Q: What is the greatest business secret in the world?
I don’t really know literally the greatest business secret in the world, but let me add a few that are not obvious:
- You can reach almost any CEO or executive via cold email. Yes, it works. Almost every top exec reads their email every day. If you craft literally the world-best email, it will get read by almost any leader. Some examples here: Email is Amazing. You Just Have to Use It Properly. | SaaStr
- At least at some point, no one cares where you went to school. A top education and diploma can help a lot in the early days, and sometimes after. But most top CEOs I know don’t really care where anyone on their team went to school. I know I don’t even know where my team went to college.
- Brands can last almost forever, so nurture them. Even in software. This may not be a secret per se, but most founders don’t get it. But as soon as you have 100, maybe 500, happy customers … you have the beginning of a true brand. Even at $10m ARR, you may have a top emerging brand in your category. That advantage can literally last decades if you keep investing in it. More here: In The Early Days, You Won’t Have Enough Customers. But Your Mini-Brand Will Come to Your Rescue.
- After you have happy customers, even just a few — you only lose if you quit. Is this a secret? It shouldn’t be, but somehow, folks don’t get it. Even after just a few million in ARR, nothing can really stop you. At least, if your customers and happy and your churn is low. Just keep doing it. Add better features. Close another customer like your last customer. Keep going. Good software built by good teams just gets more good over time. More here: Never Quit If
- Power Laws are the secret to making real money. So go long. Really long if you can. It’s so hard to get from $0 to $1m ARR. $1m to $10m is tough. $10m to $100m is tons of work. But then you start to see real power laws come into play. Imagine you own say 10% of a start-up. Once it’s worth $100m — a ton and years of work — you’re worth $10m. Incredible! … But that startup will keep growing. It’s SaaS, after all. As it becomes a unicorn, you could be worth $100m. After an IPO? $300m. So if you have something, keep going. Go longer — especially in SaaS. It’s hard to see the impact of power laws in the short term. But valuation compounds with an awesome impact over time. Hubspot, as one example, IPO’d at $750m in valuation and closed at $880m. Wow! But today basically the same company is worth $20 billion. Basically the same software, just with a few years of continuous upgrades and improvements. But really, sort of the same core.