Many startups begin life selling to small business (SMB). SMB is a very appealing market. For one, it’s big (30 million businesses in the US alone). Also, they make quick buying decisions. Sounds great!
The challenge with SMB as a customer segment is that each customer is small. It might be easy to get your first few customers. But over time you become a victim of your own success. The bigger you get, the higher your customer acquisition costs go. Hubspot’s CEO Brian Halligan illustrates this challenge beautifully in his recent post ‘why aren’t there more Intuits”.
Back in my VC days we ran the FounderFuel accelerator. Our program was blessed with many strong mentors. We regularly brought mentors and companies together.
While this was all good, often the founders would complain of “mentor whiplash”. Mentors would have conflicting advice for these founders.
I see similar issues with more established companies when it comes to their boards. Often they turn to their board for advice. And often, individual board members have different advice. What are you supposed to do? Especially if the conflicting advice comes from investors that made big bets on you.