How I Succeeded: HubSpot’s Ryan Bonnici

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Ryan Bonnici from HubSpot.

Current gig: Marketing director for HubSpot for Asia-Pacific
Location: Sydney, Australia
Current mobile device: Apple iPhone 6s Plus
Current computer: MacBook Air 13-inch
One word that best describes how you work: ‘GSD’ (gets shit done)

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

HubSpot and Asana. I rely on HubSpot to connect with my customers, engage with them on social, publish content they love, etc. I rely on Asana to help me stay connected with my marketing teams in Singapore, Japan and Sydney.

What social network do you find the most useful?

Really depends on what for.

For work, candidate hunting, Linkedin and Twitter are my favourites. For connecting with friends I use Facebook and Snapchat. I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with SnapChat lately. I think it’s a totally under-utilised channel for businesses.

YouTube: Both for work and entertainment. I find it great for keeping up with current affairs.

What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?

Focus is key. Too often, teams try to move the needle on too many items. Focusing on one key item (e.g. subscriber growth, or visitor time on page) helps you hone your decision-making and ensure that everything you and your team is doing, is working towards helping move that one needle.

What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?

Every business thinks it’s a special snowflake and super different. Having worked in B2C companies, B2B companies, and B2B2C companies, at the end of the day, most are not as unique as they would think. Success for each company always comes down to how well it understands its customer, and then goes the extra mile to delight them. Regardless of the technology advances made over the past few decades, the customer has continued to demand that their trusted brands understand their pains, challenges, goals, and aspirations. Businesses that understand this are the ones that’ll stand out and succeed.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

That’s really a hard one. Let me preface my response by saying, I think whenever you’re really strong at something, this also creates corresponding weaknesses. For example, I often get told I’m really good at coming up with creative and innovative marketing ideas – whether it’s for new lead nurturing strategies, ways to engage people differently at events, or something else. The downside of that is I’m never 100% satisfied with things how they are – and that can be frustrating to me and others around me. It’s something that I’m working on getting better at, but I’m still in beta as I currently stand (and unfortunately always will be).

What’s your sleep routine like?

It’s all over the shop to be completely honest. I’m quite an extreme person, so when I’m training hard I’m in bed by 9pm and up at 5am running. On the flip side, when I’m working on a new HubSpot projects I get super obsessive and extreme, hence my focus shifts. I’m still learning how to keep to a stricter and more balanced sleeping schedule.

What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?

The way in which businesses and consumers find information has fundamentally shifted. If you deeply understand who the target buyer persona of your business is, and create content that they are searching for when they are online, you’re absolutely set to generate traffic, leads and customers through your website. Something that we talk about daily at HubSpot is SFTC – solving for the customer. If you do that, you’ll always have demand.

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