Dear SaaStr: What are Some Red Flags That Signal You Shouldn’t Take a Start-up Job?
A few B2B/SaaS specific thoughts.
1. Don’t join a B2B/SaaS start-up that won’t share its revenue and current growth rate with you — and its Zero Cash Date. It’s fine if it’s pre-revenue if that’s when you want to join, or super-early, or mid-stage. But SaaS and B2B are about scaling revenue. If they won’t share this — there’s a good chance it’s a dog. And they also have to share how long their cash will last. Startup folks are OK taking some risk there. They just need to know how much.
2. Don’t join a B2B/SaaS start-up where you don’t believe in the CEO. This may sound obvious, I know. But the CEO in SaaS/B2B is almost always the Chief Customer Officer, the Chief Marketing Officer, and often, the best salesman. If you don’t believe … who else will? Well, maybe they will. But it won’t be a good cultural fit for you.
3. Don’t join a SaaS start-up if you don’t like at least the idea of the product. This doesn’t mean you have to love it. B2B isn’t TikTok or Minecraft. You don’t have to use the product you are selling, marketing, or building yourself every single day. But you have to at least like the idea of what you are building and delivering. The features may be boring. That’s OK in SaaS. But you have to be interested in the mission of the product. Not everyone wants to change the world of expense management. That’s OK. But then probably don’t do that one.
4. Don’t join a B2B/SaaS start-up if you don’t like customers. Customers complain. They are demanding. They expect something when they pay. Some folks get jazzed about this. Others find it a constant source of annoyance. They’d rather have users — not customers. If you aren’t customer-centric, don’t do B2B/SaaS. Do B2C or something with “users” or “eyeballs”.
And 9 questions here to ask the CEO of a startup you are thinking of joining: