Hampton Community Insights: Week of October 13, 2023
Advice for first-time LPs; Bootstrapping to 100+ employees, How to structure 1-1's, Guaranteeing agency results, The best resources for building mobility
Welcome to this week's issue of Five on Friday, where we share some of the best tips, resources, and insights from our private founder community.
Today, we're talking about advice for new LPs, how to run effective 1-1's, a founder who bootstrapped her agency to a massive exit, and more.
If you want more like this, sign up for our mailing list above, or apply to join Hampton as a member today.
Let's get into this week's insights...
1. Advice to First-Time LPs
Best Questions to Ask Before Joining a New Fund
This week, one of our members was invited to join a new VC fund as a first-time LP. She asked our Finance & Investing Slack channel what questions to ask, and red flags to watch for.
With decades of VC experience and hundreds of collective deals, this is what respondents had to say...
1. Buyer Beware: Several long-time investors said the VC market has slowed substantially in the last 18 months, and may be headed for a broader reset.
One founder in the finance space – who's raised 8-figures on his current venture, and has multiple previous exits – put it this way 👇
Knowing that, if you choose to move forward...
2. Understand the Economics: It'll take 10-15 years for your returns to materialize. Make sure you understand that, and ask about the management fees, carry, and deployment period of the fund.
3. Look for Additional Upside: The fund's returns aren't the only way to benefit from being an LP. Some funds offer other perks, like...
- Ability to co-invest: You can write personal checks alongside the fund, increasing your stake while saving time on due-diligence and deal flow
- Preferred vendor listing: If you run a B2B service biz, the fund might recommend you to portfolio founders
4. If it's a New Fund: It won't have any historical data to look at, so dig deep on the partners' personal track records, their reason for starting the fund, how they source unique deals, and their investment strategy.
2. Insider Insights
Lessons Learned Bootstrapping to 100+ Employees & Exit
Hampton member Mae Karwowski is the founder of Obviously, an influencer marketing agency that went through a massively successful exit earlier this year.
This week, she took us behind the scenes to show...
- How she came up with the idea, and landed her first client
- The habits that compounded to give her team an unfair advantage
- "Oh shit" moments that only another founder will fully appreciate
- How she knew it was time to sell, and what she learned from the acquisition
- Where she still sees untapped opportunity in the creator economy
- and more...
3. How to Structure 1-1's
LResources for You and Your Managers
At Hampton, we have what we call our "Ops Library."
It's a communal Slack channel, where member share templates and frameworks they use to run their companies – everything from sample LOIs, to commission contracts, to employee onboarding plans, retreat agendas, and more.
This week, people were talking about how to run effective 1-1 calls with direct reports:
- This article offers a great overview
- Here's an alternative "10-10-10" agenda
- Lead Honestly makes it easy to track calls, and bubble up interesting questions and angles to explore
4. Guaranteeing Agency Results
Should You Do It? And If So, How?
We've got dozens of multi-million dollar agency founders inside Hampton, and this week they were discussing customer guarantees, and whether they're smart for business.
As always, the answer seems to be, "It depends."
If you're thinking of offering one, be sure you...
1. Know the Math: The right guarantee increases both conversion and LTV. So even if your refund rate goes up, you still make more money overall because you're bringing in more business.
Section IV of $100M Offers dives deep on this.
2. Stack the Odds: It sounds simple, but you need to focus on situations where you have...
- High certainty you can help
- Very clear timelines (e.g., "We fix bugs for free for 90 days")
- Control of Inputs: The more you have, the more confident you can be about delivering results. Get clients to commit budget, headcount, time, etc. in exchange for guarantees of performance.
3. Consider Perception: Last tip is to remember that guarantees may be seen differently by clients in different markets (high-ticket or low-ticket) or sales funnels (inbound vs outbound).
As one member put it, the framing of the conversation matters. "[For outbound] you control the outbound list and can pre-filter a lot of the crap out." So a guarantee might make sense.
"On inbound my preference is to own the frame as 'We don’t need you, you need us. If you’re looking for guarantees I’m sure there’s some agency who needs the work enough to offer that.'"
5. Founder Fitness: Fixing Back Pain
The Best Resources for Building Mobility
Hampton isn't just about business. It's about elevating your entire life as a founder. For example, we've got a fitness Slack channel where hundreds of members trade questions and tips.
The big topic this week: Back pain.
Being at a desk most of the day is tough. Some favorite remedies included vinyasa-style yoga, regular pull-ups (put a bar in the doorway and use it each time you walk through), and chest-opener Pilates programs on Peloton or Apple Health.
Other favorite resources include:
- The Ready State
- The Move Better Project
- Foundation Training (this viral Youtube video is a great intro)
Personally, I find being the CEO of a startup to be downright exhilarating. But, as I'm sure you well know, it can also be a bit lonely and stressful at times, too.
Because, let's be honest, if you're the kind of person with the guts to actually launch and run a startup, then you can bet everyone will always be asking you a thousand questions, expecting you to have all the right answers -- all the time.
And that's okay! Navigating this kind of pressure is the job.
But what about all the difficult questions that you have as you reach each new level of growth and success? For tax questions, you have an accountant. For legal, your attorney. And for tech. your dev team.
This is where Hampton comes in.
Hampton's a private and highly vetted network for high-growth founders and CEOs.