Categories
Entrepreneurship Startup

A new definition of a “loyal” employee

Most people do a mistake in thinking a “loyal” employee means someone having a long tenure.

There is a better way to think about “loyalty”.

A loyal employee is someone who is passionate about your company’s mission and vision.

It’s someone who constantly demonstrates the company’s values and culture.

It’s someone who goes above and beyond their defined roles and responsibilities.

It doesn’t matter how long they have been working with you.

And when loyal employees stop caring about your business, you can tell there is something wrong going on with them or with your company.

How to tell that they stop caring about your business?

It’s when they don’t speak up in meetings, argue in Slack channels, share new ideas or stand up for a point of view.

As a leader and a colleague, it’s your responsibility to not push your loyal employees far enough that they stop caring about your business.

Those are rare gems. Protect them at all costs.

Categories
Marketing Startup

To win against competitors – Tell a different and new story

Most marketers (and founders) like to do competitive analysis and follow the leader.

The natural instinct is to check what’s working for the competition and then try to outdo them.

They try to be “cheaper” or “faster” than their competitor.

The problem with this approach is – that once the market believes in someone else’s story, convincing them that you are “better” than your competitor is the same as convincing them they were wrong in believing your competitor’s story.

And nobody likes to admit that they’re wrong.

Instead, the better approach is – you tell a different story.

You convince the market that your story is more “relevant” to their new evolving and future needs than the story they currently believe.

That way, you are not telling them that they were wrong.

You are just telling them that the world has evolved now.

And it’s time to re-evaluate their needs.

If your competition is selling the story of “visibility”, you sell the story of “productivity”.

If they sell the story of “intelligence”, you sell the story of “collaboration”.

If they sell the story of “best-of-breed”, you sell the story of “all-in-one”.

You get the idea.

You need to tell a new story, that’s relevant to their new world.

Categories
Sales Startup

The Collaborative Selling Handbook

When products and GTM playbooks are becoming commodity, how can startups win against incumbents and also with their competitors? 🤔

The answer is simple.

It’s the speed of execution. ⚡️💨

But how do you ensure you’re able to execute faster without getting off the rails? 🚆

It’s the alignment. 🤝

But how do you ensure everyone is aligned with different projects and goals? 🎯

It’s the system of collaboration. 💬

System of what??

Collaboration.

Is it a new thing? Or a new tool?

Yes and No.

2 decades ago, we needed an efficient way to capture who are our customers and log our interactions with them, so the “Systems of Records” were born – e.g. CRM, ERP, etc. 👩‍💻

Then a decade ago, we needed a more efficient way to engage with customers, so the “Systems of Engagement” were born – e.g. Live Chat, Email Sequencing, Power Dialers, etc. 📧

Then 5 years ago, we needed to make sense of all these activities and engagements, so the “Systems of Intelligence” were born – e.g. Revenue Intelligence, Conversational Intelligence, etc. 📈

Today, we need to make decisions and our conversations actionable, so the “Systems of Collaboration” are being born – e.g. Collaborative Meetings, Collaborative Emails, Collaborative Projects, etc. 💬

Essentially, almost for every job you do, if the tool you are using is not enabling you to collaborate with your colleagues and customers, and if it’s not connected with your workflows and other tools, you’re at a disadvantage as a startup to execute faster and better.

Selling is no different.

In fact, it’s completely stupid to believe that only quota carrying people are responsible for selling. 🤦‍♂️

It takes a village to close most deals. 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

And if you’re not thinking selling as hyper-collaborative function, then you’re not winning as fast and as efficiently than your peers who are practicing collaborative selling.

I’ve been talking about this for the last 2 years via different forums and mediums.

But finally got the time to jot down all thoughts in a consolidated eBook. 📖

👉 Feel free to grab a copy from here: https://www.avoma.com/books/the-collaborative-selling-handbook

Hope it will help you make “collaborative selling” as your competitive advantage.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Startup

Why it’s better to over-promise and okay to under-deliver

I don’t believe in the conventional wisdom of “under-promise and over-deliver”.

I would rather “over-promise and (be fine with if I) under-deliver”.

The under-promise advice makes people play very safe. It doesn’t let them realize their full potential.

It’s a popular belief that when you’re communicating your goals to your manager, leadership, customers, or investors, you should under-promise and over-deliver.

