When we first launched Ground Up back in October, one of the first episodes we recorded was around the ideas, strategies, and insights behind acquiring your first 100 customers.
It was around this time when Databox had surpassed the 100 customer count, so I talked with our CEO, Pete Caputa, to learn more about what got us there and how it compared to his previous experience at HubSpot.
Following that precedent, Pete and I recorded our most recent episode as Databox passes the 400 active customer mark.
It was our goal from the beginning to not only share stories from exceptional companies and entrepreneurs but to also share our story as we continue to scale.
What followed was a rich conversation around the things that change after 100 customers, including the things that gets easier, the things that get harder, as well as the biggest things that need to change in order to ensure that next phase of growth.
This one is a note-taker, but I’ve included two of my favorite soundbites from Pete below. Enjoy, and see you at 1000.
What gets easier?
“Sleeping at night becomes a little bit easier.
Everyone takes a lot of risks to start a company. The team that started Databox had been at it for years trying to figure out how they could acquire customers, nail product market fit–so once we got to 100 customers I felt like it was a reasonably safe assumption that we could get our next 100, and next few thousand, probably the next few tens of thousands of customers, because we had figured out something compelling. Compelling for them to buy and continue to use.
It wasn’t like we woke up one morning and that happened, but through iteration, experimentation, and listening to feedback from those first 100 customers, we felt a lot more confident that we had a product that we could sell to lots of companies.
So sleeping becomes easier. Because you know the risks that people took to join the company weren’t too foolhardy.”
What gets harder?
“Pretty much everything changes after 100 customers, assuming you’re going to grow past that.
That first 100 is pretty experimental. There really isn’t a lot of value in writing out processes because chances are they’re going to be different. There’s not a lot of value in trying to perfect the website or product description because, once again, that’s probably going to change a little bit. There’s isn’t a whole lot of value in documenting your sales process because your whole value proposition might change.
But after that first 100 customers, you need to be much more diligent around planning, internal communication, and really transition away from being nimble every day to working backwards from annual, quarterly, and monthly targets. So a lot changes in that planning process and internal communication.”