It can be pretty overwhelming running a young company. You can be pushed and pulled in so many directions that deciding what to do next is tough. Having a clear direction and hitting your goals can solve almost any other problem, so I wanted to organize the team around something easy to understand.
We decided to set a 100 day goal to grow 10X. YesGraph helps companies scale referral recruiting, so we decided growing the number of referrals was the best goal. I’m happy to report that we did it, with referrals actually growing 11X in that time. Let’s explore how we did it.
This idea for 100 Day Goals came from Jason Freedman at 42Floors (an office space search engine). Jason wanted to mimic the focus and urgency of doing Y Combinator. Those 3 months leading up to demo day are often regarded as the most productive. Read more here.
Growing 10X in 100 days sounded like a great goal because of the round numbers. This is an important issue because everyone on the team can understand the effort. Plus referrals map directly to our core product value.
The irony is that most of our time was spent on product development for YesGraph for Teams. We wanted to finish Teams because getting revenue in a B2B company is key to understanding whether your customers value your product. But working on Teams didn’t directly move the needle. Here is what did matter: press and searchlight meetings.
No Silver Bullets
Press is often regarded as a silver bullet for a young company. If you could just get enough attention, you’ll win. I don’t view it that way: there are unfortunately no silver bullets in building a company. Press is merely one channel among many that help drive penetration and trust.
YesGraph was even available well before our press launch, which is a surprisingly uncommon best practice. Pushing press around a product needn’t correspond with making it available. If anything, launching in the press right when the product is done will mean that a wave of users come at a time of greatest product instability.
I really enjoyed the process of getting press with the help of PressFriendly. You should check them out if you’re trying to find reporters to tell your story.
Do Things That Don’t Scale
We recently started visiting companies to help run their searchlight meetings. Searchlight meetings are all about getting a team together for a focused session to make referrals. If your team uses YesGraph, you can quickly collect a huge number of quality referrals. We help the team get setup and answer any questions and concerns about how it works. This is an example of doing things that don’t scale. We want to get companies to use YesGraph deeply to get higher quality feedback. It’s easy to test the top of the funnel, but knowing what comes up deep in the funnel gets harder. We care about getting some companies to really love us, and coming to meet them is a great way to help.
The numbers from these searchlight meetings are stellar. You can find hundreds of high quality candidates across a few positions in less than an hour. If you’re in the bay area, get in touch if you want our help to run a meeting: firstname.lastname@example.org
Patterns Towards Success
One reason I’m excited about hitting a 10X goal is that it is an easy pattern to project our success. If you start at a reasonable scale and 10X twice, your company matters. But picking the right goals is hard, and we’re now focused on smoothing out the product experience. Then when we do push for scale with more companies, the next 10X will be easier to hit. This is especially true because the strategy we followed to grow so far practically won’t take us another 10X. We need to do a lot better.
Our next phase of growth will almost certainly result from empowering our users to help us grow, making a quality focus now that much more important. It’s a true challenge making the product good enough that customers actively recommend you, but it’s arguably the only way to reach massive scale. For YesGraph, it’s all about the referrals. Stay tuned for more. For now, if you like YesGraph, it really helps us if you tell your friends!