Wondering how to implement a profit-led approach for your SaaS? Well to help us understand this topic, show host Joran Hofman interviews subject matter Guillaume Moubeche, also known as G. He’s the brains behind Lempire, a company famous for its software products like lemwarm, lemcal, taplio, and tweethunterr, all made to help businesses grow. Guillaume’s journey is amazing; he took Lempire from zero to $20 million in just five years.
Thanks to Guillaume’s smart leadership, Lempire is now valued at $150 million as of 2021. Guillaume’s success story has been shared in over 200 media outlets. His hard work and talent for innovation have made Lempire a leader in the software industry.
Importance of Profit-Led Approach
Guillaume discusses the importance of implementing a profit-led approach for SaaS businesses emphasizing the importance of profitability to ensure the sustainability and success of startups. He also discusses the common reasons for startup failures, highlighting the significance of financial stability and the management of cash flow. He stresses the importance of adopting a profit-first mindset and challenges the traditional narrative controlled by VCs, advocating for a more sustainable and profitable approach to business growth.
The Key to Business Growth
Guillaume emphasizes the significance of trust in building a successful B2B SaaS business. He introduces the concept of the “trust triangle,” which consists of emotional connection, credibility, and reliability. He stresses the importance of establishing and maintaining trust with customers as a key factor in business success.
Lessons from the Book “The $150 Million Secret
Guillaume shares insights from his book, emphasizing the central role of trust in growing a business, particularly in the B2B domain. He highlights the pivotal role of trust in business growth, emphasizing the significance of establishing emotional connections, credibility, and reliability with customers. Guillaume stresses the value of providing tangible benefits to customers, such as helping them make more money or save time, while earning their trust through consistent delivery and reliability.
Common Mistakes and Best Practices
Guillaume reflects on common mistakes made in the early stages of building a SaaS business, particularly the challenges of targeting enterprise accounts and the need to focus on the right customer segments. He shares his experiences and the lessons learned from early mistakes, such as the pitfalls of pursuing large enterprise deals and the importance of selecting the right customer base to drive growth.
Strategies for Scaling Lempire
Guillaume discusses the strategies and processes employed to scale Lempire, emphasizing the value of using their own product, Lemlist, for sales prospecting campaigns. He emphasizes the significance of documenting and sharing their experiences, connecting with the community, and leveraging customer success stories to drive growth. Guillaume highlights the importance of building a self-sustaining growth loop and the power of word-of-mouth marketing within the community.
Balancing Profitability and Growth
Guillaume discusses the approach to salary and business growth, highlighting the value of increasing your own salary as a founder to drive ambition and motivation. He also shares insights into the balance between profitability and growth, challenging the traditional notion that prioritizes raising funds over profitability. He emphasizes the leverage and control that come with profitability, particularly in attracting financing from banks and maintaining autonomy in business decisions. He stresses the significance of profitability as a key metric and advocates for a sustainable and controlled approach to business growth.
Best Practices for Bootstrapping
Guillaume shares best practices for bootstrapping, emphasizing the importance of staying connected with customers, identifying the right target persona, and leveraging side projects as opportunities for growth and learning. He also advocates for a strategic approach to hiring and talent acquisition.
Advice for Scaling to $10K MRR
Guillaume offers advice for those starting and growing a B2B SaaS business, emphasizing the need for patience, passion for the problem being solved, and continuous learning. He also emphasizes the value of hiring the right people and fostering a team culture focused on making a difference.
Advice for Scaling to $10 Million ARR
For businesses aiming to scale to $10 million ARR, Guillaume stresses the importance of hiring the right people, building a strong team, and creating an inspiring and growth-focused environment to retain and motivate top performers.
- (0:37) Show and guest intro
- (1:33) Why you should listen to Guillaume Moubeche
- (2:39) What is product-led growth?
- (4:54) The $150 million secret
- (9:16) The most common mistakes companies make while trying to implement a profit-led approach
- (14:05) THe strategies and processes G used to scale Lempire
- (17:31) Why paying yourself a salary as a founder is important
- (21:29) How to measure profitability within the company
- (24:42) The best practices regarding a bootstrapping journey
- (27:51) The 4 things you shouldn’t do
- (33:06) How to grow towards 10K MRR
- (34:21) How to grow towards 10 million ARR
[00:00:00.000] – Intro
Welcome to the Grow Your B2B SaaS podcast. In this podcast, we cover all topics on how to grow your B2B SaaS, no matter in which stage you’re in. I’m Jorn Hofmann, the host of this show and the founder of Ready Test, which is a B2B SaaS that helps other B2B SaaS companies to set up, manage, and grow an affiliate program. Being a founder myself means I’m going to the exact same journey as you are, experiencing the exact same issues, and probably have the exact same questions. And this is why I started the podcast in the first place. Get advice from industry experts on how to grow my B2B SaaS. So if you like this content, make sure to subscribe, follow, give it a thumbs up. Let’s just dive in.
