When you start a business, one of the first questions many founders have is, "what should I call this business?"
If you're like me, you didn't care too much about the name you picked because you wanted to focus on building a business that generated revenue so you could beat the odds stacked against you and stay in business. So, any placeholder for a brand name would foot the bill for me. At least initially.
In total, I spent about two hours deciding my brand name and eventually decided on Traffic Is Currency.
At that moment, I was a few weeks away from being accepted into Canada's top accelerator and my big business idea was to build out an A/B split testing tool for SEO.
Traffic Is Currency was supposed to communicate that you could turn traffic into sales.
However, as I worked on building the business, I quickly realized that the SEO space just wasn't for me. I had identified a profitable and emerging market but wasn't passionate enough about the space to keep at it. While at the same time, I was getting consulting engagements front, right, left and center.
I did what many entrepreneurs would do in this situation and "followed the money."
If you're just starting your business, this isn't a bad approach but it can take you places you don't want to go.
In my first year of business, I had a big chip on my shoulder and wanted to prove to others and myself that I could build a 6-figure business in one year. So I made the painful mistake of taking on anything to hit that target.
After I hit the revenue goal, I remember feeling unhappy.
The projects I took on to hit the revenue target we're something I didn't get excited about and I worked crazy hours to make it all happen.
My energy was at an all-time low.
In 2018, I decided to stop the rat race of hitting ambitious revenue targets and make my theme for the next year all about energy.
Sounds foufi, I know.
But monitoring the activities in my day-to-day that drained my energy and keeping tabs on what gave me positive energy gave me a much-needed filter on how I could build a business and, more importantly, a life that I could be proud of.
By dedicating the year of 2018 to get my energy in check, I started only taking on projects that got me excited. One of those projects was putting together the first course on Product-Led Growth with ConversionXL.
I'll admit. When I signed the contract to create this course, I was by no means an "expert" in Product-Led Growth.
But I did have success helping several SaaS companies, including Vidyard, use free trial and freemium models to significantly grow their business so I knew from first-hand experience just how powerful it was to lead with your product as an organization.
Once I started creating the content for this course, I found my energy levels were at an all-time high and I had momentum.
Something just clicked. Call it product, market, founder, talent and motivation fit, but when you feel this feeling, you know you've found something special.
I absolutely loved everything about Product-Led Growth, but beyond that, I loved teaching. I still chat regularly with some of my students to make sure they're kicking butt when it comes to all things Product-Led Growth.
Since I've doubled down to help people learn more about Product-Led Growth, running my business has become infinitely easier. I know exactly who I'm going to help, how I'm going to help them, and why I want to help them.
As a founder, I became less concerned about hitting revenue targets and more concerned about making an impact and helping others I truly cared about.
Before I even finished the course, I decided that I'd work towards becoming the leading expert in all things Product-Led Growth.
One of the best ways I was able to accelerate my learning curve was to write an entire book on Product-Led Growth while testing out all of my strategies and tactics with clients.
When I'm teaching others about Product-Led Growth, I light up and time flies.
This is something I could see myself doing for decades to come.
So when 2019 rolled around, I began asking myself some hard questions about where I wanted to take the business. Did I want to stay as a boutique consultancy? Or did I want to challenge and educate an entire industry to approach growing their business in a completely new way?
I chose the later option.
As part of doubling down on that decision, I realized that my brand just didn't communicate the mission I had in mind.
Building a product-led business is more than just turning traffic into sales, you need an entire team to help your users become successful while using your product.
If I really was going to challenge and educate the SaaS industry to grow their business in a completely new way, I needed to train the entire business which is no small feat.
Unlike the content marketing or growth hacker movements where one person or team is tasked with carrying out the initiative for a business, you can't do the same when it comes to adopting Product-Led Growth.
As Allan Wille, Co-Founder & CEO, Klipfolio puts it:
“Product-Led Growth means that every team in your business influences the product. Your marketing team will ask, “how can our product generate a demand flywheel.” Your sales team will ask, “how can we use the product to qualify our prospects for us?.” Your customer success team asks, “how can we create a product that helps customers become successful beyond our dreams?.” By having every team focused on the product, you create a culture that is built around enduring customer value.”
By leading with the product throughout an entire organization, product-led companies can benefit from shorter sales cycles, lower Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and a higher Revenue Per Employee (RPE).
But the only way to achieve those benefits is if your entire team is aligned and working together on using your product to help grow the business.
Right now, I believe there is a massive gap in the marketplace from an education perspective.
If you're a marketer, there's no place you can learn how to turn your product into a customer acquisition model.
If you're a sales representative, there's no way for you to learn how to use the product to qualify prospects for you.
If you're an exec, there's very little training on how to build a product-led business.
I could keep going, but by now, I'm sure you get the point.
If you're going to build a product-led organization, you need to educate your product, marketing, sales, customer success, and engineering teams to all leverage the product to hit their goals.
To be truly successful, you need to train your entire team to think like a product manager.
So, I decided to do something about it.
I am going to build an education company that helps SaaS marketing, sales, engineering, customer success and product folks to use their product as the main vehicle to grow their business.
I've got a long way to go, but I couldn't be more excited to share this new direction of the business with you.
As of today, Traffic Is Currency is now being rebranded to the Product-Led Institute.
Product-Led Institute is by no means a sexy name, but as Joe Pulizzi puts it in his book, Content Inc, the name communicates exactly what you do so you don't have to spend additional marketing communicating what you do.
As I make the transition to building an education company, I will still be doing consulting with a very limited number of clients.
Thanks for taking the time to learn about my next chapter!
Wesley Charles Bush