I have a friend who is an avid cyclist. The kind of avid that will ride 100+ miles in a day. I asked him how he can ride for over 100 miles in a day. He had a quick and concise response…“Don’t get off the bike.”

He said that avid cyclists have this mentality. If you don’t get off the bike you can ride for a long time/distance. It is a great metaphor for many other endeavors that require persistence.

So how does not getting off a bike to ride long distances relate to professional service firm growth? …

The almighty referral. Every business salivates over referrals, especially professional services firms in which the sales pipeline beyond a few weeks is blurry.

Professional services firms covet referrals. The close rate is higher and the sales cycle is typically shorter. The endorsement of a trusted intermediary means a lot to a client searching for a professional services to engage with.

Many professional services firms try to generate more referrals and more consistently by offering to compensate potential referring parties. In theory it makes sense. Compensating others to refer potential clients should mean everyone wins. Compensating referral parties in the product…

It is a small thing, but when communicating with a client they always get listed first.

Clients should be listed first in emails that include other team members inside your firm and any third party partners or contractors.

Clients should be listed first in meeting invitations.


Because you want to send the message that you are focused on them and that you put them ahead of you. They are at the front of the line. They are who you are serving.

Does it matter?

It does. These small acts to ensure your clients and prospective clients are acknowledged before…

Amongst all the changes and turmoil in 2020, we’ve had a good year at AWH. We continue to grow our team and engage with interesting clients on creating interesting software products and solving data challenges. One of the reasons we’ve were able to continue to grow in 2020, despite the challenges it has thrown, is because of EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System).

2018 — The Learning Curve

We started implementing EOS in 2018 when we realized we weren’t as focused and organized as we could be. Meetings were being run differently across the company and we didn’t really have companywide objectives that were known by the…

Creating anything is hard. Creating something that is commercially successful is ridiculously hard.

Starting a company is irrational. I write about this in my book The Founder’s Manual. It is irrational because most products and companies won’t work. We know this, but we signup to start companies despite the odds.

Why? Because creators create.

Just as an artist’s last painting or a musician’s last song doesn’t define them as a person, neither does a founder’s product or company.

Creators run the risk having their personal identity wrapped up in their work and what they produce. Creators have to be able…

One of the great satisfactions of leading a company is when team members come back.

There are the obvious reason of good team members being hard to find and we want to hang on to them, but team members who leave and come back have meaning much deeper than that for themselves, for the rest of the team, and for the company.

Boomerang team members, as they are often referred to as, are an important proof point for a company and the rest of the team. A team member who is valued who leaves is a blow to a company…

The value of a test kitchen when creating a product is immense.

The ability to test and iterate based on real usage with real users is invaluable to getting to the root of a problem, understanding a user’s existence, and removing friction.

Even the smallest and tightest group of beta users still takes coordination effort and time that is crucial when you have an early product. Having an internal test kitchen where hypotheses can be proven or disproven quickly and with the smallest amount of effort reduces time and increases accuracy to market. …

An effective pitch deck is an important tool for founders looking to raise investment for their startup. The challenge many founders face is that they aren’t great storytellers and they don’t know what to focus on in their pitch decks, so the lead often gets buried.

Besides burying the lead, you must also avoid your pitch deck becoming stagnant. It’s not uncommon to see pitch decks that are completely outdated compared to what the founder is publishing on their website or presenting to the world.

Back to storytelling. Founders who are good at raising investment for their companies get good…

Some startups can be bootstrapped to achieve a similar outcome as an investment-backed startup.

Some investment-backed startups can achieve a positive outcome like an acquisition without a marquee investor(s).

And then there are the startups that need an investor to be a market maker for them to be successful.

Clubhouse is a great example of a startup that has been funded by and propelled by an investor. Andreesen Horowitz has not only led the funding of Clubhouse but has actively promoted and engaged with the app. Andreesen Horowitz partners and team members have actively participated in and have helped to…

Now that we have a startup industry and successful founders are business icons and cultural celebrities, being a founder is of interest to more people. The problem is the best and most successful founders never intended to do so.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with thousands of founders through our work building digital products and solving data problems at AWH, my involvement with Startup Grind, angel investing, and speaking about creating products and companies. …

Ryan Frederick

product & company builder | speaker | author | professional services firm growth coach

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