I’m looking forward to meeting the founder of FreshBooks Mike Mcderment next week at the Office 2.0 conference. I’ve spent a heap of time watching and talking to the founders and CEOs of other SaaS businesses generally and SaaS accounting businesses in particular so I’m really looking forward to getting a better understanding of the FreshBooks perspective on life.

This post by Mike gave me a bit of an insight into the person and the business. It’s a list of seven ways Mike almost kicked the chair out from under FreshBooks so far in their journey. It tells of his appreciation for the people he’s put around him, and gives some excellent lessons for new businesses.

The entire post is worth reading but the key points are,

1. Thinking we had to move faster than we did

2. Placing my faith in a spreadsheet

3. Thinking we had to spend more than we did

4. Placing my faith in consultants

5. Underestimating word of mouth

6. Believing we could not get this far without doing “x”

7. Doubting ourselves too much

Thanks Mike for you honest and insightful post.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • As a consultant myself 4th is painful, too generalist and, in my opinion, absolutely unfair.

  • @Luis – I do consultancy work myself but notwithstanding that have to agree with Mike….

  • Re: 4. Placing my faith in consultants

    As a CEO the buck stops with me. I NEVER put faith in consultants. They may offer good advice, or tell me how things should be done, but a good CEO will also do his own checking and homework on the side. CEO’s should make final decisions, not the consultants.

    Reworded: 4. Not having faith in my decisions based on contractors advice.

    Make sure always to accept responsibility. Don’t always jump to blaming contractors.

    Julian Stone, CEO

  • I’d like to add one more item to the list:
    8. Thinking we ALWAYS have to add the new feature a customer asks for.

  • Let my reword it:

    4a. Not having faith in “certain” consultants (for example consultants linked to products or with agreements with vendors of products, or with a lot of specialized “resources”-consultants they have to sell)

    4b. Not having faith in decisions taken without consider a external point of view, at least as one more of the inputs

    4c. Not having faith in decisions taken with the ONLY input of a consultant, specially if such consultant is a “certain” as defined in 4a

    Thanks and congrats for your blog. I’m amazed with the qty&quality of your posts.

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