Jennifer Fremont-Smith: Episode 6 (@jfremontsmith)
Jennifer Fremont-Smith, VP of Business Development at High Start Group addresses the basics of what it takes to bring SaaS solutions to the SMB market based on her experiences as CEO of AnswerSmart and COO of Eventective.
She talks about her serial entrepreneurship and what it takes to be an entrepreneur, agreeing that it takes a certain level of “crazy” to pull it off to take the financial, career, and reputational risks. But, she says, what successful entrepreneurship really takes is very hard work, the ability to learn from your mistakes, good judgment, smart decision making, and an element of luck.
She discusses the challenges of defining and creating products for small to medium sized business (SMBs). Products have to be designed so they are simple, and easy to use. In prototyping, it’s important to get the product into your audience’s hands. Jennifer is a strong believer in the power of testing, but says it can be hard to find SMBs to participate in testing. She stresses the importance of differentiating between what the creators of the product think is a good solution and what customers think is a good solution.
Jennifer is a fan of the “freemium” pricing model, which is designed to whet, but not completely satisfy customers’ appetites. She discusses how to use free trials or freemium pricing to “hook” customers so they can’t live without the product. She also talks about the pitfalls of developing a product separately from the market and potentially creating software that doesn’t address the pains and needs of potential customers. She advocates a parallel process in which the market, the customer, and the product are developed at the same time.
Nick and Jennifer close with a discussion about Boston as an incubator for startups and entrepreneurs.
Jennifer is a passionate entrepreneur, having founded and been involved with multiple technology-based startups, including AnswerSmart, OnDemandCRM.com, Eventective, and Third Level Data, inc. She is currently the VP of Business Development at High Start Group, which helps drive the market success of innovative mobile, consumer web, and SMB products.
Jennifer has a BA in International Business from Georgetown University and is a Sloan Fellow at MIT Sloan School of Management.