Today’s SaaS startups face so many challenges. It takes more than hard work to get a business going. Luck plays a role. Restless days. Sleepless nights. Stressful meetings. Nervous pitches.
But you’ve soldiered through those, and you’ve got a solid company that’s got more than a fighting chance in the industry. Would you call that a success?
Yes, you can, but you can’t stop there—you’ve got a lot more to do. Maintaining your company is synonymous with sustaining your success, but it’s not equal. Some businesses crash and burn fairly quickly; others bleed out, trying to survive for months and even years. You don’t want that to be your story!
You’re in this for the long run, right? Here’s some advice to help you think long-term and maintain a successful business.
1. Don’t Ever Be Satisfied
You can take the time to bask in the warm light of success and well wishes for being able to start your business. However, keeping yourself in that position for too long will be more harmful than helpful.
In addition, down the road, don’t let one success get in your head either. Get too hung up on one milestone and you’ll be sure to miss the next one—much worse, ignore quick changes that need to be made to sustain success.
Don’t get so satisfied with a single achievement that you can’t make yourself move on. Think that way and the whole world will pass you by.
Overconfidence can be dangerous on both a business and a personal level. Ego and pride are shown in a bad light when overconfidence strikes.
While it’s not bad to celebrate a significant accomplishment for your SaaS startup, don’t stay in the same place forever. You’ve shown and proven that you can achieve something. What’s stopping you from gunning for another one—or better yet, a higher achievement?
2. Find Mentors Who Know the SaaS Space
If there’s one person who will make you a better entrepreneur, it’s a mentor, someone who can guide and help you avoid the pitfalls of business. That person’s experience and wisdom are invaluable, and lessons that person can teach you will always come in handy, especially in unexpected situations.
Take your time when selecting mentors. There are types to avoid, like the ones who want to control everything you do with your business or the ones who tell you what to do and then sulk when you don’t heed their advice (most likely because they’re plain wrong in the first place).
While it may certainly be a very proud moment for you to go at things alone and succeed in the end, think of how many failures you could have avoided simply because you didn’t know what to do during a crisis. Having a mentor doesn’t guarantee your success, but at the very least you can save yourself from rookie mistakes.
3. Never Stop Learning
Research is an essential process if you want to know the state of the industry you’re in. It was also one of the most important procedures when you decided to start your business. But just because you’re already a flourishing entity doesn’t mean you should stop researching—and learning.
Technology changes as quickly as days come. Being part of a SaaS startup, you know this better than most.
Similarly, continue to grow on a personal level. You’ve got your mentor/s with wisdom to impart; ignoring them will be, at the very least, disrespectful. There are also many resources online – from blogs to educational sites – to help you keep up to date. Take advantage of them!
You’ve only just begun. You may think you’ve done your research, but that was just preparation for the first phase of your journey. What about the next steps? Research, learn, and prepare.
4. Use Your Networks
Most likely by this point, your SaaS business has solidified your initial concrete resources, like money and a workforce, and abstract resources, like knowledge, trust, and loyalty. These made starting a SaaS company possible. At the same time, don’t forget that you also have other assets you can use to your advantage.
As people say, “It’s a small world.” Often you’ll discover that you know one person that someone else in your circle never expected you’d know. Remember that the opposite is also true: You never know who they know. They may be your bridge to the friend of the cousin of the CEO or contact you’ve been trying to reach.
Build your network. Use your connections—and your connections’ connections and your connections’ connections’ connections (you get the idea)—to get noticed.
5. If You Must Fall, Learn to Do It Safely
Let’s face it. A victory won at too great a cost is no victory at all. You may have won the battle, but the war is as good as lost.
If you find yourself in a bad bind, expending all your resources just to fix it is considered pyrrhic. It’s a short-term (maybe even a band aid) solution for your long-term investment. By the time you’re out of the jungle, you’ll have nothing left to stay afloat.
At the same time, failure isn’t always a bad thing. Take your hits and learn from them. That’s a sure path to ultimate success.
Let your strengths shine and focus your priorities on growing and learning. The more you spend time on your priorities, the more fruits you can reap from your efforts. Don’t lost sight of your objectives, and keep soldering on. Do that and your SaaS startup will be sure to succeed!
Ready to learn more about how to improve your SaaS business? Read “How the Software Industry Can Benefit From Customer Visual Engagement.”
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About Rick Enrico
Boss, Jeff. “4 Best Practices to Avoid Startup Failure.” Entrepreneur. November 7, 2014.
Cohen, David. “Three Steps to Finding a Business Mentor.” Entrepreneur. November 14, 2011.
Tan-White, Wendy. “HOW TO: Sustain Momentum After Startup Success.” Mashable. April 6, 2011.
Wagner, Eric T. “Five Reasons 8 Out of 10 Businesses Fail.” Forbes. September 12, 2013.