How Less Funding Can be Your Competitive Edge

On this episode of Proposify Biz Chat, I’m joined by Joe Malcoun. He’s an early stage tech investor and the CEO of Nutshell, a CRM for growing businesses. As an investor, Joe built a portfolio of over 20 early to mid-stage companies, worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs as an investor, mentor, and friend, and is now helping the Michigan tech scene grow with Nutshell.


What it’s about

Joe’s experience in corporate development and early-stage software startup investment led him to his role as CEO at Nutshell.

In this interview, he talks about allowing your customers to have a say in how your product or service works with their current routine, the importance of delivering a powerful, yet simple product, and focusing on the velocity of your pipeline.


Don’t force people into your User Interface

There is a sense of security in coming into work, knowing how efficiently your tasks will be completed based on the routine you’ve set for yourself. Should that routine be interrupted with a new service or product you’re using, it can be frustrating.

Joe advises against forcing people into your User Interface (UI) for this exact reason. Rather than creating more work for your customer as they use your product or service, try to be forward thinking – keep in mind how much time they are spending with your product, and find a way to meet them at their current level of productivity.

As an example, Nutshell CRM has found a way to integrate with their customer’s email to help save them time flipping between screens to document sales calls. Rather than forcing their customers to take information from an email and copy/paste it into Nutshell for documentation, it works alongside the email in the same window. So talk to your customers, understand their needs, and adapt your work to meet them.

"Talk to your customers, understand their needs, and adapt your work to meet them."

Deliver a product/service that is powerful but simple

One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is building something that’s simple and approachable, but still delivers power.

To avoid getting too complicated, Joe suggests building your idea, releasing it sooner than you’d like, then adjusting as needed afterward. Allowing your customers to test-drive it will allow you to really understand the user experience.

Money isn’t everything when it comes to growth

Everyone wants to grow their business and having interested investors is great, but if you don’t have a plan for spending the money they are investing, it can be a dangerous move.

Having less money in the beginning allows you to focus on the main components of your product, service, and industry. It can also prevent you from overbuilding a product and making it too complicated for your customers to use.

“It’s great if you’re offered $5 million from an investor when you’re starting out, but stop and consider your plan first. If you don’t have a plan for how to spend it, it’s probably smarter to decline.”

Measure the volume AND the velocity of your pipeline

Having a full pipeline is key for business, but what’s more important is how quickly you can push leads through it.

Joe suggests focusing on the steps you take to move a lead from qualification to nurturing, and measuring the process. This will allow you to identify what steps result in winning a lead most often, and what steps can be skipped to help increase the velocity of your pipeline.

Show notes

Nutshell CRM

How Less Funding Can be Your Competitive Edge

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