In this edition of the UpTech report, we meet with Brian Sierakowski, CEO of Baremetrics, to pick his brain on everything he knows about growth. His entrepreneurship story began when he had a novel idea for a shared password manager a little over a decade ago, and shortly after, his first company Team Password was born.
From startup to exit, he helped the company to expand at an incredible rate until they were ultimately acquired. His experience makes him an expert in growing a SaaS business and the startup acquisition process.
These days, though, he is leading the charge in a new industry — SaaS subscription analytics.
As CEO of Baremetrics for around a year now, Sierakowski is helping to change the way that Software as a Service companies analyze their data to increase profits. When you simply offer one subscription plan, tracking metrics is easy. However, what if you have dozens or even hundreds of different subscription products with various add-ons?
Baremetrics will help you to track and analyze your subscription data and key performance indicators (KPI metrics), providing you with deeper insights into your business and what to do in order to increase sales.
Brian Sierakowski is a founder, project manager, and CEO. Brian started his career by building TeamPassword, a password sharing app for teams that brings simple individual access levels. After exiting TeamPassword, Brian went to work as a project manager at JungleDisk.
Now, Brian is the CEO of Baremetrics, a company within the Xenon Partners portfolio. Brian is leading Baremetrics towards greater functionality through product development in the accounting space and by entering new markets including Japan.show more
Baremetrics is the leading analytics, dunning, and engagement solution for SaaS and subscription businesses using Stripe, Braintree, Recurly, App Store Connect, Google Play, and Chargebee. Baremetrics is also the only SaaS analytics solution for Shopify Partners developers looking for insights about their Shopify apps. Growing subscription businesses use Baremetrics to see their data, and take action on it.
In addition to its core Metrics product, Baremetrics offers two add-on features called Recover and Cancellation Insights. Recover is a dunning solution that brings back revenue lost to failed charges. Cancellation Insights engages your customers when they leave your service and capture fresh information about why they left, and how you can improve. Both features are fully automated, allowing teams to focus on what they do best.
Over 900+ businesses trust Baremetrics for the data and insights they need to make decisions confidently and drive real growth. To try Baremetrics for yourself, start a free trial today.show less
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Brian Sierakowski 0:00
Brady wants to make more. That’s our that’s our tagline. So how do I take this information? And how can I use fair metrics as a tool to hit our revenue goals? That’s really the that’s really the transformation that we’re we’re trying to make.
Alexander Ferguson 0:18
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our applied tech series. UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at teraleap.io. Today, I’m joined by my guest, Brian Sierakowski, who’s based in San Antonio, Texas. He’s the guy who runs Baremetrics. Baremetrics is a tool used to gain insight on the health Objectory of your SaaS business. I’m excited to learn more about it. Welcome, Brian. Good to have you on.
Brian Sierakowski 0:42
Hey, yeah, thanks for having me.
Alexander Ferguson 0:44
So let’s start off Ryan, can you just say what’s the problem that you see in the space that metrics is set to solve?
Brian Sierakowski 0:52
Sure, yeah. So we focus pretty heavily on SAS businesses, like you mentioned. And it can be really confusing to know what’s going on, especially within within a subscription based business, like, Are we are we growing? Or shrinking? Our what’s our churn rate? How can? How can I have an understanding of these high level metrics of like, understanding like, where are we at, you know, from from a high level, but then how can I, you know, subset that information so that I can actually get some sort of insight. And eventually, like the thing that all you know, C suite teams and director of Reb ops and all these people, like everybody wants to make more. That’s our that’s our API. So how do I take this information? And how can I use Baremetrics as a tool to hit our revenue goals? That’s really the that’s really the transformation that we’re we’re trying to make.
Alexander Ferguson 1:45
Everyone loves to hit goals keep making more money growing. So I’d love to hear though the story. We’ll come back to the tech and the solution how you guys are making that happen. But let’s let’s hear the story. It’s because you’ve been operating biometrics for the last year or so. But it started nine years ago.
