The Barnett “Success Checklist” for Tech Startups

Prior to the founding of Barnett Strategies LLC, I spent about 15 years leading marketing and sales teams in high growth, high tech companies.

As I finished my post acquisition wrap-up at EyeVerify, which was acquired in Sept 2016 by Alipay (Ant Financial / Alibaba Group), I realized that it might be useful to pause and make a full check list of the priority topics that I had been managing and working on. I was hoping to take a short sabbatical and didn’t want to lose track of all the strategies and tactics that I would want to bring with me to my next role.


So, that was a good idea! When I started consulting for entrepreneurs in several technology domains, I immediately faced a series of typically concise but important questions. These questions struck the heart of the marketing and sales problems and goals that founders were looking at:

“Q: How do we increase sales quickly without a big spending commitment upfront?

 Q: How can we dramatically boost awareness of our brand/company/product  this year?

 Q: Which of the dozens of sales/marketing tactics we read about actually work?

 Q: How do we generate many more qualified leads asap, without adding headcount?”


Perfect! Let’s do all of that right now!!             

I went straight to my archive and pulled out my marketing and sales “savvy-veteran” punch list, expecting it to address all these questions for my clients, just as it had for me as an executive.


As I started to send this checklist out to a few early clients and prospective clients, it was unfortunately received with some alarm and dismay on their side:

  • This is nuts, we can’t afford to do all of this, we’re a start-up!
  • Where’s the proprietary Barnett magic?! I’ve already heard of everything on this list!
  • This is intimidating, we’ll struggle to review the list itself, let alone actually execute it!”

So that was a bad idea! What did I learn? You can’t just email out the answers (duh!)

The checklist is admittedly a collection of garden variety tactics. Metaphor: want to get into great physical shape? Well, just go to the gym every day, eat healthy, quit smoking, quit drinking – and you’re set. Meaning that results are derived from the doing of the list items and not from the making of the list itself.

And that’s how the Barnett Strategies team uses the Success Checklist as an agenda tool to add value and drive results for our clients. Everything on this list is a tactic that we’ve done successfully multiple times with multiple companies across multiple domains. So, we can advise and execute on these issues for our clients today.

And of course, the strongest magic lies in choosing effectively from the list for a particular client’s situation and goals. Which tactics from the list are needed this quarter versus next year? How can we execute on a key tactic with some guerilla-style, low-cost startup-friendly actions? It’s easy to spend/waste too much money on (for example) a huge website overhaul, a big trade show presence, or a major PR campaign. But which steps are needed at what reasonable investment levels that get a client to the next key milestone? That is how we really add value and bring results. And all of this is with a strong focus on execution and not just PowerPoint advice.

The Barnett Strategies Success Checklist covers everything from lead gen to identifying target markets on the marketing side, to documenting revenue goals and developing a go-to-market strategy on the sales side. Click here to download a copy of the checklist, or ping me if you want to chat about how Barnett Strategies utilizes this list to help drive results.