Case for Common Assessment Entrepreneur the Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneur the Entrepreneurs
As fellow graduate students at MIT in 2004, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Brian and Dharmesh noticed a shift in the way people shop and buy. Consumers were no longer tolerating interruptive bids for their attention. In fact, they’d gotten really, really good at ignoring them. From this shift, a company was born: HubSpot. It was founded on “inbound”, the notion that people don’t want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople; they want to be helped. Today, the inbound movement continues to empower businesses around the world to stop interrupting, start helping, and return their focus to the customer. HubSpot was named a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2020 by Great Place to Work and Fortune (HubSpot.com 2020).
We believe businesses can grow with a conscience, and succeed with a soul — and that they can do it with inbound. That’s why we’ve created a platform uniting software, education, and community to help businesses grow better every day (HubSpot.com 2020).
Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the founders of HubSpot®, met at MIT in 2004. The company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, directly across from the campus where it was first envisioned. Both Halligan and Shah were interested in the transformative impact of the Internet on small businesses and were early students of Web 2.0 concepts. After two years of discussions and early work, in June of 2006 the company was officially founded and funded by venture capital. The most interesting aspect of the Internet’s impact on business from HubSpot’s perspective is how it has changed the nature of shopping and subsequently the shape of every vendor’s sales funnel. Ten years ago, if a company was interested in buying a new product or service, it started by attending trade shows, reading industry journals, and going to seminars to learn more. Early in the process, it would engage directly with key vendors’ salespeople who would provide product information.
Today, that same process looks very different. The potential customer starts by Googling relevant keywords. The prospect spends time on each vendor’s site, subscribing to the most interesting vendor blogs, perhaps joining an industry discussion forum, etc. Relatively late in the decision cycle, the prospect engages the vendor’s salespeople directly. That first vendor conversation today is much different from the one a decade ago because the prospect often knows as much about the vendor’s product as the sales rep does and the prospect is already much more “qualified.” The Internet has tended to make every marketplace more efficient. Just as eBay makes the niche market for Pez dispensers, WWI shovels, and 1975 World Series ticket stubs more efficient, the Internet as a whole is making niche markets for intellectual property law, system dynamics consulting, and food brokerage more efficient. It used to be that the size of a firm’s sales force was the key to finding the most new customers, but that is not necessarily the case today.
The good news for small businesses is that on the Internet, no one can tell if you are a sole proprietorship or a large consultancy. The Internet disproportionately favors small businesses since it enables them to position their niche services and products so that they are available to everyone who is shopping for them, regardless of the prospective customer’s location. HubSpot Inbound Marketing Software helps over 4,000 customers to generate traffic and leads through their websites, and to convert more of those leads into customers. Its vision has been to provide a killer marketing application and provide great advice to small businesses, enabling those companies to leverage the disruptive effects of the Internet and “get found” by more prospects. Most small businesses have a website that behaves like their old paper-based brochures, but just sits online. It is rarely updated, is not given significant visibility by search engines, has low traffic levels, does not encourage return visits, does not enable/track conversions, etc. What HubSpot does is transform that relatively static website into a modern marketing machine that produces the right leads and helps convert a higher percentage of them into qualified opportunities. HubSpot focuses on tools to help the small business owner create, optimize, and promote content; capture, manage, and nurture leads to win more customers; and learn to make smart marketing investments that get results. Some of the Web 2.0 tools it provides include social media, blogging, search engine optimization, and content management.
1. What kind of entrepreneurs are Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah? Which entrepreneurial characteristics do they have? Support your answer.
2. Based on your reading of innovation and creativity what sources of innovation ideas does the HubSpot story reflect? Why?
3. What types of innovation are imbedded in this case? Justify your answer.
4. Do you suggest entrepreneurs rely only on the Internet to promote/market their businesses nowadays? What other competitive advantages does the Internet offer to them? Give examples.
5. Overall, describe how the Internet has impacted business activities and strategies for entrepreneurs such as Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.