[00:00:38.100] – Joran
In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how to implement a profit-led approach for your SaaS. As running out of cash is the most common reason why startups go out of business, it’s a very important topic to cover. My guest today is Guillaume Moubeche, also known as G, and he’s the founder and CEO of Lempire, where he’s also building his empire of SaaS products. They include lemwarm, lemcal, taplio and tweethunterr. They all have one thing in common. They help other businesses to help with their growth. He went from zero to 20 million ARR in just five years. In 2021, his company was valued at $150 million, which he did in three and a half years. Next to this, you will see a lot on LinkedIn where he shares the knowledge. He also wrote a book called The 150 Million Secret, and he has been featured on more than 200 media outlets. I’m really happy to have him on the show today. Welcome, G.
[00:01:31.310] – Guillaume AKA G
Thanks a lot for having me, Joran.
[00:01:32.890] – Joran
Nice. If people are not convinced after this intro, why should people listen to you today?
[00:01:37.970] – Guillaume AKA G
I think if people look at my content and everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve been documenting everything from day one. My role really is to help as many people launch and grow businesses. I apply everything I say, and I have no bullshit approach. I really despise fake-ass online gurus who are telling you how to get rich when they’ve never done it. I failed many times. I share a lot my learnings and lessons. I think overall, we have tens of thousands of customers in more than 100 countries. We have more than four companies making Millions in dollars of revenue each year. We’ve been highly profitable from day one. I started with only $1,000 this company. I think business, people want to overcomplicate it. But for me, it’s all about one thing that is trust. We’ll talk about this a bit later. The goal of this podcast is to convince people that I have a few things to share.
[00:02:37.070] – Joran
I know you have a lot of things to share, so that’s going to be fine. Even your LinkedIn URL is profitnetthroats, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today as well. What does it mean to you?
[00:02:45.420] – Guillaume AKA G
I think there is this trend where VCs control the narrative. Investors have been controlling the narrative, I think, for ages. The reason they control the narrative is because whenever they raise money, like a startup raise money, obviously, they get a lot of PR coverage. They get a lot more press, a lot more customers from that. What I thought was crazy is there are tons of highly successful bootstrap companies, so a company that started with nothing. Yet when I talk to entrepreneurs, Everyone feels like to be successful, you need to raise funds. I used to believe exactly the same thing six years ago when I got started because I would see my friends raising funds or press articles. Then eventually, you would believe this is the only path to success. Us. But eventually, I think bootstrapping and always thinking about your profit has shown that in the tough times, it’s actually how you build the best and biggest business ever. Right now, I don’t know if you’ve probably seen it, but we’re seeing Unicorps getting totally crashed. You can just think of WeWork or tons of… Fast is also a really good company example. They raised, I think, 200 millions and never made a single dollar.
[00:03:58.660] – Guillaume AKA G
I think they were at 600K ARR or something like that, raising 200 millions, and they went bankrupt. Seriously, how do you want to inspire people to become entrepreneurs when you have always the same people raising money, always the same people spending and wasting cash? I think profit-first mindset is just very simple and basic. It’s common sense for me. If it’s your business and you want to be here for a long time and impact people’s life as positively as possible, you need to be owning your PnL. And your PnL is all about your profit and the cash you have. So you can’t run out of cash. If money is oxygen, that’s pretty much the basic that you need to always have a look on. Yeah.
[00:04:43.900] – Joran
As you mentioned, Money is oxygen and you want to impact people. So you want to build good products which bring value, and then you just build a profitable business.
[00:04:53.550] – Guillaume AKA G
[00:04:54.610] – Joran
Talk about your book a little bit. Your book is called The $150 Million Secret. To quote your your book. I haven’t read the entire book yet, but I definitely read the things which were relevant to me. One thing you mentioned were, Hacks and Silver Bullets are awesome for good stories, but will not lead to a successful business. My question, is there really a secret in growing a $150 million business?
[00:05:17.330] – Guillaume AKA G
I think, to be honest, the way I wrote the book first is there are lots of different chapters, and you don’t have to read it in just once. It’s basically something where I wanted to share everything that we’ve done and that works. Essentially, for me, the secret to growing a business comes down to one thing, especially in B2B, and this thing is called trust. Because if tomorrow, for example, I say, Hey, Joran, if you give me 10 bucks this week, I’m going to give you 100 bucks in two weeks. Would you do it?
[00:05:47.030] – Joran
In your case, I would do it.
[00:05:48.650] – Guillaume AKA G
Okay, because you trust me. That’s the thing. People want to overcomplicate things with business, but actually in B2B, you either help people make more money or you help them save time. Which essentially can convey into some monetary value. Eventually, for people to allow you to help them make more money or save time, they need to trust you. If someone in the streets, you don’t know, come and tell you, Hey, give me 10 bucks, and tomorrow I give you 100 back, you will not do it because you don’t trust them. For me, if you break down what trust is all about, I call this the trust triangle, which is three sides of a triangle. Each side represents one concept. The first step is, and the basis is the emotional connection. For example, right now, people watching this video or listening to this podcast will probably think, Okay, I like your RAN and G, I think they’re cool, or the total opposite, I think they’re just jerks. But This emotional connection is going to make them have a first impression and start to build a little bit of trust or not. Then the two other sides are credibility.
[00:06:57.570] – Guillaume AKA G
For example, if I tell you that I built It’s like a $150 million business, that I became multimillionaire with starting from nothing, et cetera, et cetera, the credibility I build is a lot stronger than someone who is no social proof, who don’t know anything about business, who just get started. Then there is the reliability part, which is even though you built emotional connection and credibility, you need to be what we call reliable. Do you deliver on the promise you make? For example, presidents, whenever they get elected, usually they have strong emotional connection with their audience and also a lot of credibility. Then the reliability part is what you will see whenever they get elected. The reason why they get elected a second time or not, all comes down to that reliability part. For example, if we transfer this to business, if I tell you, Hey, by using this specific sales prospecting template, you’re going to be able to book a lot more meetings than what you were doing before. If you apply the template and it works, I will be highly reliable. But if it doesn’t, then the trust is entirely broken. What I like about the triangle is if one side of the triangle is missing, everything falls down.
[00:08:14.880] – Guillaume AKA G
For me, the way you should build your business should always be by keeping this triangle in mind and always thinking, Okay, is what I’m doing impacting any of the side of the triangle?
[00:08:26.880] – Joran
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I think that’s why you also build in public. You build in public, you have a lot of guys, you have a lot of things. With the products, I guess you have, you build credibility as in you have been growing it, but being reliable by showing exactly people how to do it.
[00:08:42.040] – Guillaume AKA G
Exactly. I’m also really sick of fake ass online gurus who are basically just another version of a pyramid scheme. They teach you how to make money, but they’ve never done the things that they are saying. The only way they got rich is by selling you a dream of becoming a a millionaire very quickly when they’ve never done it themselves.
[00:09:03.620] – Joran
Yeah, I love it. I can’t remember how many conversations I get for people who are trying to help me to grow my business, even though they haven’t done it themselves yet. I think this is definitely a good best practice. If we go to common mistakes to make it more towards a lampire, what are maybe some big mistakes you made, but you also see other companies making?
[00:09:25.920] – Guillaume AKA G
I think in the early days, the number one mistake was trying to go after enterprise accounts, all the big names, and you feel like you need really strong logos at first. But the reality is I had, for example, I can give you two example, the Uber and Facebook stories. I had meetings in San Francisco with both Uber and Facebook, and that’s what is called Meta now. Essentially, I had up to eight meetings across two and a half to three months. Everyone was excited, et cetera, et cetera. But the reality is whenever you want to start or if you want to have contracts with these companies, the amount of paperwork you have is just insane. It’s the biggest pain ever. And fully, transparently, when you’re a startup, you can’t cope with that. You will need tens of lawyers. It would cost you a ton of money, et cetera. So instead of trying to focus on really enterprise deals that are, I think, a waste of time in many cases for startups, you should always start in a place where I would say legal, et cetera, et cetera, is not such a big pain. Because for us, it was a huge defocus.
[00:10:31.760] – Guillaume AKA G
Often I see people wasting a lot of energy just because of a big logo. Actually, you can help many other companies, and you need to pick your customer, I think, really wisely. For me, in the way I look at business, I love the eco-gui type of framework where it’s how are you fulfilled in your life? You need to take something you’re good at, something you love, and something that can also sustain your needs, so money, et cetera. Eventually, For me, business is the same thing. You should not work with people who are making your life miserable. Sometimes I feel like for enterprise deals, especially when you get started, because you don’t have all the technical infrastructure and legal infrastructure, it’s not worth it. It’s not worth it, in my opinion. As you grow, eventually, yeah, of course, you can do it because you get bigger, your product gets more mature, et cetera. But in the beginning, I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing it. Another thing that we did that was a It’s stupid. It’s the classic mistake. I think this is the most classic one is I’m the founder and I know better. For me, there is no shortcut.
