Andrew shares the story of how he started and grew the CRM service "Stride" then sold it to Neil Patel founder of KiSSmetrics.
Beyond Stride, Andrew has some serious business development experience with multiple other start-ups. Don’t miss his advice below!
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your company – what is Stride all about?
Stride was created as a simple alternative to all of the many complex CRM apps for small businesses. They were clunky, bloated, and didn’t help the average person manage their sales process. So we completely re-thought what a CRM should be, and Stride was the result of that.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?
I’ve been doing startups since I was 18 and have been addicted ever since. Nothing compares to the pace of learning, challenges, and enjoyment of building something some scratch. It’s what I live for. Stride was created in a somewhat unconventional way, during my free evenings and weekends while working at Moz.com – I run business development there. Three friends and I got together over a few weekends and built the initial prototype and launched it into the wild with a simple revenue model. To our surprise, people liked it, so we kept hacking on it every free evening or weekend we had.
Q: What are some of the projects you are working on right now?
Stride was recently acquired and running a business on the side was pretty darn tiring, so I’m going to take a few months to decompress and refresh. I’m sure I’ll have something up my sleeve again soon.
Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?
Info on how I grew Stride can be found in this interview.
Q: What are the top 3 mistakes you made starting your business and what did you learn from it?
(1) I didn’t put enough thought into the pricing model up-front. This caused some issues down the line with how we tiered the pricing model structurally. We had to do a lot of unnecessary backtracking because of it.
(2) I waited too long to begin marketing the product. I hesitated because it wasn’t “perfect” in my eyes. In time, I learned that the product would never be perfect, no matter how much you tweak and adjust it, so you can’t hesitate on marketing it.
(3) We started with too large of a team. There were 4 co-founders at Stride when we started and a total of 5 people working on the company prior to the acquisition. It made us move slower and made strategic decisions more difficult.
Q: Please share some advice for new tech entrepreneurs, someone who’s just starting out.
Stop reading this and start building something. No, really. The only way to get started in entrepreneurship is to just build something. It doesn’t matter whether you have a full-time job or are an entrepreneur by trade.
The only thing that’s preventing you from starting is yourself, you don’t need anyone else’s permission to create. It’s tough not to get caught up in all of the articles and tips out there on being an entrepreneur, try not to, it only makes you question your readiness. You’re never going to be fully prepared, start anyway. You’ll learn along the way.
Q: What was the best business advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?
The best advice I’ve received is to work with people you enjoy being around and trust. Business comes with so many challenges by itself; the last thing that you want to worry about is team. Your founding team makes or breaks a company, no matter how great the idea is.
Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?
- Intercom.io – for onboarding outreach and retention.
- AdRoll – for retargeting.
- Launchbit – for paid email acquisition.
Q: What’s your definition of success?
Having the financial means and freedom to do and create what you love.
Q: What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?
- How Will You Measure Your Life – by Clayton M. Christensen
- Rework – by Jason Fried
- Onward – by Howard Schultz
Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?
“You don’t have to do it first, you just have to do it right”– Jack Dorsey