One of my favorite questions to ask is “why are you an entrepreneur?” I like to understand the motivation and drive for the person. Also, I’m interested in entrepreneurs that want to control their own destiny (an answer that resonates with me!). Of course, you can’t control much of anything in the world other than the most important things — your attitude, your actions, and your behaviors.
Entrepreneurs that I meet with like to tell me they want to build the “Pardot of X” where X is some industry or type of product. I’ve come to primarily understand this to mean they want to build a SaaS company that doesn’t involve raising money and does involve selling it for a meaningful amount of money. While that’s a worthwhile goal, I like to share the controllable factors in the Pardot story.
Here are the five most important controllable factors from the Pardot experience:
- Employees-First –
Our focus on culture was maniacal. Employees came before customers and all other constituents. Everything we did internally was focused on our core values of positive, self-starting, and supportive. The ultimate reason we succeeded was because of our people.
- In the Path of Revenue –
Our product unequivocally helped our customers make more money. We showed return on investment. We showed value. Our product helped turn marketing from a fuzzy role to a metrics-driven role.
- Must-Have Product –
Our product was the core of the majority of the B2B marketing functions. If you ripped it out, many of the marketing channels stopped working (email, lead forms, etc.). It was not a nice-to-have.
- Complementary Co-Founders –
Adam and I are very different yet complemented each other incredibly well. We knew our strengths and weaknesses and built an awesome organization.
- Focused Solution –
Our product delivered the most value with the best experience possible at the $1,000/month price point. We were focused on providing the most bang-for-your-buck in the SMB market, and we executed well. This was especially important as our market was so noisy.
Notice that timing is nowhere in these factors, even though it‘s easily one of the most important considerations. We didn’t know if we had good timing. We didn’t know when to start. We did know that by entering the arena, we gave ourselves a chance. And we got it right.
Control what you can control. Everything else is noise.