A successful founder’s approach to building and scaling an efficient SaaS business is more than just following a lean SaaS business plan and creating a product which engages customers.
At Golden Section we focus on helping founders build products that provide an ROI to its users, so it’s about delighting them as well as having a measurable impact on the customer.
Understanding that there are challenges in growing a SaaS company, the leadership at Golden Section put together playbooks with 100’s of plays in order to help B2B SaaS founders navigate their journey alongside a B2B SaaS growth strategy. We help founders build high functioning teams, scale their B2B software products, and manage the important task of building and managing boards. But all of those goals are in service of a SaaS business plan with a clear roadmap which a founder must develop on their journey towards a meaningful exit in five years.
Alongside best practices in SaaS sales, we believe that a founder focused twist to the traditional venture studio model is the future, and look to impart a framework with the companies we partner with where the vision, mission, and values are in lockstep.
What it is, and why it’s important
Ultimately, why are vision, mission, and values important? Having those elements in place can mean the difference between success and failure when building high growth B2B software companies focused on efficient and sustainable revenue-growth based on a solid SaaS strategic plan. Not only does it set up the founder to lead effectively, it gives the organization a roadmap for when they hit the inevitable bump in the road.
What this looks like for a founder
How do mission, vision, and values play into the day-to-day operation of a SaaS company, and why should a founder care?
An example of underperformance is a founder without a clear vision who is not committed with maniacal focus to solving a big problem, or who is only interested in making money (and cashing out) instead of providing as much value to her customers. Without a clear and committed vision, we see founders who constantly pivot or are chasing the next big idea or trend (blockchain, crypto, etc.) instead of staying the course with a clear SaaS company business plan. While oftentimes aspirational, a clear vision sets the tone, drives the startup, and rallies investors, employees, and customers around providing an outsized solution to a major problem.
A lack of vision conveys to the team a void where there should be strong leadership, and is reflected in the faith customers also have in the product. As such, the vision for an organization is the top of the mountain, where the founder can look into the valley and see a world of what could be.
The day to day
The daily habits of an organization define their success with Aristotle famously stating: “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” What starts at the top with a clear vision can quickly be lost if there is not a clear mission for employees to execute against. The mission is the tactical aspects of the business, with the B2B SaaS strategy put forth for the next 3-5 years. With the mission a founder can attach KPIs and track the progress of how their team is doing.
The mission is the daily activities the organization is working to accomplish against the vision’s goal, and as an example can be the product a B2B SaaS company offers its clients, or the quality of service it offers supporting that product. From a founder’s perspective a strong mission supports the running of the operation, and not needing to give employees direction for every decision that needs to be made. This enables a founder to focus on what is most important, which in our opinion, is focusing on a software growth strategy, and the efficient allocation of revenue towards building product, marketing, and sales.
What can ruin you
Values are probably the easiest to articulate as a founder (hopefully) understands what doing the right thing means. Values are the guardrails of a mission statement. The actions a founder and their team take, such as being truthful with customers, and being open with investors have the deepest ramifications for their business. Silicon Valley has long had a values problem with companies where growth at all costs was the highest attainable achievement. At Golden Section we’re not interested in how startups are built on the coasts, we partner and invest in founders and companies which are focused on revenue growth, capital efficiency, and a stable ARR.
When a founder trusts her gut regarding a decision, such as who to take money from, or if to hire a certain employee, her values drive her to make that correct decision. When no one is watching an employee, and they do the right thing for a potential customer, that is values at play. Values are actions which not only lead to success, but make one proud of how they got there.
In service of alignment
All of this ultimately leads to alignment. From a founder’s perspective getting clear on vision, mission, and values can help steer the organization towards success. Also, having those elements clear along with a SaaS company business plan can assist with building a board, what investors to take money from, and whom to partner with. As we see it, from an investment perspective, it also helps the investors get aligned with the founder in order to reach the same positive outcome, enable the founder to maintain a significant percent of equity ownership, and ultimately journey towards a meaningful exit.