One of the first things that SaaS company owners will tell you is how their road to success was paved with failed businesses. Early-stage companies face challenges such as limited staffing, funding, and customers in the beginning. Even more, a boom in tech companies during the pandemic is predicted to trigger a squeeze in response. So how do you overcome the coming challenges and scale your company to success? The secret is to get solid advice.
In this article, we'll cover:
- Why guidance is crucial for scaling SaaS companies
- The mistakes that companies make when searching for advice
- How to find advice for every budget
- And tips to make the most of your advice
On that note, let's get started.
Why good advice is your greatest investment
Scaling is a top priority for most SaaS companies. However, you risk investing your resources in disorganized efforts that will not pay off without good guidance. Considering that SaaS companies deal with limited resources early on, you must know what steps to take and when. If you're lucky enough to have an experienced leader already on your team, you're already better equipped to deal with this challenge, but even then, be ready to get a second opinion. Think of it like an important medical decision: The experts you choose will determine the future health of your company.
When you start your business, your first two properties are simple: Create something valuable and sell it at a profit. The details of that are where things get muddy. How do you sort through the hundreds of thousands of articles on the things that "every SaaS company MUST do?" Good advice with bad context is fruitless at best and harmful at worst. A seasoned professional will take your company's unique circumstances into account and show you when and where to take your next steps.
In a nutshell, seeking reliable advice early on helps you make better decisions for your company's long-term success.
Avoiding the biggest mistakes
The first step is to be open to receiving advice. It sounds simple, right? But many companies don't even get this far and instead commit to going at it alone. Seeking coaching or mentorship is one of the most valuable things a SaaS company can do before scaling. So what stops early-stage startups from looking for help?
Getting advice is the easy part. Taking it, however, doesn’t always come naturally. Most companies start with a DIY mentality, which is an asset because of its flexibility and openness to new information. If you question or reject advice, think about why and don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. You can also get great insights by trying to prove yourself wrong. This gives you a fuller perspective of the situation, and either shows you why your instinct was right or helps you change it and avoid making a mistake. Once you’re sure that your guidance is correct, take action.
Even the best advice is only valid if you apply it. Are you ready to hear things that you might not like about how you're operating? Can you pull back from some of the finer details to work on the larger vision of your company? Being flexible and open-minded will help you make the most of the advice you get. Remember, you don’t have to make your own mistakes to learn from them. Learn from those who have been there before. Take advantage of what worked for them, and learn from what didn’t. Good guidance helps you understand where to invest your resources without being wasteful, so your business has the highest chances of success.
For many, tight resources lead them to believe that they can't access good help. Don't fall into this trap. Part of scaling a company is learning to be resourceful. To get you started, we’ll provide a list of resources to receive advice with any budget.
Where to get expert advice
Until now, we've been focusing on how expert advice can help you scale your SaaS company. But how do you know where to find the experts? This takes a little knowledge and a good eye. There is a lot of advice out there, and at times it can seem difficult to sort through the noise and find what you need. When you're in a position to take advice, think about whether this person embodies where you'd like to be yourself in the future. This can help you evaluate whose life is most in line with your interests.
Good advice is worth a good investment, but resources can be tight, especially for early-stage startups. If this sounds like you, start small and build your way up. In this case, take advantage of some other free or low-cost options before bringing on a consultant or new staff member. You don't need to hire a full-time CMO or COO to start. Consider online resources or finding a coach or consultant first. You can also check out fractional CMOs or COOs before permanently hiring c-suite employees. Here are a couple more ideas to look at:
- Webinars and eBooks
- Online forums such as Quora and LinkedIn groups
- Business coaches or consultants
- Networking events and conferences
- Talking with other professionals in your niche
How to make the most of your advice
Now that you have some options to get you started, make the most of the advice you received. Part of this process involves setting reasonable expectations for yourself and your advisor and continuing to learn on your own. The person that you choose will direct you to your best options, but the responsibility of following through is on you.
When you find an individual to lead your efforts, take it slow. It's not uncommon to get swept up in the excitement and want to make this person a co-founder or an employee right away. Like any good relationship, take it slow and make sure that this person is what you're looking for before committing to a long-term engagement. If you love the advice right away, that's excellent. Just remember that they won't be going anywhere in the meantime and the option of bringing them on is still open for the future.
Now that you've got a valuable source of advice, ask questions. If there's something you don't understand, don't be afraid to ask. This person is here to help you learn. You can also find great resources to continue learning on your own by asking them for recommendations. Get involved with other professionals and keep up on your networking to gain broader perspectives on what you do. Remember, the business will not become successful with you alone. Find your community and put in the work to scale your SaaS company the right way from the start.
For more SaaS resources and SaaS marketing strategy visit our SaaS Marketing page.