Being a solo software founder can be a very rewarding and freeing experience, but it is also tough work. It’s like playing a game with the hardest difficulty since you must play all classes to progress to the next level. But with the right guidance, it will be more than worth it because your company will succeed and give you more than just a return on investment.
SmartCue Founder and CEO Robin Singhvi share a wealth of tips he learned not just as a solo founder but as a first-time founder who succeeded with his company. He also talks about the beautiful story of how SmartCue won Product of the Day on Product Hunt with Host and B2B SaaS Sales Coach Matt Wolach. Watch this video, and your brand may be featured as Product of the Day!
Podcast: SaaS-Story in the Making
Episode: Episode No. 246, “Lessons for a Solo Founder – with Robin Singhvi”
Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS sales coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor
Guest: Robin Singhvi, Founder at SmartCue
TOP TIPS FROM THIS EPISODE
Build a Strong Community
Having a strong community is absolutely vital for your SaaS company’s success. Note that the adjective is “strong” and not “big.” Remember how SmartQue won Product of the Day? Singhvi credits it to his beloved community, who went above and beyond to nominate and support SmartQue. They did not just forward a generic message; they actually campaigned for SmartQue freely.
Building a community doesn’t have to be a daunting task where you try to get strangers on social media to support you. It can start with your own family, network, and first customers. In a way, your community also doubles your support system, motivating you to be better and showing you your blind spots. Even if you have a small team, you’ll still have a community that has your back and will help you make waves.
Follow a Framework
Having a process in place is very critical to be successful in business, where things are fast-paced, and market disruptions are just around the corner. For Singhvi, having a process helped his product become number one on Product Hunt and it also helped his company be the success that it is today. If Singhvi opted to “go with the flow,” the outcome would very likely be different. So anyone starting a software business needs to start with a process-oriented mindset.
There are many processes that you can apply to your business. The way Singhvi did it was to be tactical about all of his moves. He set clear goals and identify who would be responsible for a particular result and what steps they would take to arrive at the desired outcome. Singhvi also has a focused process that associates his product with the best solution for his prospects. You can also follow my Perfect D.E.A.L. Process if you have yet to create your own.
Let People Know You’re Hiring
Always be bold and let people know what you are doing, especially if you are hiring. So many founders need help finding an employee, as they are choosing to do all of the grunt work. As someone in business, you ought to have a good network of contacts who know qualified candidates for the position you are hiring for. Ideally, they would be referring them to you.
Singhvi attests that his best employees came from referrals. He said that getting your network to refer employees to you saves time because they will already have met many of the qualifications. The only work left would be to dig deeper into two or three points. Singhvi also states to let your network know exactly what you’re looking for along with your mission and vision to increase the chance of a right fit.
Talk to Your Target Audience Early
Many software founders usually think they’ll only be speaking to their target audience if they already have a product. On the other hand, Singhvi talked to his target audience before he even had a product in mind. He talked to his target market to validate the problem he identified. By doing this, he could be certain that his product was definitely needed, thereby lowering risk.
Singhvi identified that there is a gap in SaaS when it comes to software that allows sales leaders to keep their existing workflows. Before he even thought of any prototype, he spoke with hundreds of people in sales to see if this was truly a problem. Take note that he mentioned classifying whether the product would be a vitamin or a painkiller and asking how much they would pay.
Pivoting is Normal
There is this false impression that when a SaaS company is pivoting, it means they have failed or that they are in a tough spot. This is false because the nature of business is an ever-changing landscape; thus, adapting by pivoting is the only way to survive. Besides, pivoting lets your bottom line survive if you do it strategically and will also make you thrive. Do not be afraid to change or try new things.
Personalize Demos, Not Feedback
Receiving criticism is an inevitable part of being a human, and expect you to receive it a lot more in business. You do not have to take it personally when someone tells you your ideas will not work. It’s just one of the many feedbacks you will receive. Singhvi reminds you that you’ve thoroughly thought about the problem you are trying to solve. Accept the reasonable feedback and then move on.
[17:47] “Being a solo founder, you get to choose your own path, make things happen your way.”
[20:20] “When the company’s doing well, when it’s soaring, when it’s hitting new heights, that’s when it needs lots of love and attention. It’s not when they’re struggling.”
[22:46] “So having these team members and building a culture that enables them to sort of propose new ideas and approaches… It’s like the Avengers, right? It’s like having a group of superheroes that you’re trying to get together with different superpowers, all working towards the same goal.”
[19:49] “I have a college degree and I’ve learned so much more being a founder, being an entrepreneur than I did back there. So it’s pretty amazing.”
[23:31] “A lot of my mentors told me, use your resources, because I would try to do everything myself… And it’s really important to understand that you don’t have to do everything yourself. In fact, it’s better if somebody else can focus on that while you focus on other stuff.”
To learn more about Robin Singhvi and SmartQue, visit: https://www.getsmartcue.com/.
You can also find Robin Singhvi on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robinsinghvi
For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit: https://mattwolach.com/.