We work with passionate founders. With startups, not big companies. With someone who is product-focused, mission-oriented and decision maker. The choice we made then and has been to our mission ever since.
Industry leaders advised me, “You should not work with entrepreneurs, because they have a small pockets and demand more. They’re always confused, Mayank! Why you risk your business with unstable entrepreneurs?”.
But what could replace the energy they fill us with? Will we see the same smile on the faces of big company officials as we did on the entrepreneurs when we finally delivered their product? And what could replace those goosebumps that we got when one of our Startups got selected in Y-Combinator? Yes, you read it right! We call it ‘OUR’ Startup, we consider them as our family.
We work with Startups because:
- No one is trying to make their Boss happy 🙂
- They want to make some change in the industry; they want to disrupt the conventional way.
- They listen to our ideas; we feel we are working as teammates rather than service providers.
We don’t work with Big Enterprises because:
- Because we don’t like wearing coats, leather shoes in a meeting. We’re those guys who wear slippers, always ready in half pants.
- Too many documents, process, conversation predominate, and decidedly less is done!
- Long calls and writing MoMs (Minutes of meetings) are time-consuming and tedious.
Limiting our customers to small companies was also philosophical — some might say counter intuitive — decision about the kind of business we wanted to run.
Why do we say no to such big money?
There are two reasons. First, we wanted to build a self-managed fast moving software company. One that doesn’t rely on a large sales force to move that doesn’t need an army of key account managers keeping the whales happy. That doesn’t require us to offer extensive training for something that’s been specially made for hundreds or thousands of people at the enterprise level.
Saying yes to a company that might increase our revenue by 100x would require us to create staff infrastructure to support that suddenly.
We believe there’s strength in numbers. Not large numbers of dollars, but large numbers of customers. We’d much rather have hundreds of thousands of software companies paying us a small monthly payment than a few vast accounts covering that same amount. A diverse customer base helps insulate you; a few large accounts can leave you vulnerable to their whims.
Over the years, we have said no to a bunch of companies, institutions, and even world leaders we admire. We don’t want to bank all our risk on a small collection of big companies that require customization or special treatment. We don’t want to lose 20 percent of our business if one big account goes away. We don’t want to push the business in the direction, someone, big prefers at the expense of the small companies we love so much.
Some might wonder, “Why not just do both — sell to small businesses and also have a group of people dedicated to servicing big businesses?”
First of all, we believe if you have a large pool of customers all paying you roughly the same amount, as against a small handful of customers paying you 100x that much, you’re no longer a free company . You’ll do what they say because they pay.
Rather than being a two-headed company with two different cultures that are worlds apart, we believe small is beautiful and startups have the potential to energize our team. Selling to small businesses and selling to enterprises require two very different approaches. That’s because small businesses are so different from enterprises culminating in two sets of people with two very different methods or procedures.
We’d rather focus on one — the massive number of companies around the world that have fewer than 100 employees (and most fewer than 20). That’s more than the perfect sweet spot for us.