1. SaaS METRIC OF THE WEEK: SaaS Quick Ratio. It's a more modern measure of the 'health' of a SaaS Company (as we must have all learned by now, revenue models are not the same as business models). The SaaS Quick Ratio is calculated by dividing Gross New MRR + Expansion MRR / Downgrade MRR + MRR Churn, which gives insight into the proportion of positive growth to negative growth.
2. CAPITAL: Guess what?? Out of nowhere, 2022 sure is a buyers market in the VC world. So should raising VC money be something you should reconsider until the market settles down? It doesn't always have to be about Venture Capital or equity (and dilution) when looking to finance. Revenue-based financing is becoming a popular way for startups to raise funds without sacrificing equity with the rise of essential services such as Lighter Capital and The 20-Minute Term Sheet in the past couple of years. Here is how it works and what these financiers care about. HINT: It's ARR and growth. Here is the Founder's Guide to Venture Debt with advantages vs disadvantages of Debt vs Equity from the SaaS CFO.
3. DEAD or ALIVE? Time for some reality here. Suppose #2 above is true for your startup, and you want to try and operate with no growth capital for the foreseeable future (18-24 months?). In that case, the question is: Will your business reach profitability before running out of money? Time to read this throwback article from 2015 that dives deep into this question and also has a great visual calculator.
4. SALES TEAMS #1: Betts Recruiting release a compensation guide every year, and the 2022 version is now out (Or this is the more interactive version if you don't want the PDF). It covers salaries of some of the most important roles at high growth (mainly tech, mainly sales) companies. Big take-home: With the great resignation/great rehiring era underway, the report saw the most significant increase in compensation in 10 years! (5-15%) Which is saying A LOT considering the salaries of the last decade. Also - remote workers stay in jobs on average 1 year longer than on-prem staff. Do you hear that, Apple?
5. SALES TEAMS #2: Now that you have some great base-line metrics based on the reports in #4 above from Betts, take a good read of this article from David Sacks on the simple math you can use to set up a sales team. With Individual plans, team plans and expansions/renewals considered for a high growth sales team structure.
6. GROWTH: This week, Jason Lemkin of SaaStr was asked how fast should monthly growth be from $0 to $1M ARR? My personal takeaway from this article is that what really matters is how fast a company grows at $1m ARR (As it is highly predictive of the future, at least within a band).
7. PRODUCT DEBT: This is a nuanced (and more customer-centric spin) on Technical debt: Product Debt is just as bad as Technical Debt. It's all the decisions that have been made, often tactical and acute, without a clear product vision or sufficient consideration about the long term effects of that moment/decision. The link above also has a great case study of Google Messaging's product evolution.
8. PRODUCT VALUE: The Ying to #7's Yang. The basics of product management and building products that people need are creating value and delivering value. This article dives deep into how these types of product work differ and what conditions each type has a maximum impact (along with what problems can arise).
9. DESIGN: Bringing good design into different elements of a business is nothing new to most modern businesses. But there are specialized branches of design constantly emerging. Growth Design is one of my new favourites - merging typical HCD/Empathy Design but adding in the pragmatism of designing the jobs that need to be done by your customers.
10. CASE STUDY: Amazon's AWS remains, by quite a margin, the most widely used public cloud platform. I'm a big fan and have been tinkering there for well over a decade (hankering back to my Yammer days when AWS was basically two things: public or private servers). In fact, Amazon's profits have primarily been driven by its cloud business in recent years (in 2019: 50 per cent of operating profit with just 13 per cent of total net sales). This case study covers the entire history of AWS and is a fun read - it also puts AWS's current ARR at $70B!
POD OF THE WEEK: "Jobs to be done" isn't a phrase; it's a methodology for getting stuff done - listen more to the concept here.