Lessons Learned From a 1000-Piece Puzzle
Putting a 1000-piece puzzle together is a real challenge. There are no fixed steps to assemble it, and you can only progress and figure it all out as you go along.
My daughter and I spent a couple of weeks (almost) completing one. There were inevitable hurdles in this little journey, but it was fun, and completing it feels rewarding (see the puzzle photo below!).
Solving the puzzle brought me familiar feelings and experiences to my B2B SaaS career on a smaller scale. It has its ups and downs, lessons, and realizations as we try to figure out our way to success. This puzzle reminded me so much of being a software founder.
When you run your SaaS startup, you may struggle to find where to start. And it is confusing to figure out how to get through it. Just like a puzzle, sometimes it does not come with a manual. But making your first step is just what you need to succeed. More than starting, solving a puzzle is much like running your company, and now that I’m a SaaS coach, it’s pretty obvious.
Here are six ways a puzzle relates to SaaS companies:
Having a Process and Systems is Key
As we started our journey into solving this puzzle, we created a system.
Similar colored pieces should be together, group them by shape, begin building the edges, and work our way into the interior. As we went through this system, we made a process that allowed us to complete the puzzle faster.
In a SaaS company, processes and systems are vital foundations. Learn to build something that works for you and your team, one that makes your work easier. And as you go through it, it can make your team more efficient. It is about getting off on the right foot.
2. Focus is Critical
We had designated areas assigned to solving the puzzle. But when we would find a piece that would work for another area, we divert our attention and fix that. It appeared that we were multi-tasking; however, it only took us longer to finish.
Ideally, being hands-on in every aspect might be great in running your company. But it is impossible in real life. You have to focus on specific areas, primarily when you have assigned the other on a team. You have your short-term goals, tasks, and areas that need your attention. When everyone in the group focuses on their own, every member can perform their best, and work can be done faster.
3. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Even though we have our parts to solve, my daughter and I still look after each other. When one of us needed help, the other would jump in to assist.
Collaboration is an essential aspect of your team. There may be tasks specifically assigned to a member or a department, but they should always give a helping hand when needed.
As a company, you are working towards a goal, and the way to effectively accomplish that is to work together and collaborate.
4. Keep Your Eyes on the Big Picture
I have mentioned that we almost completed the puzzle because our dog ate 11 pieces of it. But thinking about it, we only lost 11, have successfully put together 989 pieces, and were able to see the image, which makes our “churn” rate ~1% and completely manageable.
When you set a goal for the company to achieve, there are always inevitable struggles.
You may face fluctuations in your churn rate, which may cause you to doubt what you do. But keeping your eyes on the bigger picture allows you to see your purpose–your why. And this helps you to overcome these challenges and continue your journey.
5. Celebrate Little Wins to Stay Motivated
After a course of struggling to find the right piece, we would eventually complete one part of the puzzle. This always called for a glorious high-five, and we would congratulate each other. Recognizing these small wins along the way kept us motivated to finish the entire project.
Your main goal should not be the only thing worth celebrating in your SaaS company.
The small wins are still “wins,” and it matters as much. Rocking a presentation deserves recognition as much as getting into Google’s first page. You and your team have been working hard for so long.
Take time to pause and celebrate little wins.
And this can motivate you to reach further, do better, and achieve even more victories.
6. Enjoy the Journey
Completing this puzzle was time-consuming and sometimes frustrating.
Looking back, it seemed impossible to finish. But we made it, and it was all worthwhile. The time I spent with my daughter is invaluable to me.
In running your business, there are countless moments of doubt.
You may find yourself stuck in a situation you never wanted or lost. Focusing on these will never help you get through. It is an inevitable part of the process.
All you can do now is enjoy your journey. Because you can only do two things with struggles, either you learn from them or overcome them.
Remember that there are hidden gems along the way, so make the journey as fun as the destination.
Get Ready to Solve Your Software Company Puzzle
Starting your software company is like opening a box of a 1000-piece puzzle.
There are countless doubts about how you will begin doing it and the success of its completion. Sometimes, it does not have a complete set of instructions on how to do it, which can leave you lost and confused along the way. But the only way to find out how it would go is to take the first step in building it.
You are equipped with knowledge and experiences to start. You will be able to find out more as you go through it.
Like a puzzle, everything will come through when you keep moving forward. All struggles will be worth it. And soon, you will reach your goal and see the complete picture. Enjoy the ride!