So I hope you had a great December, added a great VP or two this year, won some bigger deals, and in general — you’re feeling good.  And that you’ve even got a decent financial plan for next year already put in place.  Even better!

I hope so.  After a challenging year for many, that’s better than most ;).  But in any event, hopefully you’ve put together a 2024 plan, both a Stretch and a Base.  And back-up plan so you don’t burn all the cash.  More on that here:

With all that behind you … let me challenge you to 10 SaaS New Year’s Resolutions.  Pick a few that work for you:

  • Just Get That Key VP Hire Done in Q1.  Period.  Not in April.  Not by June.  Enough with the excuses for not having hired your real VP of Sales, or that VP of Engineering, or whatever.  Get it Done.  From now until Mar 31, make this your #1 priority.  Hire a real recruiter.  Force yourself to meet 30 additional candidates.  Meet at least one new candidate every single day.  Once you hit Initial Traction, nothing really matters but the team.  Drop other stuff to get this hire done.  Drop almost everything else to get that one critical, missing VP hired in Q1.
  • If You Didn’t This Year, Increase Pricing For New Customers in Q1 — The Right Way.  By Adding Even More Value.  Pricing is a nuanced topic.  It’s really all about deal size in most SaaS companies, not raw per seat or per unit pricing.  But anyhow — in January, find a way.  If nothing else, ask for at least 20% more in your biggest deals — and earn it.  Add a new edition.  Do it in a customer-centric way.  And probably grandfather in your older customers, something almost everyone did poorly in 2023.  But it’s time for an upgrade here.  And if you don’t think you can support higher pricing yet, that’s OK.  That will force you and the team to add more value to your product to pull it off.
  • Burn Less — But Spend More.  Yes, this is possible.   Burn less than the base plan you just made.  But that doesn’t mean spend less.  It actually means spend more — just in accretive ways.  Deploy more $$$ into programs that work.  And less $$$ into things where you don’t understand the ROI.  Hire more sales reps in the areas where they are profitable.  Hire more engineers that can build features that help you close six-figure deals.  Do more pre-paid deals, even multi-year pre-paid deals.  Once you are past $2m-$3m in ARR, you can spend more and burn less, if you are super smart about how you do it.   More here.
  • Get on More Zooms with Customers and Visit More Customers In-Person.  Do you Zoom with 5+ customers a week?  Do you visit customers in person at least twice a month?  No?  Well, you’ll lose those customers.  Or at least, they won’t buy as much from you.  Get on a jet.  Marc Benioff still does.  If he still does – what’s your excuse?  More here.
  • Increase Your Customer Events.  Events don’t have to cost $10m+ like the SaaStr Annual.  You can get almost as much out of a simple customer steak dinner or two.  Do 2x the customer events you did last year.   Fill them 50% with existing customers, and 50% with prospects.  This works.  Double the pace of last year.  And if last year was zero — then start in Q1.  Not Q2.   More here.
  • Top Someone.  Stretch VPs are great.  They’re usually the way to go.  And go long on your team.  Generally, they can scale and go further than you think.  But not all of them.  It’s time to top someone that won’t scale all the way to December.  Be loyal, do it the right way.  But don’t let too much time go here.  You’ll know when they’ve reached their limits.  If they already have, recognize that and find their new boss.  Just remember, the best can scale further than you think.  More here.
  • Get More Agile (in Product).  Most SaaS companies get less agile over time.  Feature debt, security debt, QA debt, it all adds up.  Pretty soon you aren’t really pushing out as many features as you used to.   Stop this in Q1.  Add a new team just focused on cool features.  Add a new team just focused on integrations.  Upgrade the mobile team.  Figure out what you can do with data.  Pick something.  Pick one place you can add to dev to be more agile.  Not less.
  • Grow As Fast or Faster Than the Competition.  Period.  Competition is a nuanced topic.  But one thing is a constant — you should be able to grow at least as fast as your competition on a percentage basis.  Especially your larger competition.   If you’re not growing as quickly, do a real root-cause analysis.  And fix it.  Competition can split markets, and capital can be an offensive weapon in hyper-competitive markets.  But if you have happy customers, if it’s working — there’s at least no excuse to grow more slowly on a relative basis than the competition.  More here.
  • Find a New Mentor.  And Pay Up to Get Them.  It’s a new year, and by the end of it, you’ll almost be a whole new company.  It’s time to add a new mentor to help you scale.  And pay up.  The best ones don’t work for free.  I don’t mean cash, I mean a fair amount of equity.  The folks that helped you get to $1m, to $5m, to $10m, etc. are still great.  But add to your mentor team.  Being a CEO isn’t a lonely job on a daily basis, but too many tough decisions are made too solo, without a good mentor.  Add one to the team.
  • Drive Up Your NPS.  And Set a Big Goal and Make it Everyone’s Goal.  I know you’ve heard this from me before (more here).  But with so many 1000s of SaaS vendors now, often 100s in any category, brands matter more than ever.  Because there’s vendor fatigue.  Too many SaaS companies selling too many products.  Happy customers and second-order revenue are your best secret weapon.  More than ever.  Most importantly, make it a company-wide goal.  Make everyone in the company in charge of driving NPS up to 50, or up 10 points, or whatever goal is appropriate.  Make it a goal for everyone – and magic will happen.
  • Invest in Your Brand and Customer Marketing.  Once you are at even $2m-$3m in ARR, you’ll have a mini-brand.  Even 100 happy customers will start spreading the word.  This is the one investment everyone skimps on, but always works.  Put a significant portion of your marketing budget for this year into customer marketing.  This will drive up your net retention, drive down your churn, and drive up NPS.  More on Customer Marketing here.

Ten+ ideas for your SaaS New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m betting at least 1 or 2 are good ones to add to your list.  That, and getting to the gym more often.


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