Imagine this… You’ve worked MONTHS gearing up to launch your product. You’re absolutely CERTAIN that the market will receive it with the same level of enthusiasm as you do (and I mean… why wouldn’t they? Your thing is awesome). So you put your reputation on the line by inviting 300 of your most influential friends and investors into a swanky-ass theatre for the official launch party. We’re talking people from Shark Tank, Dragon’s Den, Hootsuite, Freshbooks, etc. You pull back
I recently got on a call with a potential coaching client who asked me the best way to create momentum during the fundraising process. And it got me thinking… “what’s been true in my own successful fundraising experience… as well as the 150M raised by those I’ve mentored/advised?” Turns out, there were some consistent (and repeatable) markers that can make the difference between a fast and effective fundraising round…
I’ve spoken a lot about my 3 most recent SaaS exits (Clarity.fm, Flowtown, Spheric)... But rarely do I talk about how EASILY I could’ve given up on each. I mean… … Spheric got sued 15 months in. … Flowtown got shut down by Facebook and had to be rebuilt from near-scratch. … Clarity.fm launched to crickets (despite renting out a 300-seat theatre). As you’d imagine, each had me swallowing a confidence-killing cocktail of fear and frustration. Few would’ve blamed
Imagine this… Your SaaS company lands a massive account almost right out of the gates. They start using it. They have feedback… lots of it… almost too much of it. Your team takes it as gospel. Jotting it all down - committing on the spot - holding meetings about those new feature requests -- making plans to push them forward. Before you know it, they’re pretty much writing your entire roadmap for you. “All good” you say. They are, after
My first two companies FAILED hard. Sure, there were many factors at play. But when I take a sec to assess where things really went off the rails, it all came down to this… I had the wrong people on board. And it’s no criticism to them. As a founder (especially in the early stages), you’re ENTIRELY responsible for making sure that you have the right personnel for each position. Where most founders go wrong is that they hire by
No matter how great your product is, at some point the success of your SaaS company is gonna be DIRECTLY linked to your personal productivity as a founder. Talk about pressure, right? I can totally relate. I built clarity.fm during an insane 11 month stretch where Renee was starting an agency of her own AND we brought two little humans into the world.
I’ll never forget one of the first times I pitched an investor. I was literally pacing in the back alley of a SF coffee shop with one of those ugly pre-2007 cabled headsets plugged into my iPhone. I had a warm intro to the investor. Things were going smooth. But with just ONE single misstep, I got those gut-wrenching words no founder ever wants to hear:
300K/year. That’s the magic revenue number that a super high-performing expert or entrepreneur can expect to reach on their own before they smash their head against the glass ceiling. Doesn’t matter if you have your alarm set at 4:30am. Doesn’t matter if you grind it out through nights and weekends. Doesn’t matter if you throw down a bunch of brain drugs with bad names while looping binaural beats through your headphones.
Ready for a shocker? Stalled growth is rarely a product, marketing or sales problem… It’s a founder problem. And more specifically, it’s a failure to think strategically instead of tactically. Yes, tactics matter. But only if they’re guided by the RIGHT strategy at the RIGHT time. If you just keep repeating the same tactics over and over again (or adding random ones to the mix just because it "feels right" and "other people are doing it")...
I’ll never forget this one employee I had just hired at clarity.fm His first few hours went super smooth. But then at exactly 4:59pm… the guy BOLTED. Laptop packed. Door shut. Making a beeline straight to the front door. My jaw literally dropped. Here was this guy I had just hired… someone who was still getting onboarded to our team, our clients, and our company…