Keap’s IKON is back: Co-founders Clate Mask and Scott Martineau really want to help you grow your small business

small business

keap, a sales and automation platform designed to help grow your small business, resumed its annual IKON conference with a motivational — and vulnerable — opening keynote from co-founders Clate Mask and Scott Martineau.

The keynote was delivered to a crowd of about 200 people, which is significantly less than attendance numbers in the past. Still, Mask, keap’s CEO, was energized walking around the stage. 

He opened the day with updates from the company. He emphasized the company’s commitment to small businesses and expressed his happiness that IKON was back on. From there, he explained the thought process behind keap’s goals for the company going forward. 

“Small business growth is really challenging,” said Mask. “That’s why we exist.” 

This inside look at the company’s strategy also provides some useful information for fledgling startups, small businesses and “solopreneurs.” Here are some of the key takeaways we found to be insightful. 

“Conquer the chaos”

According to Mask, about half of sales are lost because of failed followup. “If we can solve that problem, we can save small businesses.” 

It’s about taking leads and turning them into loyal customers, said Mask. Keap is designed to help businesses automate this follow-up process. 

Automation can help founders reach company growth and find personal freedom to “strengthen families, communities and economies.”

The strength of the economy lies in growing companies and entrepreneurs, not necessarily in massive companies. 

Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes

Mask was transparent and honest about the mistakes he’s made in the past, but it’s clear he also understands what he learned from them. Not only does he value those lessons, but he’s actively chosen to implement his learnings. 

For example, he said the company spent too much time focused on helping the people Mask calls “solopreneurs,” who run a business of one. Meanwhile, the other small businesses weren’t getting their needs met. This realization pushed the company to define their target customers as businesses from one to 100 employees.

“Thank heavens those dark days are over,” Mask said. 

Stages of growth slide from IKON conference

Understand the stages of economic growth

According to Mask, economic growth happens in stages, and it’s important to figure out where your company is in order to move to the next stage. 

There’s a law of economic growth, Mask said. Growth happens in a stair step fashion, specifically between the “1s and 3s of revenue.” 

Here’s what that looks like: 

A business is in the New Employer stage with revenue between $100K and $300K. Then, the company hits a plateau in growth and moves to the Steady Operation stage and remains there between $300K and $1 million. 

The keap manifesto

Mask’s co-founder Martineau wrote the company’s manifesto and he read it to the audience at the end of the presentation. 

According to Martineau’s manifesto, small business owners are individually less visible than founders like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, but they are collectively more powerful. 

“This is the age of the entrepreneur.”

Listen or watch Clate Mask’s interview on AZ Tech Podcast: