35 Things I Learned Working at a SaaS Startup

  1. Everyone’s faking it until they make it.
  2. Accountability systems DO increase productivity
  3. Focus more on customer satisfaction than marketing — because satisfied customers are the best marketing.
  4. Keep overhead low and team motivation high.
  5. Talk about the elephant in the room.
  6. Don’t see failures as setbacks, they are perfect learnings.
  7. User-experience design is not for programmers or engineers, it’s for users.
  8. Infuse your brand emotion into every part of business development
  9. Content creation is a lot more interesting when you’re honest and funny.
  10. Self-promotion content is often boring and not read
  11. Getting published in Huffington Post & Inc magazine is easier than you think.
  12. If you’re investing in a company, look at their numbers more than their “pitch”.
  13. A sales team is only as good as the product that it stands behind. If expectations are too high, and then suddenly drop when your product is received, churn is huge.
  14. Overselling and under-delivering are a hard business to keep going.
  15. Over delivering in service and customer support always pays off.
  16. Partner with early adapters, allow them to be a part of the development.
  17. Develop for your ideal customers, your prime customers, your most profitable ones — not everyone.
  18. Stop trying to please and keep everyone, it costs too much and isn’t worth it.
  19. Invest the most in UI/UX design, decrease your investment in overhead or looking prestigious — that will come.
  20. No matter how big you look online, in publications or at awards ceremonies, your business is still what you are on paper at the moment.
  21. Your customer’s success is your success — if you’re not helping them be more successful, you’re not successful.
  22. Praise your customers first, don’t wait for praise.
  23. Don’t ask for fake online reviews, work hard for real customer reviews.
  24. Make your product lean and adaptable so you can keep up with the velocity of the industry.
  25. Decide if you’re going to do customizations. If you offer them, make sure you can do them and they are profitable for you.
  26. Share wins with the team.
  27. Keep your team a team, let go of hierarchy and run like a team.
  28. Take cancellations seriously, take a learning from each customer that decides to leave.
  29. Integrate your sales and customer success teams so that they work together cohesively — if there’s friction here, your customers will suffer and they will leave.
  30. Create systems for feedback loops within the company. Make it easy for every department to make change requests, bring attention to issues and find out information on updates.
  31. Don’t shoot the messenger! When you find bugs, issues, or any problem — thank the messenger and act on it right away.
  32. Encourage bug catchers and change makers
  33. Don’t rest until your key customers are raving fans.
  34. Never mock your customers from customer support or technical support (even though they will never know) — learn from their frustrations and confusions, those are your fault. Take responsibility.
  35. The more value you give, the more value you will create. If your focus is on helping your customers and employees without requiring immediate returns, your long term value will grow.

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