Jason M. Lemkin, CEO and co-founder of EchoSign, shares his advice for overcoming the challenges your company will face during the most difficult stage of SaaS growth — going from initial traction to achieving scale.
The hardest phase of SaaS, at least for the founders, is the phase from initial traction ($1 – $2 million in annual recurring revenue, plus 100% year over year growth, plus 50% of new customers from zero-cost marketing) to the next phase — initial scale.
Anytime a company makes the transition from the startup phase to the expansion stage, there are going to be growing pains.
The simple truth is that as companies expand, they naturally become more complex and begin to face an entirely new set of problems. And that reality is something Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of SEOmoz, is very familiar with.
Moving from startup to expansion stage is both a triumph and a trial for any company. Rand Fishkin, co-founder and CEO of SEOmoz, outlines the path for transitioning from break-neck development to a focus on scaling your products and services.
Rand Fishkin started SEOmoz in 2004, and, aside from a small round of Series A funding in 2007, the software company survived and grew without substantial investment until 2012. SEOmoz’s 2012 round injected $18 million into the company coffers and was, as Fishkin recently described in a conversation with OpenView, “a huge accomplishment” for his company after four years on the investment roadshow.
Does the fear of losing your company’s innovative spirit keep you up at night? Board of Innovation co-founder Philippe De Ridder shares the secrets to reversing your transition into a sluggish corporate giant.
It isn’t exactly controversial — or incorrect — to suggest that as expansion-stage companies scale, they often run the risk of evolving into the lumbering Goliaths they used to run circles around.
Open-door policies and relaxed vacation plans disappear. Executive and managerial hierarchy forms. And previously non-existent departmental silos begin to smother the collaborative nature of the organization.
In a matter of a time, a formerly lean, innovative startup has turned into a slow-moving, unresponsive, process-obsessed corporation.
In part one of a three-part series on software scalability, former PayPal executive and serial entrepreneur Mike Fisher addresses the three things that can help (or prevent) growing software businesses from scaling efficiently.
When technology startups begin the process of scaling their business, they often rely on what veteran technology executive and AKF partners co-founder Mike Fisher describes as a “Law of the Instrument” approach.
“It’s akin to the old hammer-and-nail analogy – when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” says Fisher, who served as PayPal’s VP of Engineering and Architecture as the company began to scale in the early 2000s, and has authored two books on the art and process of scalability. “Along those lines, if you’re a technologist, the default is to try to fix or address everything by improving or evolving the technology.”
Unfortunately, Fisher says, scaling a technology company requires much more than that.
WP Engine and SmartBear founder Jason Cohen discusses the bare necessities of software success: intuition, testing, validation, and iteration — all based on frequent interaction with your users.
It’s the classic startup tale: a company is founded on one idea, and then pivots dramatically after market feedback. SmartBear Software founder Jason Cohen describes his company’s shift once early adopters saw the true potential of his product and led SmartBear to the honeypot (achieving product market fit).
Always one to break the mold, the Moz CEO offers up his unique take on making your way in the startup world with this unlikely entrepreneur advice.
If you wanted to play it safe, you’d have some cushy (and probably boring) job at a well-established, stable corporation. But since you’re interested in startups, odds are you like to create your own lane. So why, then, would you subscribe to the boilerplate advice to all would-be CEOs? If you’re looking to differentiate yourself, Rand Fishkin has the unlikely entrepreneur advice you’re looking for at his personal blog at Moz.
Is it possible to maintain a thriving culture of innovation even after you make the move from the startup stage into growth? Silicon valley legend Steve Blank offers his advice in Part II of our interview.
We were lucky enough to sit down with serial entrepreneur-turned-educator Steve Blank recently to get his take on an incredibly interesting — and important — question: Is it possible for a company to keep its innovative edge once it’s no longer a startup? In Part I of our discussion, Blank explained what makes it so often difficult for companies to maintain a culture of innovation as they begin to scale and move into the expansion stage.
Now in Part II of our interview, he dives into the keys to achieving “continuous innovation,” and why the concept is so critical to the future of corporate development and entrepreneurship.
The breathless mentality that fuels startups is ideal for a company’s early days, but it doesn’t age well. SEOmoz co-founder and CEO Rand Fishkin explains that as companies mature into the growth stage, that fast-paced approach can sometimes do more harm than good.
A Better Motto for Scalable Company Growth
As your company grows, so should your approach to leading it. In a recent interview with OpenView, Fishkin explained that changing his mindset around speed was the first major shift he had to make.
In your quest to increase speed and automate everything, don’t forget about all the lessons you can learn from the things that don’t scale.
If your main focus is scaling your business through automation, you’re probably missing on the valuable insights from good ‘ol human interaction. Easing off the scaling accelerator allows you to take a closer look at some of the processes that you’ve possibly overlooked for a while. In this article, 37signals co-founder Jason Fried explains why his company stopped obsessing over automation and started embracing the things that don’t scale.