The B2B Business Builder’s List of Unmissable Growth Advice

I write a lot. For the most part it’s the frustrated writer in me attempting to get out. Whilst video and other formats are undoubtedly more viral and possibly more impactful I still enjoy the process of putting ‘pen to paper’ and committing the learnings I pick up each and every day from multiple interactions with super-smart B2B founders.

For me it’s a lifelong tool (first picked up in school) for remembering key information and one of the most effective ways I’ve found of making that ‘stick’ is to write a list. And so I wrote a few (too many) pieces that many may see as ‘list features’. But that’s not how they’re designed.

Lists are a way for me to capture useful advice.

And so as an ode to that process I thought what better than to begin a process of bringing those lists together into quarterly summaries of the things we have learned from my work investing in almost 100 B2B start ups with Haatch and working with a number of the fastest growing agency businesses in the UK, Europe and the US.

The picking ‘good from great business traits’ list

🧘🏻‍♂️ 1. You can’t do a good deal with a bad person. Founders REALLY matter and we like there to be more than one with complimentary skill sets to balance each other out.

🤑 2. The formula for picking winners is growth potential + moat + cash flow.

📣 3. Healthy conflict keeps businesses alive. Silence kills them. This is something we look for within founding teams. Opinions!

💰 4. Fundraising = relationships + plan + experience + hustle. You need ALL 4 to raise more than once.

🤐 5. Surround yourself with others who aren’t afraid to argue with you. See point three.

👴🏾 6. Study other peoples’ mistakes to avoid making your own. Lived experienced is the most powerful business tool in the world. Listen to it and seek it out!

⚖️ 7. You don’t need to ink out every bit of profit on a deal. Good balance = where both sides feel like they got a raw deal.

🎓 8. Join masterminds to learn from others. See point six!

🤔 9. If you can’t explain the business in clear language, don’t buy or invest. The ‘elevator pitch to your nan’ may be a cliche but its a key measure. If you can’t do that or explain the deep pain you solve then how can others buy it?

🧐 10. Invest in, or buy, businesses that you could hold forever. Rarely are you in control of the timeline – and with startups it takes a decade or more to really build defensibility, brand and network effect.

👫 11. Treat your relationships like you’ll have them forever. See point ten!

📣 12. Customer (and staff) feedback are two of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal when you are running a due diligence process.

🧘🏻‍♂️ 13. Have the patience to let compounding work over many years. See point ten!

The ‘moving from founder-led sales’ list

🤓 1. Focus on nailing your value proposition and how to play on the right pain points through a carefully constructed ICP interview process.

📐 2. Once this is truly understood document it across EVERYTHING and build sales scripts, call sheets, FAQs and all rev ops SOPs from it. And design an org structure that can deliver it and correctly resources your wider rev ops approach.

📗 3. Document the end to end sales process METICULOUSLY so it can be followed by anyone. Include decision making trees, potential responses for each barrier to closing etc.

⚖️ 4. Build proper finance reporting around it so you can define then accurately measure performance against a plan that everyone can follow – right down to individual performance level.

👫 5. Create a coaching a feedback loop via 121 and group sessions and monitoring.

💰 6. Create incentives that move the whole team together as one.

📖 7. Carefully plan your sales and marketing plan as one seamless document based on your Go to Market.

👂🏻 8. Create a feedback loop too for pricing and ensure you monitor conversion etc to help inform it.

🙋🏽‍♀️ 9. Tie in client success and/or account management to ensure that there is oversight and visibility as well as targets and plans to upsell and cross sell so that ASV and LTVs grow over time.

🚨 10. And finally, hire SLOW and fire FAST. Sales is incredibly measurable so if it’s not working make the call. Only A players should make the team.

The ’13 key principles of business’ list

1. Pareto Principle: The 80/20 Rule

Definition: The Pareto Principle, commonly known as the 80/20 Rule, posits that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. This principle originates from the observation that a small percentage of inputs often lead to a majority of outcomes.

Importance: In business, recognizing that a significant portion of results stems from a select few inputs enables focused efforts. By identifying and prioritizing the critical factors contributing to success or issues, businesses can optimize resource allocation, time management, and overall efficiency.

2. Price’s Law: The Imbalance in Productivity

Definition: Price’s Law suggests that a small fraction of contributors accounts for the majority of productivity in a given domain. It states that square root of the total number of people in a domain will contribute half of the total output.

Importance: This principle underscores the significance of identifying high-performing individuals or components within a business. By concentrating efforts on these key contributors, businesses can enhance productivity, innovation, and overall performance.

3. Reactance: The Resistance to Influence

Definition: Reactance is the psychological phenomenon where individuals experience a motivational state to protect or restore their perceived freedom when it is threatened or eliminated.

Importance: Understanding reactance is crucial for marketers and business leaders. When crafting strategies, it’s vital to respect individual autonomy and avoid creating a sense of coercion. This principle helps in designing communication and marketing campaigns that resonate positively with target audiences.

