First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Chris Nicholas Hanson: We are fine – moved to Florida from NYC and took our business with us.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded You Don’t Need a CMO.
Chris Nicholas Hanson: I ran 5 startups; 3 failed, and 2 were sold. I decided my energy would be best focused on helping grow more than one company at once (hence an agency!) – There were no marketing companies serving startups, so we easily entered this space. (Hence the name!)
How does You Don’t Need a CMO innovate.
Chris Nicholas Hanson: We run sales campaigns for SaaS startups; we’ve figured out the science of generating business for early-stage companies and are testing in masse with 100s of thousands of emails sent per day.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Chris Nicholas Hanson: We lost almost half of our biz (travel companies, edtech) because of COVID IMMEDIATELY in March – we had month-to-month contracts. We have now tripled the number of clients- we pivoted the business to better serve companies with additional opportunities to scale during COVID.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Chris Nicholas Hanson: We had to cut expenses by almost 100% and lay off all but two team members. This turned out to be a good move, and we did it the right way. I also cut my own pay by 90% – and took debt at an extremely high interest rate from kabbage. This “saved” us – but has been tough to personally deal with because it took a good chunk out of our revenues. We should not have borrowed as much money as we did.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself, and You Don’t Need a CMO in the future?
Chris Nicholas Hanson: I’ve added to take weekends off, something that I never did in the past – I recognize that my anxiety can contribute to my team’s anxiety and hurt performance.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Chris Nicholas Hanson: Our main competitors are outsourced lead gen agencies which tend to do horribly with US companies – so it’s fairly easy to compete. The real enemy is always the status quo.
Your final thoughts?
Chris Nicholas Hanson: COVID has been tough, but there are more opportunities, personally and professionally, for startups than challenges or hardship.