What is the one piece of advice you would give young entrepreneurs with online businesses?

You have to give it 24 months. To get to a truly sellable product. Simply to get it off the ground. Giving it 12 months isn’t enough. 12 month is just enough time to fail.
  • 6 months to build & ship 1.0
  • 1.0 is wrong, rebuild, re-ship at month 9
  • 12 months to get first good customers, maybe, but not enough customers yet. And probably not enough to get funded.
  • 18–24 months to get enough customers to pay the rent and your engineers’ salaries
Maybe sometimes it’s faster in B2C. But it’s never faster from Day 0/1 in SaaS and B2B. And first-time founders and want-to-be-founders don’t budget 24 months to get past beer money. I know it’s hard. I know you don’t have enough capital, or any capital. I know the team may not commit for 24 months out of the gate. It’s so hard. But the Continue reading "What is the one piece of advice you would give young entrepreneurs with online businesses?"

Can a person be a general partner at a VC fund and a venture partner at another VC firm at the same time?

It does happen with small, solo-style GP funds ($20m or less) and big funds. It’s not that uncommon here as the synergies make sense and the LPs are likely high-net worth individuals, etc. As the fund gets larger, it’s hard, and the LPAs say investing in your own fund have to be your sole or primary activity. Also, as you even get to be a $50m fund, the conflicts would start, at least in edge cases, with the larger VC firm. View original question on quora

Which to Prioritize – Churn or Growth?

Which is the more important priority? Growth or churn? Churn or growth? Early-stage companies have limited resources to focus their efforts. On one hand, growth is important in order to raise a venture capital round. Growth shows demand for a product. On the other hand, churn is a huge source of friction and raises questions of product market fit. Especially in the early stage, churn is the more important of the two priorities, and when founders ask me which to emphasize that the seed and series A, I’ll always respond churn. Churn is a limiting factor on the business. Like fiction, at some scale, churn will prevent the business from growing. To maintain the subscription revenue from the existing customer base requires ever greater mountains of cash. A $20 million ARR business losing 50% of its customers every year will have to replace $10 million worth of customers each year Continue reading "Which to Prioritize – Churn or Growth?"

SaaStr Podcast #093: Lexi Reese, Chief Customer Experience Officer @ Gusto Discusses How to Manage NPS Effectively with Scaling

Lexi Reese is the Chief Customer Experience Officer at unicorn startup, Gusto and is one of the top female executives in Silicon Valley. Lexi’s passion for serving customers was sparked by her early career in microfinance as a public policy advocate with ACCION International—giving loans to people living in poverty to start their own ventures. She later worked at Google for eight years, most recently serving as Vice President of Programmatic Sales and Strategy globally. Lexi also started the Cambridge AdWords team for Google’s small business organization. Now at Gusto, Lexi ensures that Gusto is continuously going above and beyond to serve all customers. Huge thanks to Joshua Reeves for the intro today! Lexi_ReeseIn Today’s Episode You Will Learn:
How did Lexi make her way from the world of Google and Facebook to SaaS with Gusto?
What were the biggest takeaways from spending 8 years at Google and seeing the Continue reading "SaaStr Podcast #093: Lexi Reese, Chief Customer Experience Officer @ Gusto Discusses How to Manage NPS Effectively with Scaling"

SaaS Marketing Scorecard

How does your marketing strategy stack up against your peers?

With an ever-expanding pool of marketing techniques and platforms, it’s become increasingly difficult – and important – to prove marketing effectiveness. To help determine how well you’re implementing marketing best practices, we’ve created this quick SaaS Marketing Scorecard. In just 5 to 10 minutes, we’ll gather a snapshot of your marketing strategies, from demand gen to marketing automation to sales alignment. Based on your score, you’ll receive tailored feedback to help you optimize your marketing programs. As we collect more data, we’ll benchmark your marketing sophistication against similar companies to give you a robust understanding of where you’re excelling and where you have room to improve. Individual responses will remain anonymous.
The post SaaS Marketing Scorecard appeared first on OpenView Labs.

Each time I have a revolutionary idea I would like to execute, I find out it’s already taken – am I therefore unlikely to become a good entrepreneur?

Don’t sweat it. I’ve co-founded successful start-ups “both ways”. The first time, it was pure white space we saw. We saw an opportunity others didn’t, put together the team, and went for it with 100% conviction. One idea. Period. Just one idea. The second time, it was a team in search of an idea. We had the co-founders, we just weren’t 100% sure what we wanted to build. We wanted to do “Flickr for Your Docs” or something similar. We went through a bunch of ideas with the same team. We built a prototype of a totally different product, for a totally different market, and threw it away and started from scratch. Generally, I prefer the first type of start-up. The founders are more mission-driven here, usually. But both can work. Keep it at. Kill all the ideas you don’t 100% believe in. There are more of them. View original Continue reading "Each time I have a revolutionary idea I would like to execute, I find out it’s already taken – am I therefore unlikely to become a good entrepreneur?"

How to Hack The SaaStr Annual — And Get The Most Out of It

So we’re one week out from The SaaStr Annual!  What started off as a 1-day event in 2015 organized on scant notice, with 1003 attendees (1000 was max capacity) … to almost 5,000 last year … to being on-target for 10,000 this year … the Annual has grown into the largest non-vendor B2B/SaaS event, somehow. Now, that is a lot of people, and perhaps even as critically, it’s a lot of content across three full days. You can’t see it all, meet everyone, and do everything.  But there are some things you can do to hack the event to get the most out of it:
  1. Get there on time every day.  We’ve carefully designed the event to maximize networking and other experiences so you not only learn from the best — but you meet as many other great founders and VPs as you can.   The key to this is
    Continue reading "How to Hack The SaaStr Annual — And Get The Most Out of It"

Framing Effects of Platforms on Price: Pricing Slack Apps (Part I)

Platform business models continue to roll across the business landscape, transforming whole industries and rewriting basic business assumptions. The popular examples are companies in the ‘sharing economy’ like Uber and AirBnB. But the transformation is equally powerful in B2B software. For B2B it is the platform that dominates the ecosystem. With many people suffering from ‘app exhaustion’ (Do I really have time and attention for another piece of software?) and companies trying to rationalize the maze of web services they have subscribed to platforms are on the rise again. They are becoming the best, and in some cases the only way, to get to industry buyers and they are critical to driving user engagement. Salesforce and its App Exchange are the classic example, but Slack is rapidly emerging as one of the best channels into the enterprise, especially for applications that need people to communicate with each other. Slack
Continue reading "Framing Effects of Platforms on Price: Pricing Slack Apps (Part I)"