[00:11:38.820] – Guillaume AKA G
You have to talk to users. It’s only when you talk to users and remove all the bias you have about a specific problem by asking open questions, then eventually you become really good at solving problems. But if you don’t do it, you just work on something that’s totally useless and that no one likes. Eventually, to share a story, we actually decided to change entirely the user interface without telling our users about it. Eventually, we removed a lot of functions in the app. Because we were not tracking anything, we did not know what people were using. Very smart back in the day. You want to be fast to break things, et cetera. Right after when we did that, I had so many people because we had a really strong community on Facebook. I had so many people insulting me, saying, Who did this? They’re so stupid, et cetera. In In that case, the lesson for me was, okay, you can always take a bad situation and turn it into an opportunity. Go talk to your users, understand, be fast, quick to react, show that you own your mistakes and that you’re here. Because The reality is the more you share your mission with people, the more they are inclined to help.
[00:12:50.470] – Guillaume AKA G
There is actually a study from, I think it was, I saw it in a Harvard business review, where essentially they say that if a customer has an issue with your software or service and you solve it, they’re actually 10 times more likely to stay with you forever because they actually know that you are here to help them. The issue is never really what’s happening to them. It’s more how you react to it. What’s happening, you don’t always control it. However, how you react, it’s 100% under your control. Don’t hide because I’ve seen so many CEO and founders, when shit happened, they’re like, Okay, let’s be silent, and eventually people will forget. I think this is the worst ever. Just show up and show that you care for people and that you care about the problem and that you’re here to help them out.
[00:13:39.020] – Joran
For the people listening, go check G’s book because he has all the comments also in the book, like with the real screenshot. If you want to have some fun, go check it out. I think it was a real nice one. But I think also after that, I think you mentioned talking to the users, being really transparent, and then also helping them to move forward and indeed, going to the highs and lows together in this case.
[00:14:03.280] – Guillaume AKA G
[00:14:04.190] – Joran
This isn’t one big mistake, right? Can you maybe go into some strategies or processes you used to skill Lampire? Because you’ve been going it fast, of course, and without processes, you’re nowhere in those kinds of cases. Any thoughts here?
[00:14:18.030] – Guillaume AKA G
Yeah, I think what we were really good at is first we had no money when we started. It was like just 1,000 bucks, so we couldn’t spend a lot of money. We had all the free credits from AWS when you were a startup, et cetera. On the tech side, it was close to zero. On the marketing and sales side, essentially, we decided to use our own product. Before launching Lemlist, that is like a sales automation platform, I was running sales prospecting campaign with my agency. I was really good at sales prospecting. What I decided to do is use Lemlist, run sales prospecting campaigns, and document how I was doing things. That way, I knew that by showing people the results, it will maybe push them a little more to leverage lemlist and our unique features. The idea is eat your own dog food. This is the first step. Try to use your product as much as possible if you can. If you can’t document what others are doing, Then you share the content in a community and try to be a connector. Because you are solving a problem, being a connector is actually extremely valuable.
[00:15:24.580] – Guillaume AKA G
To give you an example, people are struggling to get replies whenever they do sales prospecting. It’s hard, it takes a lot of time, etc. People struggle, they don’t know the right approach, etc. This is the problem we wanted to solve. Once you have identified the problem, if I can connect a lot of different salespeople, founders, marketers who are running sales prospecting together, and I become the connector, I add a lot of value. I created a community adding all our users and people interested in that topic. I would share with them all the things that I would be doing and the results. That way people could copy. Once they would copy, I would leverage their success stories to drive more traffic and get even more people. From there, a lot of people would start asking or sharing a bit more their problems, which would give me ideas on what features I should build next. I would implement all the new features in my product to serve them better and help them solve the problem better. From that, I would reuse the new features, show them how it works, what results I’m getting, and so on and so forth.
[00:16:28.640] – Guillaume AKA G
By doing this, we It was a true growth loop that self-sustained. Today, we don’t run ads, and 95% of our traffic on lemlist comes from people typing lemlist just because we’ve created that growth loops that works really well for itself.
[00:16:45.910] – Joran
I think it all starts, as you mentioned, eating your own dog food. Use your own tools so you can actually start building those stories, and then people can relate to them, try iterations, and then you can indeed have that loop starting. It sounds super It’s simple, but a lot of people definitely forget about this one.Simple.
[00:17:04.470] – Guillaume AKA G
But not easy.Yeah, exactly.
