Building a company comes with successes and struggles along the journey. Founders learn a lot from these as they experience them at different stages. And it helps them align their motivations, actions, and decisions towards the betterment of the company.
In this episode of SaaS-Story in the Making, B2B SaaS Sales Coach and host Matt Wolach and Paddle’s Founder and CEO, Christian Owens talk about the company’s journey to reaching a $1.4 Billion valuation today from zero. As a company that started almost 10 years ago, Owens has gathered valuable lessons and experiences before getting to what Paddle is today that is important for SaaS founders to learn from.
Podcast: SaaS-Story in the Making
Episode: Episode No. 218, “How this Company Raised $1.4 Billion Valuation”
Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS sales coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor
Guest: Christian Owens, Founder, and CEO at Paddle
TOP TIPS FROM THIS EPISODE
Begin your First Steps
Most businesses start with a pain they want to solve. But building it alone will not be possible. Creating a tool or a company out of it requires expertise in the field, proper funding, and a market to sustain its existence.
In Owens’ case, he started Paddle at the age of 18 with the motivation of building a tool that is needed by companies. It stemmed from a personal struggle of creating invoices to being able to provide software for it. But it became successful with taking the first steps right. Owens acquired an investor that did not only help with funding but also provided knowledge that contributed to the growth of Paddle.
He said, “He helped us kind of see around those corners and not make some of the easy mistakes that we could have done.” The initiative, adequate funding, and learning from the right people have helped Owens in his early days. Wanting to turn your vision into reality starts with taking the first steps. And it’s essential to do it right to have a strong foundation for your company’s development.
Solve the Problem, Don’t Just Build a Solution
Customers have pain that they want to solve and this is what companies should aim for.
Paddle started as a tool that was framed from Owens’ experiences and pains. And he said, “We started the business knowing the problem that we wanted to solve, but not necessarily how we were going to solve it.” It revolved around the idea of creating it according to what they know. Eventually, they have learned that it is important to reach out and have conversations with founders, other CEOs, and potential clients. This is to learn more about the tool that they are trying to develop and shape it in a way that would solve their pain.
This is also why every decision matters in every stage of the company. Because not only it would save you time, but also be able to accelerate growth. It would also help if companies are going to be realistic when turning huge ideas into action. Owens shared that being pragmatic helped them still achieve their goal of solving their market’s problem in different forms of action as they maintained to revolve around their aim.
Show Companies That You Can Do Better
One thing that hinders SaaS companies from acquiring clients is when their products can be potentially built by clients as well. They have to prove to the market that they can better provide this tool to solve the pain, rather than showing that it is easy for the company to create it on their own.
Owens shared, “It went from initially, this is all boring stuff that you don’t want to do, too. Today, it’s much more about the kind of, we can do this much better than you can.” And they have successfully positioned themselves this way by educating their prospects. Not only were they able to create a tool to help clients “scratch their own itch,” but they have built a tool that solved the client’s problem. This is why educating and associating your product with their problem is important. It allows you to inform your clients about what needs to be fixed while positioning your product as the answer, leading to more sales and closed deals.
Foster a Healthy Company Culture
The success of the company means an effective process and a great company culture. As your team grows, the approach, goals, and actions taken should adapt to maintain a consistent process. Starting as a small company allows you to have immediate consultation from everybody on the team. However, as members add up, you may have been put into the position to guide and be hands-on in ensuring the functionality of each team.
Owens has become successful in establishing a great culture for Paddle. The autonomy given to every department helped them in maximizing their potential in doing what they ought to do. Today, instead of being in charge directly of the development of the product, he ensures the stability of the business by making sure that every department functions well. This helped them achieve growth and have the motivation to make the business as big as it can get.
Establishing a great internal process, hiring the right people, and letting them do what they are good at allows the company to develop. And individual improvement helps with the faster achievement of goals.
[13:45] “We have a big vision and big goals and big ideas. But we’re very pragmatic in the execution of which and I think that was sort of the genesis of that, like being willing to pivot the business from the original idea, but around the same hypothesis, because ultimately, the goal was to solve the problem, not necessarily to build a certain solution.”
[14:46] “It went from initially it was like, this is all boring stuff that you don’t want to do, too. Today, It’s much more about, we can do this much better than you can.”
[19:33] “It’s on you as the CEO to actually kind of make that call and make sure that everybody feels comfortable in making that decision on their own.”
[23:15] “So the decisions that you make in the first two years of the business, they feel like they have little impact. But actually, if you can make what is a two three-year process be a one year process.”
[08:19] “I think the lesson here is, first of all, when you take on investors make sure that they’re just more than money that you’re using them for their knowledge, their experience, their connections, their their know-how beyond just the dollars,”
To learn more about Christian Owens and Paddle, visit: https://www.paddle.com/
You can also find Christian Owens on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christianowens/
For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit https://mattwolach.com/.