I recently had an unfortunate Growth Session with a SaaS founder who was running his company straight into an iceberg. … an unforgiving 25% churn rate … about 3 months cash runway … total mis-management of capital Instead of fixing the leaks (churn), he insisted on keeping the sales and marketing engines on full blast. Essentially a great way to crash into that iceberg even faster. 😬 While it’s usually great advice to maintain a growth mindset (I’m all about
Growing a tech company is hard. Growing a tech company with lawsuits being thrown at you left and right is nearly impossible. The good news is, most legal issues that startups face are HIGHLY preventable, and can be sidestepped with just a few simple measures.
Back in 2008, Warren Buffett was approached by a struggling insurance company. He asked them to fax over their financial data to the hotel he was staying in (in Edmonton, Alberta)... Within just a few hours he was able to put together a proposal to acquire them. How did he do it?
We’ve all seen it. The over-enthusiastic startup founder who hands out equity with the same discretion as a pre-teen using their parent’s credit card to buy front-row Bieber tickets. *sigh* And I totally get it. In the early phases of your startup (especially the idea stage) you might not have the cash on hand to cover the major expenses related to developing your MVP.
If I handed you a blank check and a portfolio of five software companies and asked you to acquire one of them by the end of the day… how would you feel? Would you panic? Would you know exactly what to look for to pick a winner? Or would you go off a hunch and risk picking a dud? Evaluating a SaaS company for acquisition is a stressful and intimidating process if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
When I started Flowtown, we were treading water in the reddest of oceans. Social sharing and publishing tools were all the rage, and standing out from the crowd was NOT going to be easy. Fortunately, we were able to lean into one key differentiator in our feature set for our product called Timely. It was almost criminally simple -- but by being the only social publishing tool that CHOSE the ideal time to post for you (based on our algorithm)...
Prospect: “Great product. It’s just not a now thing” You: “Okay cool. Totally get it. Thanks for your time.” Boom. That right there is a masterclass on how to blow a SaaS deal, deprive a would-be customer of the value they could’ve received, and being forced to go back to your team with your tail between your legs.
Ever read about those outrageous “rider” demands that touring musicians demand from the concert promoter? … Iggy Pop demands a Bob Hope impersonator. … Mariah Carey insists on gallons of vitamin water to bathe her dogs in. … Van Halen would refuse to take the stage if a brown M&M found its way into the candy jar. Borderline insane right?
I have a little secret. A few years ago when I started coaching growth-minded SaaS founders on how to scale their companies, I created someone named ‘Software Scaling Sam”. Sam was obsessed with growth, had achieved product/market fit, and was ready to take full ownership and responsibility in scaling beyond 10k MRR. If you think that Sam sounds quite a bit like you, that’s because Sam is you.
Want to know the quickest way to kill your company and team morale? It’s super easy. Invest tens of thousands of dollars and man hours in building your software, only to find out after the fact that your market couldn’t care less. Done. Now you can happily go back to whatever world you just left behind. On the flipside, if you want to launch your startup the smart way by pre-selling your product BEFORE you build it…