In 2009, my mentor Dharmesh Shah (co-founder of Hubspot) sat in my office in San Francisco and casually dropped an acronym I hadn’t heard. “We want to increase our ARPU”, he said. I smiled and nodded… but the blank stare on my face was a giveaway. I was clueless.
Many founders throw money at new employees hoping their business will grow... Only to find they don't know where to ‘put’ their new employees, and they end up wasting cash on salaries for an under-utilized team. Ever experienced this before? I definitely have. See, I believe a successful founder doesn’t just build a business...
Back in 2012, when I raised $1.6M in funding for Clarity.fm, I insisted on squeezing more out of my investors. When I put together the final cap table, I made it clear that I also wanted introductions with other investors and businesses on their portfolio. They told me, “Dan, you’re asking a lot here…” But I put my foot down.
I don’t think a SaaS founder should be their own accountant. I’m not, and I wasn’t for all 5 of my companies. Your job is to get really good at running a business and making money. That’s it. But to do that, there is ONE type of accounting that I believe you NEED to understand: Accrual Accounting.
I believe that great SaaS founders stay ahead of the curve. They’re the trendsetters, not the trend-followers, willing to try something new that makes waves in the market. The problem is that I’ve encountered many cutting edge SaaS businesses whose marketing efforts are too far behind the times.
If you want consistent, predictable revenue for your SaaS then there’s one thing you’re going to need to build: A killer sales team. Don’t roll your eyes yet… Let me set the record straight.
It’s the thorn in every SaaS founder’s side… The number that keeps you awake at night: Your churn rate. Churn equates to invisible dollars that slip through your fingers. The lower that number, the more successful and exponential your capacity to grow. But how exactly do you measure churn?
When I was 29 years old, I was pitching to investors for funding. I’d breezed through my pitch deck, million-dollar smile on my face despite my shaky nerves when they asked: “What’s your CAC?”
Here’s a word that either makes you cringe… or sigh with relief: “Networking”. If you’ve had a bad experience of it, you’ll get that icky feeling of trying to schmooze through fake smiles for business. But if you’ve had a great experience, you’ll think of life-long friends sharing war stories about their businesses and helping each other out. Networking done right is invaluable.
Have you ever wanted to cut a toxic person out of your life before? It’s a more common feeling than you think. Maybe there’s an old high school friend, a buddy from college, a distant relative… Whoever it is, you know in your gut that this person is toxic and brings negative energy to most conversations. The question is: Is it ok to cut them out of your life?