The Journey

Never Quit If'

Jason Lemkin

Never Quit If …

1.  Never Quit If … You Have 10 Unaffiliated Paying Customers. And Aren’t Completely Out of Money.  It’s almost impossible to get anyone to buy any new business web services.  The last thing I need is another CRM, another invoicing app, another quoting tool, etc.  You got 10 paying customers out of the ether, that aren’t your friends, folks that work at your old company, your old boss, etc.?  That’s real.  It’s not enough.  But 8 times out of 10, it shows the earliest stages of real product-market fit, i.e., potentially having something.  More here: If You Have 10 {Unaffiliated} Customers in SaaS — You Have Something.

2.  Never Quit If … If You Were Doing 2x Better, You’d Actually Have Something.  This is my big learning from my first year at EchoSign.  It was a really tough year.  We weren’t on a path to succeed.  But we did have customers and customer growth (see point 1. above).  I built a new model and realized if we could “only” grow twice as fast — we’d have something.  Because SaaS and recurring revenue compounds.  And especially when you are in the sub-$5m range, you can almost will yourself to grow faster as long as you have some customers and some leads.

3.  Never Quit If … You Can Get to $2m in ARR from Wherever You Are, Irrespective Of How Long It Will Take.  $2m in ARR or so is Initial Traction, when the engine really will start working.  Even if it’s not working now, if you can squint and see $2m ARR on the horizon, even if it’s all the way to the end of next year … don’t quit.  What you are squinting at and seeing is the first time you’ll have a real company.  Don’t quit now.   More on this stage here: How To Know You’ve Hit First Traction In SaaS.

4.  Never Quit If … You Are > $2m in ARR and growing > 80-100% YoY.  Just never quit.  It may be tiring, it may be painful, you may lose members of the team.  But again, SaaS compounds.  Don’t quit, or probably sell, once you are finally compounding.  More here: From Initial Traction to Initial Scale (~$10M in ARR):  The Hardest Phase.  But — The Cavalry is Coming.

Published on June 11, 2016
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