[00:17:07.830] – Joran
This podcast episode is sponsored by Reditus. Reditus helps B2B SaaS companies to set up, manage, and grow an affiliate program. In short, it means you’re asking other people, affiliates, to promote your SaaS. You would only pay the affiliates a kickback fee when they deliver you paid clients, making it a very cost-effective and scalable way to grow your MRR. See more at getreadit. Com. And one other thing I took out of your book, as in you have profit-let growth, right? As your URL on LinkedIn, it’s something you talk about. But then also something where you said you pay yourself salary or you start paying yourself more salary month over month, which goes against that principle. But can you tell a bit more about that?
[00:17:50.890] – Guillaume AKA G
Yeah, definitely. I think the reality is when I got started with Lemlist, I had close to zero ambition. I had paid two businesses in the past. I had no money in my bank account, so it was quite tough. My girlfriend at the time was paying the rent. My ambition was essentially keep working on something that I love, which was Lemlist, and be able to pay myself a salary. When I reached that point, I felt like the more we were growing, because I’m really bad at celebrating things. I don’t celebrate milestone. I think it’s one of the things that I should always work on, and I’m trying to get better at this. But every time I reach a milestone, I think about what’s coming next. I felt if I wanted to be more ambitious, I actually needed to see things from a different perspective. The reality is the more you increase yourself, the more ambitious you are. Because if every time you reach a certain milestone, you know that you’re going to get a salary increase, it’s a really great way to drive more motivation and grow the business faster. For some people, money is not a driver.
[00:18:54.830] – Guillaume AKA G
But for me, to be honest, one, I love money. I never hid it. Two, I I come from a very middle-class background, and money helps me retire my parents, help people in the family, et cetera. You know what? For me, it’s a driver. I think increasing your salary, if money is a driver, is literally the best way to do and to be also efficient. Because if you increase your salary, it means that technically you have a bit less money to invest in the business. Technically, it also means that you need to be more efficient in the things we do. I often feel that because by nature, human beings, they really hate the void. Every time we see a void, people want to basically fill it in. For example, tomorrow, I could hire literally 100 people in our company, and I’m sure they would find stuff to do. People can’t be just sitting bored and do nothing. But the reality is what they’re doing, bringing value to the business, often it’s not the case. If you look at Twitter, they fired 80% of people. I’m really sorry for all these people, but they were really useless to the business.
[00:20:03.960] – Guillaume AKA G
Twitter has never been generating more revenue than now. Of course, maybe Twitter will die eventually because Elon Musk is doing tons of crazy shit along the way. But that’s the reality. For me, I think if you can take care of yourself and be in a place where you know that you are happy to stay there forever, then you become invincible.
[00:20:24.080] – Joran
Yeah. In a way, you’re also putting value on yourself, right? Or are you giving-Exactly. Because in the end, if you’re just If you’re not paying yourself that much salary, then what do you think yourself are worth? Then you’re just putting everything back, and then you’re just keeping yourself small in a way.
[00:20:38.780] – Guillaume AKA G
Yeah, and same for the people you hire. I grew up in a family where we’ve always been looking at price. This is something that’s part of my DNA. When I go to the supermarket, even though I took $10 million in 2021 in cash out, I’ve made some really good investment, et cetera. I’ve got a lot of money, but even right now, I’m still looking at prices just because it’s part of my DNA, part of how I grew up, et cetera. But paying yourself a higher salary, as you said, it also gives you an idea of your voice. Whenever you hire people, also how to value people will bring a lot of value to the company and you aim a lot higher.
[00:21:21.370] – Joran
I think that’s why your story is really relatable with a lot of people because they have been in similar shoes in the past before. I think you’re Our most important metric is profitability, right? Yeah. At least that’s what’s in the book. How do you look at it? Because you mentioned you can hire as much people as you want, and they probably still find something to do. But how do you look at profitability within the company?
[00:21:43.190] – Guillaume AKA G
I think for us, it’s super important It would be anywhere between, let’s say, 45% to 35% of EBITDA, which is basically earning before interest depreciation. I don’t know, I need to go back to my business, but essentially profit before tax. In our case, I know that some people have actually crazy definition about EBITDA, but we keep things very simple and close to profit. The reason why is you never know what can happen. First, it’s always important to have a good profitability, and The reason why VCs don’t want you to be profitable is because what they’re saying is they want you to focus on spending the money to grow faster. That was the narrative until, let’s say, 2021, 2022. However, when it shifted totally and the money started to become not free because it was free money before, then investors start to say, You know what? Reaching profitability would actually be good. What happened? Half of their portfolio company got shut down, bankrupt, etc. Or will bankrupt in the years to come. Essentially, if you’re not profitable, you’re not in control of your company. My goal is to first be in control, not only for me, but also for every employee we have.
