As an entrepreneur, I’m well aware of the parallels between raising a business and raising a child. The nurture and support a child needs to develop is similar to what you need when starting a business. Any entrepreneur knows that in order to succeed, he or she needs to be supported by the right people, whether by mentors, partners or employees.
I have three children. But I’ve also had two more babies: InvoiceIT, which I co-founded back in 2011 and was subsequently acquired by Steelbrick and then Salesforce, and SalesTrip, which launched early 2019.
But, I’m sure you know as well as I do, the birth and development of a child is completely different to that of a company. In particular, we expect the path from concept to startup to scale-up to mature business to happen at lightning speed. Sure it shouldn’t be as long as human development, but it still needs patience.
So many startups fail because their innovations aren’t given time or support to ‘prove’ their worth. They’re simply not given the chance to try to crawl, let alone walk.
Take SalesTrip. Yes I’d successfully grown a startup before, just as I’d had a child before my second and third arrived, so I wasn’t going into it blindly. We conceived a great idea, developed the product, hired a great team and launched, all with the knowledge of lessons learnt (good and bad) from my first experience. But I, and supporters of the business, were impatient. Like all founders and business leaders, we wanted to hit the ground running. Fast.
But then the unexpected occurred: Covid. Bad for most businesses. For a business travel and expense tech startup? Disastrous. It hit our industry very hard. We slowed down. We had to make some very tough decisions. For someone with little patience, I now had to have it in abundance.
That’s why I’m so delighted to share that despite the pandemic thwarting our industry, SalesTrip has secured the backing of external investors through our seed investment round. Believe me when I say, that last March I never thought I’d be sitting here telling you that 2020 was the year SalesTrip:
- achieved YOY growth of over 250%
- trebled its customer base
- kept customer churn under 5%
It goes without saying that this wouldn’t have been possible without our incredible customers. To those who had no hesitation recommending us to other companies, without us even asking. To our partners who have done the same with their clients. To the amazing team we work with at Salesforce including Suki Bahth, Sandra Peignaux, Chris Hemingway, Leslie Tom and Woodson Martin. Their support has been unwavering.
And to the SalesTrip team. You have experienced the true rollercoaster of working at a startup. You’ve made personal sacrifices when our lives have been in turmoil around us. You are what has got us this far, you are what will take us even further. Thank you.
Maybe we needed the pandemic to remind us to walk before even thinking about running. And personally, that’s what this pandemic has changed my mind about. Patience is definitely a virtue. Whether it’s with your children or your business.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn on 14 January 2021.