Brian Sierakowski 2:00
Is that right? Yeah, we just had our eight year birthday yesterday, which I saw it, or it was one I think it was on CrunchBase or something like that. So I don’t I don’t know if that’s actually the right one. But we we sell. Yeah, we celebrated it just the same. Yeah.
Alexander Ferguson 2:16
And what was kind of the the the origin story, how did that began? And what is already set out to solve this problem or to from your, your knowledge of the history of the company?
Brian Sierakowski 2:28
Yeah, yes, it’s cool. Because I’ve only been at the company for a year now, I kind of have seen this space as an operator. So I started my own business, losing track of time. 910 years ago, I built a password manager entirely SAS based, which was like, I guess it was relatively novel, the past 10 years, right? Yeah, that’s right. Well, so I was the guy who was trying to run a business with I mean, with effectively no skill, just to be, to be totally frank, like I didn’t, I didn’t know what I was doing. I’d never done it before. And in fact, I really was in sort of a spot where I’d never even quite seen it, other than sort of the, the new stories of like, this company grows and sells and does, but like I hadn’t really had first hand experience of taking a product from $0 to a million dollars. So, you know, I was around doing the SAS thing at the same time that Baremetrics was sort of coming to be, and I think kind of everybody sort of was not everybody. It’s a pretty small set of people. But everybody in this space was sort of looking around that time and saying like, tools like Stripe were becoming popular. And people realize that it actually was like not that much work. Although, you know, it does, it does take a little bit of work to get stripe set up. And we certainly see customers when we say like stripes not set up correctly, but way easier than it was before. Right? Like, you know, the off dotnet days were kind of like a little bit more challenging to start setting up customers and start getting subscriptions going and those sorts of things. So we sort of every second like,
Alexander Ferguson 4:14
Hey, you knew that when you were setting up a team password?
Brian Sierakowski 4:18
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And we we started T password. Had that we started our Stripe account, I think in like 2013 or something like that. So we were like, pretty early with stripe. But it was kind of like, again, maybe it goes back to like, I just didn’t have the knowledge to know that. I shouldn’t trust a, you know, payment provider that’s only been around for a year or two. But I was like, yeah, no, this looks great. And it’s like, it’s very easy. And that’s kind of where I needed it to be. And it also was like relatively full feature compared to like, you know, some of these other tools that are just legitimately just the gateway, having something that can understand the concept of customers and sort of that was all code that we didn’t have to write. So That was really great.
Alexander Ferguson 5:01
Let’s just take a second though, because I’d love to hear a bit more of your story. So this is this is 2012 that your crown team password before that where you are already, like interested in SAS, like you’ve you’ve been always looking at it?
Brian Sierakowski 5:16
Yeah, that’s a great question. I, prior to that, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, or what I was interested in. So I sort of started my, I don’t know how far to go back, I’ll start my professional career. Like, I started my professional career kind of in like the IT space, I was like, A, I worked at this company that sold these, like audio recording servers. So like, when you call a LAN connection, does that, you know, this is your it’s gonna be called macros. So. But yeah, it’s like, when you call in somebody, and like, your call may be recorded for quality assurance, like that was the system. So I was like, I spent a lot of times like doing like, server stuff and like, network stuff. And I did that for a while before I realized that, like, I don’t know that I didn’t like it. But I mean, it’s a lot like, you know, I think there’s some phrase about like a classical composer Paganini or something like that. It’s like, no, it’s like mostly boredom with like moments of sheer terror, kind of like, I feel like that’s kind of like being like a server admin, it’s just like, it’s mostly doing nothing. But then like, the stuff goes down in the middle of the night, and I’m like, needing to drive eight, eight hours to get to some server to figure out what’s going on and replace the hard drive, or whatever it is up to. So. And these are all like, physically located like this is kind of during cloud becoming a thing. So anyway, that was a long way of saying like, yeah, wasn’t quite for me, although interesting. And so I was like, I think that’s when I started become slightly interested in the concept of entrepreneurship. And my angle into that was through kind of like product