Srmana Mitra is a leading expert in entrepreneurship and hosts weekly roundtables to help small business owners grow.

Sramana Mitra is a leading expert in entrepreneurship and hosts weekly roundtables to help small business owners grow. Check out this week’s recap below.

During today’s roundtable, we had two 1M/1M premium members discussing their businesses alongside Penworks, a new company we looked at for the first time. The premium members have been working with us for a bit and have made progress, so this was an interesting roundtable where we were able to discuss some more advanced issues.

Penworks
First up, Vrushali Humnabadkar from Pune, India, presented Penworks, a technical documentation outsourcing service. Vrushali is moderator of a forum for technical documentation professionals and gets a lot of her clients through that channel. She has, thus far, not done any other formal customer acquisition initiative. I suggested LinkedIn, oDesk, and eLance with the caveat that the field is extremely competitive and crowded and differentiation would be tough to achieve.

Happy Grasshopper
Next, Dan Stewart from Safety Harbor, Florida, pitched Happy Grasshopper, an email-based referral marketing service. Dan is a 1M/1M premium member and has, over the last few weeks, worked systematically, following our methodology. He is seeing excellent results. In February, he had about 200 customers. Today, he has over a thousand, and he has chosen to focus on the realtor vertical. Following a guerrilla p.r. strategy, he has succeeded in getting his company featured in Realtor Magazine’s ‘Cool Tools’ section. Happy Grasshopper has incredible testimonials and a host of satisfied customers who are now helping build word of mouth buzz. Large real estate companies are coming to Dan, and all in all, the business is looking very interesting. The next two customer acquisition strategies we will be expanding on are more aggressive guerrilla p.r. and a systematic affiliate marketing program.

Stanzr
Then Taariq Lewis from San Francisco, California, presented Stanzr, a lightweight online events platform specifically focused on moving qualified leads generated through webinars towards a close. Taariq is also a 1M/1M premium member. Over the last few weeks, we have been tightening his positioning. What I love about the Stanzr value proposition is that it can host very quick, online chat based events for large numbers of prospects, help answer questions that can handle objections, and further qualify leads to generate definitive opportunities. For example, let’s say an enterprise marketing organization hosts a large webinar using ON24 and generates 2,500 attendees. As a next step, they could hold a few Stanzr events – quick and easy – to answer questions for these 2,500 prospects and figure out from there who are the real leads and what could be the real opportunities. For enterprises and small businesses, managing a systematic sales cycle is crucial, and before having telemarketing reps call prospects, a few rounds of Stanzr events may be an efficient way to move them down the sales funnel.

Now, the other wonderful feature in Stanzr is that all these conversations are shared across social media platforms – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Creating that kind of systematic buzz is an excellent social media marketing strategy as well.

In summary, Stanzr scores on two fronts: (1) a systematic lead qualification platform and methodology and (2) a systematic social media marketing platform and methodology.

Very cool, indeed!

You can select the business you like best of those discussed through a poll on the 1M/1M Facebook page.

The recording of today’s roundtable can be found here. Recordings of previous roundtables are all available here. You can register for upcoming roundtables here. And you can sign up for the 1M/1M premium program here.

About Sramana Mitra
Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.