I've worked in investments to management consulting to large conglomerates, but let me tell you, being a founder is a whole different ball game. There's one aspect that is even more challenging and stands out as the toughest of the tough - REVENUE.
As Chief Operating and Commercial Officer and Co-founder, my primary mission was to drive revenue, and it was an incredibly challenging journey. There have been valuable lessons that were learned the hard way, often from making mistakes. These insights could have saved me a lot of pain and frustration.
So, here it is - the top 10 things I wish I had known about revenue before diving headfirst into my role as a co-founder:
Growth ≠ Revenue: Chasing short-term revenue, early on, might not be the best strategy. Identify and focus on the right kind of growth metrics first.
Narrow Your Focus: Your initial commercialisation efforts should feel uncomfortably narrow. Trying to serve everyone can lead to serving no one effectively.
Customer Profiles and Pricing: Invest time in defining your ideal customer profile and pricing strategy. Get them right early, but be open to evolution.
Beyond Acquisition: Customer acquisition is just part of the story. If your product isn't ready or your support is lacking, you'll face churn, making revenue growth challenging.
Deliver on Promises: Ensure you can deliver the value you promise and charge the right amount for it. Overdelivering might sound great, but it can leave revenue on the table.
Transparent Sales Calls: Be candid. Time is a commodity, and quick 'no's are as valuable as quick 'yes's.
Customer Value: Not all customers are equal. Some bring more than just money; they provide feedback, brand recognition, and more. Identify and prioritise them.
Efficient Inbound: Use marketing and SEO as fishing nets to catch inbound leads. Automate these processes to free up time for pursuing high-value customers.
Enterprise Sales Reality: Understand that enterprise sales take time and come with additional complexities. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to change this; accept it or move on.
Upsell Strategy: Prepare for upselling to existing customers, it’s far cheaper to upsell than acquire. But balance it with your product roadmap, focusing on adjacent features first.
Remember, revenue is the lifeblood of your startup. Learning these lessons early can make a world of difference. Keep building, keep growing, and keep learning!
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