Why we decided to build a startup (Our story)

The back story

  My Agency (Sunken Stone) uses the EOS/Traction system for running day to day operations. (It’s an awesome method btw and I wish I would have discovered this sytem years ago) In EOS, the leadership team and other employees are assigned quarterly goals called ROCKs whereby we take on a big project that would move the company forward towards our goals

 For my quarterly ROCK, I was to conduct thorough research on b2b sales and lead generation. My findings would then be used in the development of Sunken Stone’s marketing plan. I was very excited to start because I felt that this would be an incredible learning experience for me. I decided to challenge myself and set a personal goal to speak to not less than 30 experts in the b2b marketing space. 

 Once I set off, I began to make some very interesting observations; and what I realized was that the smartest of the experts had unique outlooks at the B2B lead gen landscape.

Eureka moment

            It was during my lead generation time that I had a career-changing conversation with a close friend. It was a phone conversation with Stephen, who Is one of the better best media buyer I know. I asked him if he could assist with lead gen for my agency and he ran me through the folllowing scenario. If he did his “job” creating leads for Sunken Stone, he would naturally be constrained by my agency’s ability to close, onboard and service new clients. Thus why would he begin a campaign for something he knew there as a limit for him to be rewarded from. While I love my agency and think we are amazing, that conversation kept gnawing at me over the coming weeks. If only I had a solution to this problem that would allow for unlimited capacity to sell to customers but also assist my agency at the same time…

My grand idea

            For a while, I had this idea that simply wouldn’t go away,  My idea was to build a basic software platform that would help increase the number and frequency of referrals, would inititate  the and would also keep people updated on how their referral was going at the same time. In terms of how it would look like, I disn’t want anything complicated so I thought things out in the simplest form possible. I was still working out its details but that was the general plan.

Putting the idea into action

I had been working with Emmanuel our developer for quite some time and grown to enjoy working with him a great deal. Not only did I love his work and work ethic but I had immense respect for the guy. He is very talented and can create anything. I think the mindset and grit that comes from leaving your homeland due to turmoil (He’s originally from Venezuela) makes any other work situation seem tiny in comparison. I knew from the beginning that I wanted him in on this project. When I first asked him he actually turned me down for this project! To be honest, I think at first he turned me down because he was thinking about doing a bakery project with his girlfriend. It took me a while to convince him, I am not sure what eventually changed his mind but finally, I was able to get him on board. I think he saw how excited about the project I was and also showing him the basic model I built for revenue modeling didn’t hurt either!

From my experience and general observation, companies whose founders have alternating skills grow faster than those whose founders have the same skill set or are a solo founder. Emmanuel is very good at the technical stuff while I am very good at the marketing stuff, so we complement each other and I knew that we could go very far together.

I wanted him to have part-ownership in this brainchild that we were creating. I did not like the idea of hiring someone and telling them what to do. I think performance would alwayss be lacking, and especially for something like a SaaS, the technical aspect is always engrained and a key value to have internally. I preferred to go for someone who was as emotionally invested as I was and wouldn’t mind working nights and weekends because that’s what it takes for a startup.

Why Refer Hub?

When I first talked to Steve, ReferHub was just a sketchy idea. Needless to say, I had a ton of other ideas I thought were great. So why was refer hub the one that I chose to invest my time and resources into? And why do I keep pursuing it even during this Corona lockdown?

Emmanuel and I were aware that our idea was great, timely and would bring a turn of value to its users. Most of our potential competitors were either using CRM for actual leads or some kind of over-complicated enterprise partner management that was cumbersome and extremely expensive even to $1000 a month. This boosted our confidence because we were working on something simpler and very easy to understand.

We aimed at building something that would generate revenue slowly but consistenly thus be able to pay for our employees, our livelihood and the maintenance of our company. That meant financial security for our families which only made us more eager to succeed. 

My idea aligned with my Sunken Stone agency company ROCK goal of building a great marketing plan. Another thing that excited me was how I was going to be both a creator and user; so even if we did not get external users which is highly unlikely, it would still improve my work experience tremendously which in itself is a great win.

Conclusion

Starting a business, whether big or small is indeed a big step for anyone to take. Most people are afraid to take this step because often it requires taking some risks and leaving your comfort zone.

For me, this journey has been very rewarding, and I feel like it has given my life some purpose during this lockdown period. I spend most of my time watching YouTube videos and learning new stuff which has gotten me super fired up.

Thank you so much for being a part of this journey thus far and I hope that you will continue following this amazing journey.

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