[00:23:02.590] – Guillaume AKA G
I don’t want to be saying, You know what? I can’t raise funds, so I’m going to have to lay off everyone. No, that’s not something that’s acceptable for me. The second part is people don’t realize the leverage you have when you’re profitable. Because if you are in the narrative of always raising funds, you become, sorry for my… Pardon my French, but you become an investor’s bitch, to be honest. They will decide off your face. However, if you’re First of all, even if you want to accelerate growth. To give you an example, I think we will end up the year at a $24 or $25 million in annual recurring revenue. If we go to a bank, because we are making close to $8 million in EBITDA this year, if I go to a bank, my leverage is 7X on my EBITDA, which means that technically, I could get from the bank $56 million, which is already a huge round of funding. Of course, we’re talking at my scale, et cetera. But even if you’re smaller, even if you’re smaller and you’re at two or three million, et cetera, and making maybe one million in ebitda, your leverage with a bank is actually a lot higher.
[00:24:13.320] – Guillaume AKA G
You can always leverage banks to eventually grow your business and do it in a way that you are in control, you don’t dilute yourself, and you don’t have people who are just telling you what to do, who to hire, who to fire, what you should do, et cetera.
[00:24:27.800] – Joran
I really love that mindset. I guess for people listening, we did have Nathan Ladka on the show as well from Founder Pod.
[00:24:33.490] – Guillaume AKA G
Yeah, that’s true. Nathan is great. You could go that route, but I think a bank will give you better deals when you’re at your stage.
[00:24:42.190] – Joran
Some best practice where we talk about mistakes. Can you share some best practices regarding your bootstrapping journey?
[00:24:48.330] – Guillaume AKA G
Yes, I would say the first thing is to always be talking to your customers. As I said, we’re close to 24, 25 million in annual recurring revenue. The last three weeks, I had maybe 20 customer interview. You should always keep a pulse on the business, keep a pulse on the problem you’re solving, why you’re solving it, understand what our people think, because it’s only when you are so sick of hearing people telling you about the same thing that eventually you’re going to be like, Fuck it, I want to solve it. For me, that’s the most important thing. Second thing is know who you target and not just your ideal customer profile. But there is a concept I created called the Magnet Persona. The Magnet Persona is a different way to look at business. Because the reality is if you take Lemniz, for example, we have a lot of different personas. We have head of sales reps, gross marketers, founders, sometimes people doing SEO, sometimes doing TR outreach, so lots of different use cases. What you want to do is obviously you can’t market for everyone because otherwise your website would be just a mess and the message would be not understandable at all.
[00:25:53.400] – Guillaume AKA G
What you want to do is to find the persona you want to target and the persona that will attract all the other one. For example, if you take Apple. Apple, back in the days when computer just got started, they knew or Steve Jobs knew that because computer was going to be huge and the internet was coming and that it’s going to revolutionize essentially the way we create, he knew that designer would be a strong target for computers just because they would need to create things directly from an interface. If you look at the Apple strategy, they invested heavily on their product towards designers. They invested obviously in the design. Packaging, et cetera. It’s very well known for that. But not only, for example, graphic performance, they invested heavily on this. They were the best computer to use like Photoshop, et cetera, et cetera for many years. This was their magnet persona. Why Magnet Persona? Because if you think, you close your eyes and you think of a designer, how they’re dressed, how they feel, et cetera, what you’re going to say? They are cool. You know what I mean? Everyone wants to have the style of a designer.
[00:26:58.030] – Guillaume AKA G
Everyone wants to have this feeling I’m an artist, I’m creative, I think so. Essentially, when I use a MacBook or my iPhone, I feel more creative. They created such a strong brand because they had the right magnet persona. It’s okay to have tons of different people using your product and service. It’s okay to be lost on, I don’t know which target I should go. But if you think of this concept of magnet persona, who is the one persona that will attract all the others? Then once you find that, you can I will triple down on it, and I can guarantee that this is going to skyrocket your business.
[00:27:34.930] – Joran
Really like it. You probably wrote a blog about this, or people can find more information somewhere about this, right?
[00:27:40.970] – Guillaume AKA G
I don’t think I’ve shared it that much, but I will.
[00:27:45.160] – Joran
Okay, nice. Maybe as soon as this podcast goes out, you’ve already written it, so we’re definitely going to link towards it. I guess maybe one final question regarding best practices, because especially in the book you mentioned, you had four things we shouldn’t have done that made us successful. You get a lot of advice, right? Things on what you should do, you shouldn’t do. You had four things which actually you shouldn’t have been doing, but you did anyway.
