Dear SaaStr: What is the best advice you have received from a mentor?
I’ll make a short list:
#1. When you don’t know what to do — go visit your customers
A Zoom is not the same. An email is not the same. Go visit them — in person. Especially when times are tougher. Especially when … you don’t know. Your customers know one thing — how you can at least double. They have your roadmap to double. Not always to 10x, but to double. A related post here.
#2. Become a tenacious recruiter
This is hard for 95% of us, but you can learn it. Learn to interview 30 folks for every position. Learn how to spend 20% of your time recruiting. Learn to block off time every morning or every day for recruiting. You are your team. A related post here.
#3. Don’t let the good ones go
Sometimes, your best teammates just need to move on, found their own company, get that VP role somewhere else, etc. But often they don’t. Often they will stay. Promote them. Say you are sorry. Fix frayed cofounder relationships. Give them some space. Let them run. Let them do it their way. Don’t let the good ones go. A related post here.
#4. Find a great mentor — for the tough decisions
Do you really have one? Someone you can talk to about the 2–3 decisions a quarter, or really even a year, that really matter? That can help you see the other side of the issue? To slow it down, when maybe it’s better to wait? To take a risk you aren’t sure of? This is where a great mentor can help. On those 2–3 decisions that matter. Find one. We often make the wrong call on those key decisions because it’s just tough to see it all clearly. We’re almost too present sometimes to make the right decisions on high-stress, high-stakes calls.
#5. You will probably get another chance — if you go long
It’s OK to say No to an M&A offer if you are doing fine. It’s horrible to lose a key customer, but you’ll get another like them if you keep at it, improve, and do better. It really hurts when a big partner chooses to work with a competitor instead of you. But they may still work with you in 1, 2, 3 years from now. In a space that is growing, you’ll likely get another chance if you stay in the game. Stay in the game.
And a related post here: