The Startup CEO’s Guide to Bootstrapping a Company to Profitability with Clint Smith of Emma, Inc.

Posted May 16, 2017

Matt Hunckler

CEO & Founder

Clint Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Emma, a SaaS company out of Nashville, TN, that has created a new standard of success for bootstrapping businesses and hosting innovative, engaging conferences.

Smith and his co-founder conceived Emma’s email marketing platform in 2002 and took out a bank loan to fund their initial growth. By developing a healthy revenue model and focusing on customer acquisition from the start, they were able to break even on their cash flow only a year and a half later.

Fast forward a decade of continued growth, and the Emma team started hosting its annual Marketing United conference, which is open to all marketing professionals in addition to the company’s customers. Nearly 1,000 people attended the 2017 conference last month, allowing the team to establish deeper relationships with their customers and re-energize the larger marketing community.

In my interview with Smith, he shares the behind-the-scenes story of how he scaled Emma from an idea to an innovative email marketing company without investor funding. We also chat about how the Emma team is growing Marketing United into a leading conference for marketers between the coasts.

In this episode with Clint Smith, you’ll learn:

  • Why hosting a conference can benefit your customers and employees 
  • Mistakes to avoid when hosting your conference
  • How he bootstrapped Emma from idea to profitability
  • Why a solid revenue model is key for a young business
  • The importance of finding an outstanding advisor
  • Emma’s strategies for keeping pace with innovation

Please enjoy this conversation with Clint Smith!

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This episode of Powderkeg is brought to you by DeveloperTown. If you’re a business leader trying to turn a great idea into a product with traction, this is for you.

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Clint Smith Quotes from This Episode of Powderkeg:

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Companies and Organizations:

Emma

Netflix

Pixar

Nike

ExactTarget

Angel Investment Firms:

Nashville Capital Network

Banks:

Square 1 Bank

Conferences:

Marketing United

Websites:

Citysearch

SmallBusiness.com

Ticketmaster

People:

Clint Smith (LinkedIn)

Jay Baer (@jaybaer)

Jeff Middlesworth (LinkedIn)

Will Weaver (LinkedIn)

Peter McCormick (LinkedIn)

Did you enjoy this conversation? Thank Clint on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this session and have 3 seconds to spare, let Clint Smith know via Twitter by clicking on the link below:

Click here to say hi and thank Clint on twitter!

COMMENTS?

What stood out most to you about what Clint shares in this podcast?

For me, it’s how he bootstrapped Emma from idea to profitability.

You? Leave a comment below.

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Matt Hunckler

CEO & Founder

Matt is the founder and CEO of Powderkeg, a network of local communities with global reach for tech entrepreneurs, investors, and top talent. Powderkeg entrepreneurs have collectively raised more than $500 million in capital and are disrupting industries, creating wealth, and changing the world from areas beyond Silicon Valley. Hunckler has led successful teams with his own ventures, as well as Inc. 500 companies and venture-funded tech startups. He's been named an Under 30 CEO Entrepreneur to Watch and an IBJ Forty Under 40 Honoree for his entrepreneurial endeavors. @hunckler