[00:28:09.390] – Guillaume AKA G
First thing was you shouldn’t work on multiple acquisition channels. Usually people tell you, Yeah, I focused on one, and if you nail it down, go 100% on it. I’ve never been great at something, but I think I’m pretty good in many different things. For me, I think it’s just overall, it worked today in today’s world a lot better if you are everywhere. If people see you on Instagram and they see more personal stuff, if they see you on LinkedIn and they see more professional stuff, if they see you in their mailbox and it’s really in-depth content, etc. If they see you on YouTube for others, for more, people will connect a lot better. As I mentioned, what you want to build is trust. Each content that you create, whether it’s for your emotional connection, the credibility or the reliability, is It’s something that will help you drive more business. Another thing was you shouldn’t work on multiple projects. We launched a side project. I think it took us maybe two days to develop. Eventually, it was something that we invested. We had one freelancers that we paid 2K per month working on the project. Within 18 months, it was doing $600,000 in annual recurring revenue, and we decided to sell that business.
[00:29:25.970] – Guillaume AKA G
By selling this business, I documented the whole sales It was a process which drove someone to reach out to me asking me for advice on a deal, whether or not it was a good deal. Eventually, when the person shared with me the offer he got, I basically told him I could make similar offer, and I acquired this company. It’s all of these things for me. If you want eventually to have what I call breather or maybe oxygen type of little oxygen bubbles, it’s sometimes cool just to go for one week, build a side project that’s been like, hitching the bat off your head or something like that that you really want to do and see what’s up because you never know what can happen. Some people might say it’s a defocus. For me, I need to defocus because I’m very I’m not a person that’s obsessed over things. If I obsess for too long on something, I lose my creativity. Everyone is like this. I think when you are an entrepreneur, you have some obsession. I’m not going to say every entrepreneur is crazy, but a little a bit in some way. It’s normal because you get slapped in the face pretty much every single day, you need to be a little bit crazy to keep on going.
[00:30:38.370] – Guillaume AKA G
For me, if you have these times where something you feel like it’s a huge opportunity, et cetera, and it excites you a lot, go do that for a bit, see what traction it has. If it doesn’t work, fuck it. You already have a strong business. But if it does, you can hire someone and have this grow and work as a side project and generate more revenue. Because people really underestimate what we call compound effect. For us, when we had the lemnist audience, obviously, when we launched the side project that we decided to sell afterwards, it was a lot easier because I knew already a lot of people. My trust triangle was pretty strong. It’s the same thing all over again when we launch a new project.
[00:31:21.600] – Joran
I love, I guess, also what you mentioned as in because you documented the entire story of selling the product. You just bring opportunities to by sharing your story. Instead of just pulling, you just share your knowledge, then things will come to you one way or another.
[00:31:37.560] – Guillaume AKA G
Exactly. Another part was maybe the hiring part. People tell you, hire always the A players, people who have done it, etc. In reality, I think, to be honest, that I don’t regret the way I did it as a first-time founder. I guess it depends if you built a company or not. If tomorrow I would build a company, I would do things differently just because I have a different knowledge, et cetera. But as you get started, first, it’s very difficult to attract talent. What I would recommend to people is to, from the early days, network as much as possible with people you would dream working with. Because sometimes it would take you two or three years to close a profile and to create the next chapter of the company. But eventually, for me, I’ve always invested heavily in people. I’ve always trained people heavily. I think sometimes you have to make strong bets and We only had underdogs in our company, people with some crazy profiles, like one guy coming from a movie school, another, I don’t know, working in a parking lot, another working in a café or whatever. It was just crazy. I don’t look so much at what people have done in the past.
[00:32:47.970] – Guillaume AKA G
I look at what they can do now and their potential. That’s something that worked really well for us.
[00:32:54.210] – Joran
Yeah, you really get that hustle mentality in as well a bit where they really want to prove themselves.
[00:33:00.030] – Guillaume AKA G
[00:33:01.070] – Joran
We go to the final four questions. When we talk about building a profit-led SaaS, what advice would you give somebody who’s just starting out and growing to 10K monthly recurring revenue?
[00:33:13.210] – Guillaume AKA G
I think the first thing is, are you passionate about the problem? Because I see too many people who just want to make quick cash. The reality is like a SaaS, you need to be patient. It might take 18, 24 months just for you to start generating a good traction and a good revenue or even reaching 10K. You’ve seen a lot of articles where how did we reach zero to 10K in 24 hours, et cetera. But this is not the norm. If you look at how much it take on average for people to reach to one million, I think it was Something like 800 days or something like that. It’s almost three years. For me, this counts only the companies that actually reach one million, which means that a lot of them actually fail, never reached it, et cetera. You need to be patient. In my opinion, people fail when they choose the wrong problem, they’re not passionate enough about it, and they don’t talk to users. If you manage to do these three things and have these three box checks, it’s all about showing up daily working, and eventually it will pay off.
