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 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
SaaS Sales

Playing Chess and Selling

My 8-year old daughter has learned to play Chess during this quarantine to keep the screen time under control. 😀

So I’ve been playing Chess with her pretty much every day and realized how similar it is to Selling.

As a Chess player and as a Salesperson, you have to:

1. Think several moves ahead

2. Have a game plan

3. Follow the steps, and not play for a quick win

4. Be flexible with your plan and adjust the course as per new scenarios

5. Learn from others’ game plans and strategies

6. Practice, practice, and more practice with different types of players

7. Play with confident body language

8. Be patient, resilient, and still stay sharp

The only thing that’s different is – in Chess, another person is your opponent.

In Sales, you and prospect are on the same team.

So in Chess, you aim for a win.

In Sales, you aim for a win-win.

Categories
Product Management SaaS Sales

The Extra Effort Commitment

When we had launched Avoma, we allowed anyone to sign-up with their personal email address to try it out.

But now we stopped doing that and have added more friction. Here is why…

It’s about “The Extra Effort” they have to take to demonstrate their commitment.

With the previous approach, people were not committed.

We would follow-up with them, but they would not reply.

Neither they used Avoma actively, nor they bought it.

That makes sense, as they didn’t have any meetings on their personal calendar.

They just wanted to “check it out.”

And we had many competitors also who signed up with their personal or random email addresses “to get inspiration”. 👀😀

And it was our mistake in the first place to keep it open.

But it’s better late than never.

We finally decided to block signups from personal email addresses.

Yes, we are going to piss-off a few people and disappoint them.

Yes, we are adding more friction to the user experience.

But we want people who are willing to take that “extra effort of commitment” with Avoma.

If you sign up with your work email address, we will strive to deliver the best possible experience for you.

Sometimes you have to add more friction to provide the best experience to the right customers.