6 Inspiring Business Lessons I Learned From Carly Strife and Seth Godin at ‘Small Biz, Big Things’

Last week, I joined some 250 entrepreneurs and small business owners at “Small Biz, Big Things”  for a beautiful evening of learning and sharing with Barkbox co-founder Carly Strife and author/speaker Seth Godin . SmallBizTechnology’s own Ramon Ray kicked off the development, which was sponsored by Infusionsoft , by firing up the group. He assured us that all of us share among the same struggles, oscillating somewhere between barely surviving and thriving as a small business. He promised that the evening would yield answers to a couple of our most pressing questions on small business success, and it did!

Carly Strife, co-founding father of Barkbox, spoke first, sharing with us the adventure that brought her to her current position. Her career started at consultancy Deloitte where, despite being successful, the work simply was not personally rewarding. She surrounded herself with people whose passion she admired and those who shared a standard vision for fulfillment. This landed her a chance initially-up Uber, where she helped them become the market-dominating transportation app.

Although this was precisely the sort of job she thought she had wanted, Ms. Strife made a totally significant realization: “I simply wasn’t passionate concerning the taxi and transportation industry and this limited what i’ll contribute.” Armed with this self-awareness, she co-founded a brand new company, one who concerned about her real love: her dogs. Since that day, Big apple-based Barkbox has become a good looking success, slated to gain $25 million in revenue in its third year, and spinning off quite a few equally successful companion companies.

The three main lessons I took far from Ms. Strife were:

  • If you’ll want to do something, go do it. Despite being successful in two significant roles previous to founding Barkbox, Ms. Strife realized that something was missing and only she had the ability to pursue it. Engaged on something that doesn’t fulfill you eventually undermines your job satisfaction and bounds your professional success. It’s scary to make a dramatic change, however the alternative might be scarier.
  • Pursue your passion. Along with providing greater personal satisfaction by doing something enjoyable, an organization (or individual) that may be ready to talk about a single passion-driven cause can operate with “laser like focus.” If in case you have such clarity of purpose things are either aligned or they don’t seem to be. This avoids much ambiguity and expensive distractions.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a look at plenty of things along the manner. While currently analytics and ROI analysis of promoting campaigns play a bigger role than within the initiate days of Barkbox, things weren’t always so. Ms. Strife encourages entrepreneurs to check out many alternative marketing approaches, not being afraid to peer what sticks. In case you dismiss too many ideas because they won’t work, you are going to miss some surprising successes.

Celebrated author and speaker, Seth Godin, was up next. His broad business acumen spans permission marketing, sales, branding, customer acquisition and retention to call about a. Mr. Godin has an incredible talent for cutting throughout the clutter and identifying commonsense wisdom that the majority people miss because we’re too “down within the weeds” of running a business.

I learned enough to fill several pages in this great evening, but my key takeaways from Mr. Godin were:

  • ”If you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to nobody.” In an economy that has replaced retail shelf scarcity with nearly limitless choice, it is very important properly identify your ideal customer and find more with similar traits. He suggests you sell to the “weird,” those at the fringe, as they’re likely to have problems to unravel and to wish to belong to a community of like-minded customers of a standard brand. There’s also nothing wrong with not attempting to sell everything and instead curating “only the best” (as defined by your unique customers’ needs).
  • ”The world’s job isn’t to listen to the tale you must tell, but so as to tell the tale the arena is able to hear.” Many entrepreneurs are convinced they have got a terrific or service so that you can sell and find yourself disappointed. This often results from companies offering a square peg solution for a customer’s round hole problem. The only companies work out what story their ideal customers are telling themselves about why they may be customers, ensuring the company’s story (or offering) is perfectly in sync.
  • “Targeted spam remains spam.” If you’re spending money and time running marketing efforts that aren’t targeted, you’re interrupting your audience. Response rates tend to be very low and only huge brands with broad recognition and talent to realize significant share of voice should attempt interrupt marketing. The remaining should concentrate on permission-based and discovery marketing, providing an appropriate offering to these already in the hunt for one.


Mr. Godin left us with perhaps the largest insight of his career: just about all of his key successes were a right away results of, or followed a number of his biggest failures and setbacks, reminding us that it’s alright to fail so long as we keep trying and learn from our mistakes. 

If you’d desire to see more attendee comments from the development, you’ll take a look at the twitter feed  by looking for  #smallbizbigthings. 

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