But when you under-promise, nobody gets excited. Everybody can feel the lack of enthusiasm in those conversations.

This lack of enthusiasm is infectious. As one person starts playing safe, others start playing safe too.

And slowly you’re building an organization that’s bureaucratic and lethargic.

This advice seems good for people who want to “survive” but is bad for people who want to “thrive”.


For growth-minded people and high-growth organizations, there is a better option.

You would rather over-promise, and be fine if you under-deliver.

With the over-promise approach, people play aggressively.

They demonstrate a sense of urgency, excitement, and enthusiasm.

And their urgency and excitement are infectious too.

And you end up building an organization that’s agile and lean. ⚡️


The key thing in practicing this over-promise approach is not to punish people if they don’t deliver the committed goal.

Instead, you should pay attention to the effort invested in that goal and measure what % of the goal is achieved in the end.

And as long as it’s considerable progress — say 60-70% — you should still celebrate it as a win.

In the end, you will discover that, most often, with this over-promise approach, people end up delivering more than what they would have delivered with the under-promise approach.

But the bigger win is — you build an organization of high-energy and enthusiastic people that you want to work with. 🙌

Categories
Entrepreneurship Startup

Don’t Find Ideas. Find Problems.

It is not the only way to build a startup, but building a startup to solve your own problem makes the journey far more satisfying and less challenging.

Of course, if your problem also resonates with even tens of thousands of people, then it’s worth pursuing that startup idea.

But most often or not – it’s always a bad move to start with some hot technology trend where founders don’t feel the problem first hand, so they try to “find the idea” to build some solution.

In such situations, starting is easy, but continuing is hard.

When the going gets tough, which it always does, you need a strong “why” to keep going.

Don’t find ideas.

Find your problems.

Categories
Startup

FAST goals are better for high-growth startups than SMART goals

The conventional wisdom is goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

At Avoma.com, we don’t do SMART goals. We do FAST goals.

The key concern is – SMART goals undervalue ambition.

And they lack importance of discussing goals throughout the year.

FAST goals are — frequently discussed, ambitious, specific, and transparent.

For startups, you need to set ambitious targets – not achievable.

You need to translate them into specific metrics and milestones.

And you need to make them transparent throughout the organization so everyone is aligned and there is near-zero wastage.

And most importantly, you need to discuss the progress of these goals frequently and adjust quickly.

This model seems more applicable to high-growth startups than the traditional SMART goals, which was popularized since Intel days.

The FAST concept was introduced by MIT’s business school a few years ago, and it stuck with me.

👉 Here’s the link of MIT’s detail documentation and research findings: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/with-goals-fast-beats-smart/

Hope this helps when you’re planning your 2022 goals. 📈

Categories
Entrepreneurship

How to Learn to be Bold?

I was recently asked in an interview how did I learn to be bold.

This quote describes my philosophy the best: 👇

“Fear is temporary, but regret lasts forever.”

Take a plunge.

Categories
Startup

Workaholism

Workaholism is contagious.

Most often, the virus spreads from the top leadership.

Leaders need to follow the equivalent of 6 ft social distancing at work too.

With the remote work and different timeones, the boundaries of work and life are getting blurrier than before.

With the hustle culture and grow at any cost pressure, the work-life imbalance is a constant topic on everyone’s mind.

It’s easier said than done.

I constantly make these mistakes and set the wrong example for the team.

Writing this helps me remind what’s important and be accountable and practice what I preach.

As Avoma is growing, I’m constantly thinking about these things and realizing the mistakes I’m making and the changes I need to make in how I operate and what culture we set.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what you say, but matters what you do.

Categories
Philosophy Startup

Comparison vs Retrospection

So much of our energy and mental bandwidth is wasted in comparing ourselves with others. 🤷‍♂️

Wouldn’t it be more effective if we invest that energy in comparing against ourselves, a.k.a. “retrospection”? 🤔

Compare less. Retrospect more. 🧘‍♂️

Categories
Entrepreneurship Philosophy Productivity Startup

About Making Progress In Life

Practice trumps theory.

Execution trumps planning.

Action trumps thinking.

Doing trumps learning.

Writing trumps reading.

Playing trumps watching.

Creating trumps consuming.