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Launch Leads was recently featured on the Shoestring Venture’s Startup Bible Blog as a great example of a successful startup.

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Launch Leads’ Keys to Startup Success in Bootstrapping

Launch fills its clients’ sales pipelines with qualified leads and scheduled sales appointments. Launch generates targeted lead lists, qualifies each lead, and schedules sales opportunities on behalf of its clients.

Many entrepreneurs are familiar with starting a business from their living room, but few experience the thrill of consistent growth, little debt, and an increasingly bright future. When entrepreneur Scott Smith, founder and CEO of Launch Leads saw the need for a solution for the problem companies had of spending far too much time generating leads, prospecting, and setting appointments with qualified decision-makers, he set out with one goal in mind: fix it.

Fortunately, Smith had already made a name for himself in the world of up-and-coming-entrepreneurs. Just under three years ago he took what he learned from his two previous ventures, along with some valuable advice from the seasoned mentors at the Junto Partners program, and put it to use in starting Launch Leads.

From the hub in his living room, Smith got to work on what he says is the very first step in starting a business: SELLING. Forget a business plan, cutting-edge technology, or fancy business cards. First, sell the product or service. Find people who are willing to pay you money for what you are offering. Then, design that offering. Based on the needs of those paying individuals you have found, design your product or service around that. Once you have a clear design, begin the building process and scale from there.

For Launch Leads, this process was paramount. Smith knew he wanted to bootstrap his way to the top, and “selling first” reduced almost all overhead by using the client’s money to finance the operation as it grew. And grow it did. On average, Launch Leads has grown 300% annually — at the height of the country’s recession.

With growth in sales comes the need for more employees and more space. And with that, Launch took its first small business loan. With some clever negotiating, a significantly larger office space was leased on a graduated rent payment schedule so the payment grows as the company does. Money was also saved by evaluating the effectiveness of employees on a full-time schedule versus part-time. When it was discovered that employees in a call-center environment tend to be as productive in a half-time shift as they are in full-time, the schedule was changed and costs were cut in half.

When it comes to marketing, Launch Leads has looked for any and all opportunities to promote the business without paying costly marketing or public relations firms to do it. Utilizing social media, attending networking events, and applying for and receiving awards have saved significant dollars while attracting a fair amount of positive publicity. Becoming thought leaders on Twitter, career help providers on Facebook, networking like crazy on LinkedIn, and maxing out the official blog with valuable sales trainings and tips, have all contributed to a growing awareness of the Launch Leads brand.

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