[00:34:17.490] – Joran
Exactly. There’s no hacks to it, as you mentioned.
[00:34:20.000] – Guillaume AKA G
[00:34:21.680] – Joran
Once we reach a 10K MR and we are going to make a big step, you’re going to go towards 10 million ARR. What advice would you give somebody here?
[00:34:29.880] – Guillaume AKA G
I think it’s something like a mistake I did, but it’s really hiring the right people. The reason it’s tough is because when you don’t have experience in hiring, you’re going to make mistakes. I guess even when you have experience, you’re going to make mistakes. But for me, people are everything. If you can’t build a dream team, you will not be able to reach 10 million in ARR. What I would advise is first have really well-identified flywheel and That can be pretty much anything. There are no magic playbook. The second thing is spend time, a lot of your time, hiring and finding talents.
[00:35:08.110] – Joran
As you mentioned, you build your company in the moment where money was free, basically. You were basically competing against VC-backed companies. How do you make sure that you actually keep the people in? Because in the end, you hired them with no background, but at one point, they did get a good expertise. They could have gone to a VC-backed company and probably get a lot There’s a lot more money there.
[00:35:31.200] – Guillaume AKA G
Yeah, definitely. I think, to be honest, they are like… I’ve never seen someone leaving just because of money. People always live because of other things. That might be not the right manager, not enough learning, sick of this opportunity, feeling burned out, etc. For me, I think when people say, Hey, we can’t compete because they’re paying too much, etc. I just think it’s bullshit. It’s always the same. It’s perceived value. It’s all about perceived If people did not choose you, it’s because you are not good enough at selling the project. Because in reality, if you’re an employee and except if you have tons of debts and tons of financial obligation with your family, etc, etc. Apart from that, people will always pick an inspiring project where they can be themselves, where they can really level up, see a path for growth, etc. Versus something that’s highly paid and 9:00 to 5:00. When I say people, I only talk about top performers. For me, if someone prefers a 9:00 to 5:00 from a VC back company where you get paid a lot higher salary, it just means that you’re not a fit for our startup because we grind, we work hard, et cetera.
[00:36:47.040] – Guillaume AKA G
Eventually, those people are just not the right fit and you’d better help them.
[00:36:52.260] – Joran
I think it’s a bit of a cliché, where you’re basically looking for people who want to make a difference and really want to follow the journey.
[00:36:59.940] – Guillaume AKA G
Yeah, absolutely. When you launch a startup, it’s a small team. If you have people who just don’t care about the project, there is no way it’s going to be successful.
[00:37:11.050] – Joran
Yeah, nice. One personal question. You mentioned a couple of things, I think, already, but what is one thing you wish you knew 10 years ago?
[00:37:18.780] – Guillaume AKA G
That’s a good question. I think something I wish I knew is do not listen to people who don’t have what you want. Do not listen to their advice. If someone doesn’t have what I want or who I want to become or is not who I want to become, then there is no way, no reason why I should listen to what they’re saying.
[00:37:40.930] – Joran
Yeah, so take the triangle again into mind here. Does that person actually have? Is he reliable? Nice. If people want to get in contact with you, what is the best way to do?
[00:37:52.110] – Guillaume AKA G
A LinkedIn or email. So guillaume@lampire. Com for email or LinkedIn, I answer all my messages.
[00:37:58.790] – Joran
Yeah, and I can tell people here that he does answer them personally as well. He doesn’t want to get kicked off LinkedIn anymore. We’ll make sure to add the LinkedIn profile. We’re going to make sure we add a link towards your book so people can dive more into that. Awesome. Thank you. Nice. What we’ve been doing or what we are going to do in this podcast is we’re going to have a Q&A in here. So if you’re listening to Spotify, go and check it out, or there’s going to be a poll. Look at your screen now and then give us some feedback regarding this show.Thanks.
[00:38:28.320] – Guillaume AKA G
For coming on, Ajay.Thanks a lot. Have a It’s been a great day. You too.
[00:38:31.950] – Joran
Thank you for watching this show of the Grow Your BDB SaaS podcast. You made it till the end, so I think we can assume you like this content. If you did, give us a thumbs up, subscribe to the channel. If you like this content, feel free to reach out if you want to sponsor the show. If you have a specific guest in mind, if you have a specific topic you want us to cover, reach out to me on LinkedIn. More than happy to take a look at it. If you want to know more about Reddit, feel free to reach out as well. But for now, have a great day great day and good luck growing your B2B SaaS.