A "Don't Stop Delivering"
plan from HubSnacks

By:  Ian Horley, Founder
First posted: 19 March 2020
Last updated: 15 February 2021

This article is for our customers who want to know how we are set up to keep delivering during this or any crisis.

It explains how "Don't Stop Delivering" underpins our Business Model, so we can scale up, and stay up.

This is not a sales pitch! It provides actionable steps that you too can use to protect customers who depend on tasks being delivered reliably, and the team, who depend on the revenue flowing back in return.

It's therefore something that needs to be baked into an operating model right from the start. If you think of ways to improve on any of these tactics, please let me know via our Contact form and leave me your thoughts.

CLICK Here: https://www.hubsnacks.com/contact/ and I’ll add your thoughts to the update.

Business Continuity

Google's G-suite team recently posted a statement on it's "Business Continuity". It's exhaustive and looks like it was expensive.

How am I qualified to talk about Business Continuity?

Even as a small company, we've spent a fair chunk on Business Continuity consulting.

The tactics shared here draw on that investment.

And that’s on top of 20 years of experience working in the Internet & Cloud Infrastructure industries.

The Internet's the underlying network that all Web-based businesses and digital communications run across, so it has "Don't Stop Delivering" in in its core principles.

It's measured in "Uptime".

Network Designers obsess over something called resiliency...

The measure of their success is something called "Uptime".

When we pivoted from being a traditional agency in 2017, we baked in tactics taken directly from those Network Designers to make sure we had high Uptime.

Those tactics include:

  • Antifragility - when subjected to stressors, our systems must learn and improve. They must do this in a way that boosts value and efficiency for all customers as a whole.

  • Network effect - the more customers we have, the more valuable we are to all our customers. The more customers, the more tasks. More tasks, more knowledge we capture.

  • Global Team. Global Customers. No Single Point Of Failure.

  • 100 % HubSpot - No confusion. No straying.

The first 3 takeaways

This post narrows in on three specific rules and how they play out in the current, or any crisis.

They are:

  • No single point of failure - Global

  • No bottlenecks - Local

  • No freelancers - Personal

No Single Point of Failure (SPoF) - Global

If your island's  survival depends on a single bridge, you created a Single Point of Failure.

If the bridge fails, supplies don't arrive and you fail to survive.

So it’s critical that we all build resilience into our business models right from the start.

I could talk about what we're working on to increase that value, but that would be self promotion, and I made you a promise.

Decisions made on January 18th, 2017 - the "Don't Stop Delivering" plan

These decisions were implemented to keep our value flowing to you, our customer.

I admit, they were more focused on regional disasters and local setbacks.

You can see they apply today just as well.

Scaling Capacity

  • We assign every new customer to a team of 8-12 experts.

  • No team has more customers assigned than requires them to work to more than 80% of their capacity.

  • The last 20% time is for training and absorbing occasional bursts.

  • We add more experts into new teams before we get stretched.

Scaling Expertise

  • Each team has a mix of experts to deliver any feature in the HubSpot menu. We set up dedicated channels around key skills for everybody to draw on.

  • Each expert has a solid, remote working setup. We check that setup quarterly.

  • Each expert is HubSpot certified for their role. They earn a cash bonus each quarter (soon it will be monthly) for extra certifications.

  • This promotes "T-shaped" people. The vertical of the “T” is a deep mastery in one skill. For example HubSpot CMS or automations. It feels great knowing you can rely on them to knock a task out of the park every time.

  • First, the adjacent skills provide valuable context, so customers receive more impactful work. The horizontal of the “T” is a broad set of adjacent skills. This has two benefits.

  • Second, they can assist in adjacent tasks if needed in a crisis. It's an investment that gets me excited.

  • We add more experts into new teams before we get stretched.

  • Each expert connects and stays in sync with their colleagues. For this we use remote working apps like Zoom, Slack and HubSpot of course.

This is how our knowledge grows as we add more customers.

Scaling with no SPoFs

  • The team is designed with at least 2 experts for each HubSpot feature.

  • Each expert is in a different city spread across N. America, EMEA and Asia.

  • Only if both of those go down do we lose that single expert for a short while. The rest of the team can cover the gap until they are up again.

  • Each team member is on their own Internet connection, plus a mobile with a big data plan as backup.

  • Offices add cost without adding any value to our customers.

  • Offices are also SPoFs for a group of Experts. So we have no offices.

  • All software tools must be cloud-based so they can run on any operating system.

  • Experts can quickly switch to a new machine if theirs goes down.

  • In that event, we use an encrypted Enterprise password system so they can switch to a backup machine.

Just like any business, we've had our ups and downs. But fortunately, we’ve used this model for three years with zero Uptime issues.

So that's Uptime covered!

No bottlenecks - Local

  • Your team captures your general tastes and needs, but no single task or person can cause a bottleneck.

  • Projects suck energy, focus and expose a delivery team to bottlenecks. If you have a project, we break it down into chunks called "Tasks" that flow through your team.

  • As a new customer, we assign you to a semi-autonomous team of 8-12 experts

  • We try to match customers with similar needs to specific teams.

  • This is not a precise model yet. We find that your business model is more important than your industry in this match.

  • The team leader balances workload daily within the team based on the skills needed at each stage.

  • In the event of crisis, workload can be balanced between teams.

  • This has not happened in three years.

  • No customer is ever assigned to a specific expert.

  • Individuals can get sick, go on holiday and need to sleep.

  • The team manages your tasks no matter what.

  • Most tasks use more than one skill to squeeze out HubSpot’s full power.

  • Each team has a virtual meeting every day to create the best solutions and keep tasks flowing.

  • Communication follows a global schedule between you and the team. This takes advantage of timezone differences.

We'll be working while you sleep, and communicating while you're awake.

That's the high-level overview on removing bottlenecks, even during crises.

No freelancers - Personal

Freelancers are, well, "free".

Free to come and go when they want.

Free to refuse to work for you, or leave you for a higher paying client.

Free to roam from client to client, taking valuable learning and data with them.

Free to change prices when it suits them.

Uptime requires that we know who works for us, when and how.

So we won't use freelancers.

Sure, our experts may have freelanced once.

But when they join our team, they join your team, and we won't expose you to their agenda or lifestyle.

Every team member is on a contract with benefits.

100% of the delivery team is full time.

We've invested in a team culture that keeps them trained, available and focused.

Mission & Conclusion

HubSpot's Mission is "HubSpot helps millions of organizations grow better".

As a HubSpot customer, you’re voting for that Mission.

And so our mission has to be "HubSnacks helps organizations use HubSpot to grow better".

OK, we're not at the millions of customers yet, but we think and plan as though we are!

I’ll pull the trigger and post this now. I wanted to get this post out for your benefit fast.

If you’d like me to pull together and share a Business Continuity Checklist, subscribe to the list by clicking on the button below.


It’ll be targeted for smaller companies.

The current crisis may beat us all, and my sympathies go to all affected communities.

My commitment is to building a stable service for our customers. Now and in the future.

Warm regards,

Ian Horley
Founder at HubSnacks

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