CMO of FreshBooks Talks About the Biggest Problem with Scaling Startups


A mentor, investor and consultant, Stuart MacDonald is the veteran of several startups, including starting in Toronto.


Establishing a Referral Network


Got questions? Ask thousands of world class expert mentors from!

What’s a good way to establish a solid referral network?


I am asking clients for their dentists’ names and then calling them up one by one. Few dentists are willing to meet me, and I find the process tedious. I am curious to find if there’s another, more efficient way to reach my target clients. I am looking for something other than website SEO.

Humberto Valle, Entrepreneur, answered:

Hello, I’m a marketer and strategist by trade. One of the best in Arizona, where I reside.
I can guarantee you that a fundamental reason is that you are calling and talking more about you instead of them. Do your homework on dental services. Aim for one genuine friendly relationship so that you tap into one dentist for pain points and feedback before talking or aiming your efforts (whatever they might be after all) at other dental offices. Once you know what they need, what they want, what they aim for then you can change the conversation to how you can be of value to them.


Another thing is that you don’t call and introduce yourself and ask for a partnership in the first same call. Nurture a relationship, address your goals and purpose of the relationship but don’t press for a partnership all at once.

About Humberto Valle
I help entrepreneurs like you with creative cost effective ways to increase your brand power. I don’t rant but also don’t sugar coat—it’s all about efficiency.

Do you have some of your own expert insight to add? 

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Log in to Clarity and explore the Answers forum for yourself!


Renovating Your Startup Office: Creating a Google Space on a MySpace Budget and Fundable Founder Wil Schroter describes the process of redesigning and renovating the office of his dreams.


How to Conquer the New Frontier of SEO


When we think about the future of SEO, I believe we need to focus on a new set of principles. Here are 3 principles to keep in mind with modern day SEO.


UserCompass: Send NPS Surveys to Get Customer Feedback


Two simple questions might change your company’s fortunes.


How to Create an Effective Product Strategy


How to create a great product strategy and connect it with your product roadmap.


Early Stage Fundraising with Boris Wertz


Boris Wertz is the founder of VersionOne Ventures, an early-stage fund that has made over 35 investments in consumer Internet, SaaS, and mobile companies across North America. Clarity sat down with Boris to discuss how to find funding sources, how (and how much) to ask, and crafting the perfect pitch.

In order to raise money, most startups go through the same process: create a pitch deck, and then pitch it to investors.There are many types of investors, such as institutional investors who invest other people’s money, angel investors who invest their own money, and venture capitalists who privately or publicly provide total capital for a new venture.

Where can you find funding?
First, you should think about what the right funding is. Everyone looks to venture capitalists, but in reality, less than 1% of startups are funded by VC firms. Look to crowdfunding, angel investors, family, and friends. You’ll most likely be more successful getting funding outside of a VC firm.

How should startups think about money?
Not every company will get to be a global billion dollar business; most companies will be in niche markets catering to a subset of individuals. If you’re in a niche market, you may want to set more attainable goals, such as, “In 7 years, I want a $100 million revenue company.”

What does traction have to do with your investment estimate?
How you scale the company ultimately depends on the traction. Two big ways to scale your company: 1. Viral Effect / Network Effect and 2. Advertising/ Sales Force. These tools can quantify the amount of people and engagement your product/service in receiving. If you see incredible engagement and word of mouth in the early stages, it’s only going to get larger.

The Cost of Lifetime Value

How much would it cost to a acquire a new customer? The cost depends on the research and marketing efforts to reach a certain audience. Consider your acquisition costs versus the lifetime value of a new customer. Build something that a few people are very passionate about rather than something many people are a little bit passionate about. Loyal customers will give you feedback and expand the enthusiasm. One example of a paid product customer acquisition company, as highlighted by Boris Wertz is


While some investors invest in the talent of the team, most invest in the product. A product that’s already in the hands of the users. Investors don’t want to invest in your idea, they want to invest in your business. The best way to get funding is by having a product people already want and need.

So how much should you ask for? Here are Boris’ rules of thumb:

1. You should have runway for at least 18 months before you have to go back to the market.
2. Every funding round should be between 15-20% dilution—any higher and you’re raising too much money; any lower and it won’t be enough money.
3. How much money you need to reach the next milestone.

As we wrapped up, we asked Boris what the most important keys are to a successful investment meeting. His first piece of advice: “A great pitch is a simple one. A concise, logical story that gets me excited.” Secondly, “Touch on the problem you’re solving, and be precise. Why are you passionate about it? If you can touch on that in 6-8 slides, that’s beautiful.” Lastly, we had to ask: What is the best way for an entrepreneur to reach out to Boris with their ideas? A trusted introduction can go a long way, putting you a few steps ahead of the other founders vying for his time.

Want to hear Boris Wertz’s advice firsthand? Clarity members can watch the webinar here!


Your 10-Step Guide to Website Maintenance


Here's how to keep up with website maintenance. With these measures in place, it’s sure to run like a well-oiled machine.


Dreaming in Technicolor


It’s hard to decide who has changed the most in the last 12 years: Thrillist or its co-founder and CEO Ben Lerer.


These 4 Travel Startups Are Doing It Right


When you’re launching a travel business, there are many “what ifs” and “what nows” — especially if you’re a rookie. It’s almost too easy to get caught up in the excitement.

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