Jos White, Partner at Notion Capital and Board Member at MOVE Guides, joined our London team this week to share his inspiring story of building three SaaS businesses and the major lessons that he has learned along the way.
From installation, mass adaptation and then to the cloud, Jos has witnessed the evolution of the Internet and at each stage has found a niche industry in the marketplace that was ripe for disruption. In 2009, Jos created Notion Capital and has used his vast knowledge of scaling SaaS companies towards investments in some of the hottest companies such as Concentra, Idio, The Currency Cloud, Rockabox, Shutl, Trustev and Adbrain.
During his Lunch and Learn session, Jos discussed the key lessons that he has learned throughout his journey working in the industry. As a rapidly growing company, MOVE Guides is extremely lucky to have the support and great insight from one of the world's leading SaaS experts. Below, we highlighted his top lessons for building a successful and sustainable company.
Lessons Learned Along the Way
Raise the right money from the right people
- When raising money for your company, make sure the investors are the right fit for your company. You want someone that will work with you and also add non-monetary value to your company.
Focus, focus, focus
- Especially during the early stages of a company, it is extremely important to stay focused. There are a million things going on at once and you will be pulled in many different directions, but defining your company on what you do not do is sometimes just as important as defining your company on what you do.
The story should be clear, consistent, credible and compelling
- It is imperative to be able to articulate who you are, what your vision is and why you are different from others. In addition, do not ignore the power of third party validators. Whether clients, supporters or press, having other people advocate for your company speaks volumes for being recognized as a reliable and credible company.
Product strategy and decision-making
- Have a long-term product strategy, which means think years, not just months. Also, hone in on where you see your product's biggest competitive advantage and be the best at that.
Customer engagement is a key indicator
- As a SaaS business, you have the unique benefit of seeing how customers and users interact with your product. It is very important to decide what is a good level of customer engagement and create a formula to track engagement to see how your product is being used.
Sales and Marketing not Sales v. Marketing
- Sales and Marketing need to work together as a team. They are both working on the same funnel and therefore need to be able to communicate and define that funnel together.
Punch above your weight
- Be creative and act like the company you want to be. This is a self-fulfilling mindset that will empower your team to think big and strive for greateness.
People – quality much more important than quantity
- Take the time to pick the right people for your team. Particularly in a start-up, you will be spending most of your time with these people so it is essential that they are the best at what they do and fit the company culture.
Big competitors are not as scary as you think
- One of the benefits of being a small company is that you can be nimble and make decisions quickly. As a small company, you can stand out as a new force so look forward to competing against big cumbersome giants.
Culture – definition and alignment
- Setting the company's culture and values is extremely important for building a great team for success. Making sure that each person fits the company culture should be a part of the recruitment process and daily life at your company.