042: Tech business? Looking for that unfair advantage?



Stuck at early stages of growth and struggling to build sales ?


In this episode I talk to Alison Arnoff – founder of Unfair Advantage Consulting where she helps tech companies find their unique, unfair advantage to scale their business.


Find out about the typical problems tech startups face and how to solve them.


Get the inside track on what makes a company investible to VCs.

1:20 – Introducing Alison and some background on what she does.


2:55 – Alison’s perspective on sales ability in startups.


3:44 – What she normally sees in the companies that she works with.


5:12 – How many companies get stuck at early stages of growth and struggling to approach sales effectively in a startup environment.


7:14 – What Alison sees as one of the biggest, most common problems in tech startups.


8:30 – Beginning the conversation with the companies she works with.


10:47 – Balancing an incremental marketing plan with having a large enough potential market to become a successful company.


11:58 – Some typical problems that startups have and understanding their market during development; a story about a company who needed to adjust their messaging.


13:44 – Convincing clients that the messaging and marketing is just as important as the product and getting to the companies before it’s too late.


15:01 – What Alison sees VCs looking for in early stage companies and the kinds of teams that she thinks work well.


16:40 – Approaching VCs with enough humility to accept the help and guidance available.


17:42 – The things startups do that make Alison cringe.


19:27 – Approaching sales and scalability through arming your sales team with the right message.


21:18 – Not being able to “see the label from inside the bottle” and being open to inviting in outside help.


22:11 – Describing Alison as a consultant more than a coach; focusing on quality content.


25:26 – These principles apply more broadly than tech companies; differences in business to business and business to consumer.


26:06 – Approaches to changing founders’ mindsets on recruitment for high quality sales teams.


27:14 – The success rate Alison has seen in companies that she’s worked with and commonalities between failed startups.


29:03 – The role of crowdfunding platforms in verifying product demand.


30:04 – Looking at the scope and process for the multi-million dollar fundraising situations.


32:46 – Why Alison is steering clear of blockchain style technologies.


34:08 – A common progression Alison sees in many tech companies.


36:00 – The one piece of advice Alison would offer to people trying to get over the wall.


37:19 – Benefits of asking for help from someone who has done what you’re trying to do.


38:42 – The value of perspective at any stage of a business and the willingness of successful people to share knowledge.


39:45 – Being productively paranoid and Alison’s story about working at Intel during their huge growth period.


41:02 – The questionnaire segment, borrowed from James Lipton.


45:09 – Contacting Alison.


Resources and Links Mentioned:


Unfair Advantage Consulting


Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, “How great leaders inspire action.”


Marcus Lemonis


Tony Robbins




Email Alison at alison@unfairadvantage.consulting (get in touch for a preview of her upcoming blog series).