Categories
Startup Entrepreneurship SaaS

There is No Plan B

When I was doing customer-development and searching for a co-founder for Avoma, people often asked me – “Are trying to throw this idea on a wall and see if it sticks?”

I hated that question.

There was no Plan B for Avoma.

I strongly believed in the problem with extensive customer research and the gap in the market.

I had a point of view to solve this problem and an ambitious vision of what the world would look like in 5-10 years.

I left the high-salaried full-time job without having a co-founder for 6 months, without having a prototype, or any sort of commitment and clarity on any milestone.

I never doubted my vision and the opportunity even though we had very (I mean really “very”) highly-funded competitors.

We had many investors rejected us because we had “many” highly-funded competitors who had already launched and were ahead of us in the market.

There is not even a single day since Avoma’s inception I ever thought about a Plan B.

There is no Plan B.

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Sales Startup

I Have Fallen In Love with Selling

I’m an engineer by training. But have fallen in love with selling.

Here is why.

Selling is personal. Share your stories. Be vulnerable.

Selling is interpersonal. Meet new people. Build relationships.

Selling is collaborative. Get help from colleagues. Strategize with the team.

Selling is disciplined. Be consistent. Make and keep promises.

Selling is scientific. Follow the process. Learn from the best.

Selling is artistic. Be creative and solve problems. Make it unique.

Selling is hard. Face many rejections. Persevere until you succeed.

Selling is addictive. Win one, two, ten. Keep winning more.

Selling is rewarding. Create impact. Make companies successful.

Selling is mysterious. Wonder why it worked. Diagnose why it didn’t work.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Startup

How Do You Hire for Passion?

In the previous post, I shared one of the hiring mistakes we did at Avoma that we hired for skills and not for passion.

But the question is still unanswered, how do you hire for passion in early-stage startups?

If I want to hire for passion in the future, I’ll ask these two questions:

1. What are your passions? (So clichéd 😊)

The goal is not to understand “what” their passion is, but “how” they talk about it.

Their passion could be about literature, painting, sports, etc. and not necessarily about early-stage startups.

But you can judge how passionately they talk about their passion, how deep they go, how do they find time to work on their passion, etc.

2. Do you have any side hustles?

The goal is to understand if they have the ambition to turn their passion into an additional income source.

It indicates their resourcefulness and creativity.

And that’s why they might have a higher chance of being more successful and instrumental in early-stage startups.

Do you agree? Is there anything that you would consider?

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Startup

Hiring for Passion, Not for Skills

In Nov 2019, we were a team of 7 people at Avoma, then by Jan 2020, we were a team of 13 people, and then by Mar 2020, we were 10 people again.

And no, these reductions are not due to COVID, but what I believe is due to passion (or lack of it).

Early-stage startups are a different beast (note, I didn’t say “hard”).

They require a different level of combination of skills and passion.

I think the mistake we made was – we primarily hired for skills and experience on resume.

But we didn’t hire for passion and grit.

We can teach new skills, product knowledge, subject domain, strategies, tactics, etc.

But I don’t think we can teach passion, drive, or grit.

I believe we should hire for passion and grit.

And then bridge the gap for skills and domain knowledge if there is any.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Marketing Philosophy Product Management SaaS Sales Startup

Know More

What separates a great salesperson from a good one?

It’s the same thing for a marketer, copywriter, engineer, lawyer, surgeon, and many others.

They know more.

There are only 3 ways they can know more:
1. They have more experience
2. They seek more knowledge
3. They continuously apply their knowledge

1. The hack to gain more experience at less age is to be more curious and take risks to work at small-scale companies.

The first job I got in 2002 after college was with one of India’s largest IT providers – Infosys.

I left it in 8 months, took a 40% pay cut, and went to work for a 100 person company.

2. The hack to seek more knowledge is to have a growth mindset and devour as many books and training as possible on the subject matter.

I’m an engineer by education, but people get surprised by how much I know about UX Design principles, Sales methodologies, or Copywriting.

All credit goes to reading a lot of books and taking online courses.

3. The hack to apply more knowledge is to try more in your day job but also do side hustles.

The only way I became an SW engineer from an HW engineer, or a product manager from an engineer, or a salesperson from a PM is – my side hustles.

So invest in yourself and know more than others.

Categories
Marketing Startup

Produce, don’t just consume.

Anyone who is creating content (including me) is seeking your attention and time.

What if, you seek your own attention and time?

Content creators want you to read their articles, listen to their podcasts, and watch their YouTube videos.

So you invest your time in reading, listening, and watching.

What if, you want to observe your world, think about new ideas, and produce great creations?

Shouldn’t you be investing your time in observing, thinking, and producing?

Produce, don’t just consume.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Philosophy Startup

Our Attitude, Action, and Ambition

Right now, most of us are trying our best to achieve our adjusted goals, but we’re still finding something is standing in our way.

And I hope it’s not one of these:

  • Our Attitude
  • Our Action
  • Our Ambition

Our Attitude

Let’s make sure we see and understand what’s occurring around us with the right mindset.

Let’s:

  • Control our emotions
  • Be objective
  • Embrace constraints
  • Think differently

Our Action

Let’s make sure we don’t keep doing the same thing, or blame society or economic conditions and, in the worst case, not do anything.

Let’s:

  • Keep moving
  • Practice persistence
  • Iterate constantly
  • Follow the process

Our Ambition

Let’s make sure our internal willpower is strong enough, so it’s not affected by the external world.

Let’s:

  • Build inner strength
  • Find a purpose bigger than ourselves

We’re in this together, and we’ll come out of this stronger.

Categories
Design Philosophy Product Management Startup

Attention to Detail Matters

Attention to detail is probably the most underrated attribute because of which many organizations are inefficient.

Every spelling or grammatical mistake, UI inconsistency, confusing copy, branding mismatch, etc., are typically considered as nitpicking and not necessary.

But these details matter.

And it starts with leaders.

If leaders don’t care, why should employees?

Attention to detail is about getting the small things right.

Attention to detail is about building a consistent habit.

Attention to detail is about building a culture of caring.

Attention to detail is about being passionate about your craft.

Attention to detail is about walking that extra mile but leaping miles ahead (in your career).

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Sales Startup

Pain Killer Vs Vitamin

Is exercising a pain killer or a vitamin? 🏋️‍♂️

Is a reading book a pain killer or a vitamin? 📖

Is eating nutritious food a pain killer or a vitamin? 🥗

Is playing sports a pain killer or a vitamin? ⛹️‍♂️

Is meditating a pain killer or a vitamin? 🧘‍♂️

All things that are essential to living a happy and healthy life don’t seem to be a pain killer. 🤔

Then why the heck while running a business, everyone advises buying only a pain killer? 🧐

Isn’t it too late to buy a pain killer to fix your broken organization?🤦‍♂️

Shouldn’t you actually be investing in running a better organization and making sure it doesn’t break all the time? 🤔

Of course, you can still buy a pain killer (or a band-aid) occasionally when the organization breaks. 💊🩹

But why be reactive when you can be proactive? 🤷‍♂️

Categories
SaaS Startup

Replying to Customer Support Issues as a CEO

As a CEO of a SaaS company, one of the most gratifying things I enjoy is – replying to Customer Support issues.

It helps me to stay grounded.

It helps me to be empathetic.

It helps me to understand what they truly care about.

It helps me to work harder to fix issues in our product, messaging, documentation, and more.