Kyle Poyar of OpenView shares how to build an outstanding software company in the 2020s

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it’s not a secret that 2022 has been a brutal year for software companies. Estimates have been cut, inflation continues to rise, and layoff announcements abound. Whispers about a potential recession have turned into loud cries. Once successful companies are now struggling to raise new capital to sustain their growth, causing SaaS executives to turn sharply towards profitability.

The good news about this dark cloud is that the downturns coincide with a surge in startup activity. People who have been fired or who find their stock options are suddenly worthless will choose to bet on themselves. They will finally take the risk of turning this annoying idea into a real product. And they will build a company with the discipline that comes with a macro environment that values ​​capital efficiency over growth at any cost.

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In short, the best software companies of the 2020s will be created over the next 12 months. But the way to build and scale a great company in the 2020s looks different than it did in the past.

Let’s uncover what has changed and how products are created, distributed and monetized in this new era. The Age of Connected Work. I will focus on six of the most fundamental principles that apply to almost all PLG products.

Image credits: open view

Assembly for the user

The classic B2B scenario caters almost exclusively to top-tier buyers. The actual end users of the product were an afterthought.

Now the B2B buyer journey starts with the end user. They discover software products, share them with colleagues, and tell their boss what to buy. The interaction with the product sets the tone, and then the buyers follow the users. You must think deeply about the needs and experiences of the people who will actually use your products, not just those who will sign the purchase order.

Build to be discovered

Software companies used to throw money and bodies around to get noticed by big company executives. Expensive customer acquisition costs weren’t a problem as long as you could maintain healthy revenue growth. Now potential buyers feel like they are constantly being bombarded and want to give them up (more and more using tools like closed to turn off unwanted emails).

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