We all (should) know by now the power social media can have on the success of our businesses. The problem is that the world of social media can be overwhelming, confusing and, for many, simply unmanageable. Enter Main Street Hub. The team over at Main Street Hub are helping local businesses turn their Twitter, Facebook, Google and all the other social media modes into more customers (and more money, baby!) We caught up with co-founders Matt Stuart and Andrew Allison to talk Main Street inception, Stanford startups and what they’re jamming to on Pandora.
Tell us a little more about what inspired Main Street Hub.
We started another company in our first year of business school to help people choose the right auto repair shop. It was a website that included qualitative reviews and pricing information to give consumers more information to make the right decision.
While working with mechanics to develop that business, we frequently heard questions like, “Can you help me respond to this Google review?” or “Can you show me how to set up a Facebook page?”
We realized that if having a great social media presence was important to auto repair shops, it was also likely to be important to other local businesses like restaurants, cafes, salons, spas and many more. Sure enough, that turned out to be the case, and we started Main Street Hub to help local businesses leverage social media websites to attract and retain customers.
What’s a typical day look like?
With 130 team members, we focus on making sure each member of the team has what she needs to be successful. We also spend time listening to our clients and partners to understand how we can adapt and improve our product, sales, and service to make our local business clients stronger.
Obviously, there have been some amazing and successful entrepreneurs that have come out of Stanford. How was your time there in terms of startup culture?
We are grateful for our time at Stanford. There is no better University at which to start a company (and no better time to start a company than while you’re in school). We were inspired by our entrepreneurial classmates, many of whom went on to start companies that have already made a big impact in the world. The support from the Stanford community, including students, alumni, and professors, was hugely helpful in starting Main Street Hub.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
It’s nothing novel, but we recommend following the model of prototyping and rapid iteration to get to product-market fit as fast as possible with as few resources as possible. At each step, build only what is necessary to test whether your product solves a real problem for your customers. And, let your customers’ actions (and payments) validate your assumptions.
For example, Main Street Hub built no technology until we had paying customers to validate our assumptions about whether ‘do it for you’ social media management was valuable to local businesses.
If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Tony Hsieh. Culture is extremely important to us, and we admire the amazing culture Tony has built at Zappos. We’d be thrilled to learn from him and hear his feedback on how we can continue to make Main Street Hub a great place to work and a company known for outstanding service.
Can you share what your latest “WOW” moment was?
The New York Times recently published a restaurant review that featured our work prominently. The reviewer, quoting from some of the responses to customer reviews that we helped with, cited those responses as examples of how the restaurant “makes you feel loved.” We know that our work creating and maintaining relationships on behalf of our clients affects their businesses every day, but it was still a nice surprise to see that truth reflected in the pages of the Times.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
We have no idea. Every day, we’re just thinking of how we’re going to move Main Street Hub further towards fulfilling its mission: to create thriving local economies. We’re doing that by using technology, creativity, and service to provide great local businesses around the world with do-it-for-you products that make them stronger, for a price that works for them.
Web App or site you couldn’t live without and why.
HotelTonight. We have offices in four cities (Austin, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), and that app is perfect for short-notice travel on a budget.
What’s your music-streaming site of choice, and what’s currently playing?
Pandora. Lil Wayne.
What’s the greatest thing about Main Street Hub?
Our teammates! Main Street Hub is an amazing company that delivers unbelievable service because of the people who work here. Candidates who emerge from our hiring process frequently cite the people they met along the way — and the culture they witnessed during their visits — as the reason they want to work here. It’s a phenomenal group that we are privileged to work with.
Where can our readers reach out to you?
Drop us an email!
Thanks, Andrew and Matt! I read a few client success stories and it sounds like Main Street Hub is rocking local businesses’ social media world. Now, if only I could weasel my way into Stanford and join the Entrepreneur club… I do have pull with the former vice president, after all. Maybe I’ll give him a call.