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Launch Leads’ Keys to Startup Success in Bootstrapping

Launch Leads’ Keys to Startup Success in BootstrappingLaunch Leads

Launch fills its clients’ sales pipelines with qualified leads and scheduled sales appointments. Launch generates targeted lead lists, qualifies each lead, and schedules sales opportunities on behalf of its clients.

Many entrepreneurs are familiar with starting a business from their living room, but few experience the thrill of consistent growth, little debt, and an increasingly bright future. When entrepreneur Brandt Page, founder and CEO of Launch Leads saw the need for a solution for the problem companies had of spending far too much time generating leads, prospecting, and setting appointments with qualified decision-makers, he set out with one goal in mind: fix it.

Fortunately, Page had already made a name for himself in the world of up-and-coming-entrepreneurs. Just under three years ago he took what he learned from his two previous ventures, along with some valuable advice from the seasoned mentors at the Junto Partners program, and put it to use in starting Launch Leads.

From the hub in his living room, Page got to work on what he says is the very first step in starting a business: SELLING. Forget a business plan, cutting-edge technology, or fancy business cards. First, sell the product or service. Find people who are willing to pay you money for what you are offering. Then, design that offering. Based on the needs of those paying individuals you have found, design your product or service around that. Once you have a clear design, begin the building process and scale from there.

For Launch Leads, this process was paramount. Page knew he wanted to bootstrap his way to the top, and “selling first” reduced almost all overhead by using the client’s money to finance the operation as it grew. And grow it did. On average, Launch Leads has grown 300% annually — at the height of the country’s recession.

With growth in sales comes the need for more employees and more space. And with that, Launch took its first small business loan. With some clever negotiating, a significantly larger office space was leased on a graduated rent payment schedule so the payment grows as the company does. Money was also saved by evaluating the effectiveness of employees on a full-time schedule versus part-time. When it was discovered that employees in a call-center environment tend to be as productive in a half-time shift as they are in full-time, the schedule was changed and costs were cut in half.

When it comes to marketing, Launch Leads has looked for any and all opportunities to promote the business without paying costly marketing or public relations firms to do it. Utilizing social media, attending networking events, and applying for and receiving awards have saved significant dollars while attracting a fair amount of positive publicity. Becoming thought leaders on Twitter, career help providers on Facebook, networking like crazy on LinkedIn, and maxing out the official blog with valuable sales trainings and tips, have all contributed to a growing awareness of the Launch Leads brand.

Launch Leads’ Keys to Startup Success in BootstrappingOther strategies Page has maximized on have been looking for speaking engagements, whether it’s at universities, business classes, networking events or presentations, webinars, or podcasts, each draw positive attention to Launch Leads and give the company material to share when potential clients inquire to know more.

Getting started was not always easy, however. Page cites a few things he wished he knew before getting started:

• “Hiring friends is not the best move. They tend to not treat you like a boss, and that can be difficult to manage and to progress.”
• “No one is as good of a salesperson as the CEO should be. No one can sell your business like you can. So, don’t expect others to be able to sell like you should be able to. Focus on selling your business yourself before you expect another person, even a salesperson, to do it for you.”
• “The thing we have always done right is never forgetting about sales. Selling has always come first, and that has saved us many times.”
• “As an entrepreneur, you may have read that you need to ‘Sell, sell, sell!’ plus do everything else. You were right. If you chose to be an entrepreneur, this was the life you chose. It’s been a challenge to not be able to focus 100% on sales since I had to think like a manager (and all of the other departments), and not just a sales person.”

To solve the conflicting challenges of having to be the one and only salesperson for your business, while also accounting for sales being the most important focus of your business, Page suggests that once you reach roughly $1 million in revenue you can then move forward with hiring and training a salesperson. Until then, accept the life you chose as an entrepreneur and become accustomed to wearing all the hats.

As 2012 swiftly approaches, Launch Leads is seeing continued growth and is on track to realize and possibly surpass Page’s original five-year projection. Before it started, the goal was to reach $10 million in revenue by its fifth year. After almost three years Launch is on track to reach that goal, and in another five years should see $50 million in revenue. Being a serial entrepreneur, Page’s original plan was to sell Launch after five years, but after seeing the potential for growth the company has, he is now considering running it for the long haul. He believes that with increased efforts to tighten down its current systems, consistently nurturing its current clients, and of course continued focus on selling, Launch Leads’ success will be exponential in the coming years.

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