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Kirsten Mangers, Founder of WebVisible

Kirsten Mangers founded WebVisible after the interactive advertising division at the advertising company in which she worked was eliminated. She built WebVisible from the ashes of this unit, renegotiated her noncompete agreements, and transferred all the contracts to the new company: WebVisible.

WebVisible specializes in customer acquisition for small businesses, and offers two primary services in order to achieve this end: technology licenses for Software as a Service (SaaS) to large companies that provide advertising services; and direct sales force for small businesses.

Building WebVisible From the Ground Up

When Mangers first attempted to sell directly to small businesses, she noticed a challenging trend. Small business owners didn’t really want to hear what she had to say. To them, she was just another solicitor.

Not how any entrepreneur wants to be viewed.

Therefore, Mangers accomplished two main things to surpass this challenge:

  1. WebVision produced quantifiable data. Small businesses had no clue who WebVision was. She couldn’t compete on branding. Instead, she had to compete on value. You can be skeptical of a brand, but it’s harder to be skeptical of numbers that show increased customer acquisition rates, which is what Mangers started showing potential customers: real, quantifiable data.

  2. WebVision leveraged the brands of larger companies. When WebVision licensed their marketing SaaS to larger advertising companies, the WebVision brand no longer mattered; large companies could use the powerful WebVision software to help their customers, and the smaller customers didn’t have to be convinced that WebVision could help them.

These two choices helped earn WebVision their first million in two years.

"I’ve always believed in hiring people smarter than myself. I insist on upon being the least educated person in the room most times”

Don’t Put 65% of Your Eggs in One Basket

This isn’t to say that it was easy for WebVision. It most certainly wasn’t, as Mangers would be the first to tell you. She remembers that in year three, one of WebVision’s customers slowly grew their sales with WebVision four times as much, to the point that they made up 65% of WebVision’s total revenue stream.

This posed several challenges for WebVision when this client inevitably began to want to draw back their business with WebVision and do Internet marketing in-house. WebVision was then ready to lose 65% of its revenue in an instant.

Uh oh.

Fortunately, Mangers decided to focus on diversifying WebVision’s revenue streams to the point that now, no single customer makes up more than 20% of the total revenue.

Advice for Future Generations of Entrepreneurs

Mangers has a few pieces of advice for entrepreneurs, chief among them being: “Be kind on yourself.” She has seen far too many entrepreneurs — herself included — take the load of their circumstances upon themselves.

In addition, she urges entrepreneurs to know when to let go. To achieve this, she encourages founders to surround themselves with smarter people than themselves. “I always try not to be the most educated person in the room, if I can help it.”

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