Carey joined Mike McAra from REACH Canada on the Beyond the Box Podcast to chat about the genesis of 321 Growth Academy and some things she’s learned along the way. Here are a few highlights from the episode including a few tricks of the trade and some key things to focus on as an early-stage founder.  If you’d rather listen, check out the episode on Apple Podcasts.

Sales and marketing are different sides of the same growth coin.

Sales and marketing are super intertwined, and we need to think of them as intentionally complimentary. We often think of them as departments instead of activities that we do. This makes growth a process that flows through the entire organization, all work together towards the ultimate business goal.

Most things in life are sales. Sales isn’t a dirty word. It’s a way to organize and scale your ability to help the people you’re passionate about helping. All founders must know how to sell at some point. And since sales is something we do and not something we are, then we can learn it. We don’t have to be experts, but we need to become proficient so we can be successful.

Validating – and why it matters.

The riskiest zone for startups is the gap between what founders believe to be true, and what’s actually true. We need to be relentlessly focused on the problem, make sure that it’s a big juicy problem and that someone is willing to pay for a solution. Our solution. And if no one is willing to pay for it, maybe we’re trying to solve the wrong problem.

In the early stages of our startups, we need to de-risk the business by validating the problem, the solution, and the customer. We need to think of what is our best first customer. This may not be the perfect fit for your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in the long run, but without the first customer, you won’t get to the second. Or the fifth. Or the fiftieth. In the beginning, our business goal doesn’t need to be about the 100th deal we make but rather focusing on the first deal to get us going.

So, when should founders look for outside help?

Early! Really early. Give yourself the best chance at succeeding in your startup by looking for help early. With a variety of resources like peer groups, mentoring programs, accelerators and incubators that provide targeted help to achieve growth and success faster. There’s no reason to do it alone. Put yourself in a position to win really early. Go on and stack your wins early.

Your superpower as a founder and entrepreneur, or as a team member in an early-stage startup, is the ability to figure stuff out. Power and success come from your relentless focus on figuring out the solution to problems.

The best sales and marketing approach is using data, not imagination. Seriously.

People don’t think of a data-driven approach to sales and marketing but there’s an unexpected amount of insight in your data. Sales and marketing aren’t art. They’re math. Growth math is understanding your pricing, your unit economics, your sales cycle. Validate with data instead of emotions and hopes.

The fundamentals of growth are the same, no matter what growth stage you’re at.

Having those fundamentals nailed is super important. Growth won’t happen without it – otherwise, you’ll be scaling risk. Or worse, scaling failure. The fear of sales is real. The fear of marketing is real. We’re helping entrepreneurs get over the fear of getting out in the market and making themselves vulnerable. We also give founders and their teams a roadmap. They figure out where they’re at in their evolution, where they want to go, and what their next steps are. This clarity is helpful to get on an accelerated path to growth with minimal time spent on things that won’t get them where they want to be.

Don’t forget to listen to the full episode.