4. Matthew Principle: The Accumulative Advantage

Definition: The Matthew Principle, derived from a biblical passage, suggests that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In business, it means that those who are successful are likely to receive additional opportunities, leading to further success.

Importance: Recognizing the Matthew Principle emphasizes the importance of early success and momentum. Businesses can leverage initial achievements to build a competitive edge, attract more opportunities, and solidify their position in the market.

5. The 1-9-90 Rule: The Law of Participation Inequality

Definition: The 1-9-90 Rule postulates that in online communities, 1% of users create content, 9% engage, and 90% observe without actively participating.

Importance: For businesses engaging in online platforms, understanding this rule is essential for community management and content strategy. Tailoring efforts to cater to each user category optimizes engagement and fosters a vibrant online community.

6. Pyramid Principle: Structuring Effective Communication

Definition: The Pyramid Principle suggests that ideas should be presented in a hierarchical structure, with the most important information at the top, followed by supporting details.

Importance: In business communication, the Pyramid Principle enhances clarity and ensures that key messages are immediately apparent. This aids decision-makers in quickly grasping essential information and facilitates more effective communication within teams.

7. The Power Law: Unequal Distribution of Outcomes

Definition: The Power Law asserts that a small number of events or factors disproportionately contribute to outcomes, resulting in a skewed distribution where a few instances have a massive impact.

Importance: Acknowledging the Power Law helps businesses anticipate and respond to potentially significant events or factors. Strategizing based on this principle allows for more robust risk management and better preparation for outlier scenarios.

8. The Law of Diminishing Returns: Optimal Resource Allocation

Definition: The Law of Diminishing Returns posits that, beyond a certain point, each additional input yields progressively smaller increases in output. This occurs when one factor of production is increased while others remain constant.

Importance: For businesses, understanding the Law of Diminishing Returns is crucial for optimizing resource allocation. It guides decision-making on investment, production, and staffing, preventing inefficiencies and promoting sustainable growth.

9. The Rule of 70: Understanding Growth Rates

Definition: The Rule of 70 is a formula used to estimate the number of years for a variable to double, given a constant annual rate of growth. It is often applied to measure the impact of compound interest or the growth of populations and economies.

Importance: This rule aids businesses in forecasting and planning for future growth. Whether considering financial investments or market expansion, understanding how quickly a variable can double is essential for strategic decision-making.

10. The Pooling Principle: Shared Resources and Synergies

Definition: The Pooling Principle involves combining resources or risks to achieve a collective benefit. It emphasizes the advantages of collaboration and shared efforts.

Importance: In business, applying the Pooling Principle fosters partnerships, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. By pooling resources, organizations can achieve economies of scale, share risks, and capitalize on each other’s strengths, leading to mutual success.

11. The Rule of 3: Strategic Simplicity

Definition: The Rule of 3 suggests that in a competitive market, there tend to be three dominant players. This principle emphasizes simplicity in strategic planning.

Importance: For businesses, the Rule of 3 underscores the importance of clarity and focus. Aligning strategies with this principle helps in streamlining efforts, optimizing resources, and enhancing competitiveness within the market.

12. Sturgeon’s Law: The Reality of Quality

Definition: Sturgeon’s Law states that 90% of everything is mediocre or of low quality. It is a reminder that excellence is rare and should be actively sought.

Importance: In business, understanding Sturgeon’s Law encourages a commitment to quality. Focusing on delivering high-quality products or services differentiates businesses in the market, builds customer trust, and establishes a reputation for excellence.

13. Occam’s Razor: The Principle of Simplicity

Definition: Occam’s Razor suggests that, when faced with competing explanations, the simplest one is usually the correct one. It encourages simplicity in problem-solving and decision-making.

Importance: In business, Occam’s Razor guides leaders to seek straightforward solutions. This principle streamlines decision-making processes, reduces unnecessary complexity, and promotes efficient problem-solving.

14. The Law of the Excluded Middle: Binary Decision-Making

Definition: The Law of the Excluded Middle asserts that a statement is either true or false, with no middle ground or third option. It is a fundamental principle in classical logic.

Importance: In business decision-making, understanding the Law of the Excluded Middle promotes clarity and precision. It encourages leaders to make decisive choices, avoiding ambiguity and fostering accountability.

The ‘how to test an interviewees ability to prioritise and plan’ list

🎓 1. Take a sheet of paper and ask them to write down 10 goals they want to achieve in the next 12 months/3 years etc. Get them to write them down in the present tense as if they have achieved them already (helps with visualisation and manifestation etc).

🤔 2. Get them to decide which of the 10 they would choose if they could make one come true in the next 24 hours. This helps you understand their ability to make decisive decisions and also what they hold dearest.

📈 3. Get them to take that one goal and transfer it to a new piece of paper and then ask them to follow the 7 steps to successfully deliver on that vision:

– Write down every step you need to take to reach the goal.
– Organise that list into a timeline of actions
– Set deadlines for each action.
– Organise into a checklist
– Take action and do something about it every day

🧐 Watch them do it and you’ll learn a lot about that person quickly. If they struggle then chances are they won’t be able to execute on their lofty ambitions or claims!