to responsible for the business having focus, that is, the senior management.
In startup mode, "Yes" is a powerful tool that tests the creativity of your team. However, as you grow, the need for focus becomes more evident. Additionally, this focus is tested when employees focus on themselves or their team over the overall company and customers.
Next, Brian suggested that as startups grow, they should take steps to ensure that they are hiring the right people for the job by creating a culture code and mission around the voice of the customer. As I listened, I felt as though this was exactly what Hubspot is already all about. Brian compared drawing the right people into the company to a great company culture, where people want to come into work. He explained that Hubspot is an environment where people will want to eventually find themselves working.
Lastly, Brian emphasized the importance of the overall customer experience and that delighting your customers is more important than overall fit. To me, this was another layer of emphasis on the customer and their needs. Brian called this approach an “inbound experience.” This was the next evolution where the entire focus is being directed to the customer and creating a seamless and delightful customer experience.
The important takeaway from Brian Halligan’s keynote speech was to focus on the customer's’ needs by creating a great customer experience through hiring the right people and managing them well.