Recently I was meeting with the co-founder of a fledgling SaaS business and we were catching up about the progress of the startup. After talking for a bit it became readily apparent that the skill sets of the co-founder weren’t aligned with the startup’s approach to the market. What I mean by this is that the co-founder had a background in high-end enterprise sales (think million dollar plus deals) but was now building a company where the average deal size was much less than $10k/year.
The co-founder was using his excellent consultative sales skills with clients, building comprehensive proposals, going through long sales cycles, and getting much less revenue per client as compared to his previous company. I asked the stereotypical question: Can you charge significantly more per client? He thought about it for a minute and said he wouldn’t get as many clients but he could charge more per client, work with fewer clients, and generate more revenue. That was the answer.
My recommendation is to consider your co-founder skill sets when thinking about the market approach and align the strategy appropriately.
What else? Have you seen examples of co-founder skill sets not aligned with the startup’s market approach?