management, because I didn’t really have any other than have any other skills. It’s kind of the theme for me of like, well, yeah, like I kind of has opinions about the way that products should be built and how they should work. And know just enough about the tech side to like, sort of have an understanding of what’s going on there. And kind of just enough like kind of sales and like interacting with customers experience, so it felt like a good spot to be in. So I joined a company called it wasn’t called this at the time, but they became known as Porter up. And I was like, one of the I think I was the first person hired on what became their new tech team. So I actually had some friends that I recruited in with me, and we became like, the initial texting there. And I always kind of joke that it was like, the perfect spot for me, because they were figuring everything out. And like I needed to figure everything out, too. So it was like, kind of like a good learning on the job. Yeah, exactly. It’s like a coevolution of like, our everybody’s like, everybody’s figuring it out. So it wasn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t feel particularly like an anchor there due to my lack of experience, because like everybody was figuring out. So in some ways, it was very freeing to be able to have an opportunity to, alright, let’s try something and like almost inadvertently falling into that process of like, alright, well try something, measure it, see what happens, take the data that you get and try it again. Because it was like, it was a necessity, because like, I didn’t know what to do. And we didn’t have any sort of guidance into what the direct right direction was going to be. So that was kind of the case for everything.
Alexander Ferguson 8:28
And then smart logic was the next one that Yeah,
Brian Sierakowski 8:32
yeah. So I basically took the same kind of skill set of like this product management mindset. And I brought that to smart lots smart logic is, is actually a still a fantastic development firm. They do custom app development, I don’t know kind of what their specialties are these days. I know, it was like heavily Ruby on Rails and Android and iOS development. And I would eat kind of, we would have people that would come to us as like a custom app developer, we can build anything, literally anything in the world. So we would have people come to us and be like, I want to build a web app, or I want to build an app. I want to build an iPhone app. And so I was the person would be like, Well, what do you want your app to do? Like, in sometimes people come and they would have like a very specific idea. And they had a budget like, yeah, we want to spend, you know, $750,000 on development over the course of two years to build out these feature sets. And these are our customers. So this is a this is an add on to our current business. And obviously like we love to those customers, and we could provide very, very clear estimates and walk them through the process of doing that. But other times, people would be like, well, I want to build an app to whatever so I look outside I don’t like you just say say anybody’s business. I want to build an app to get somebody to come in like patriots. I was like okay, cool. So how do you how do you imagine that work like and the more questions I’d ask it would be more and more clear that like they had only thought through like First, like, the first like, you know, two minutes of the pitch, and then I was like asking questions like, you know, the obvious ones like, well, how are you planning on making money? And then they’d be like, oh, yeah, great point. Good, good idea. I forgot about that part. So, you know, everybody came in all over the place. And my job was kind of with this product management skill set to kind of bring them to a fully formed idea. And whatever state that I could get it to, that we could actually like, put an estimate around be like, you know, and frequently, not maybe not frequently, but maybe frustrating, like, a lot of times to be like, Okay, well, we’ve taken everything that we want, if you want to do and we’ve wireframe it out, we have some mocks, and like, this is how we think it could work. And this is like, you know, a $3 million project, like, okay, cool. Well, what can I do for 10k? It’s like, like, we can get to I think, like, the loading screen for 10k, or no, or whatever, whatever the case is. So but yeah, that was kind of like a practical application of those. Not that it wasn’t a practical application before, but it was sort of like a repeated, I got like Rapson of like, you know, working with dozens and dozens of clients kind of applying that same sort of product mindset of like, you know, here’s, here’s how we think through it. And at the same time, I was working in a room of, you know, like, incredible developers, and they, their, their process, like still to this day, I use a lot of the processes that I learned there, especially like the developer hiring process is something that I’ve stolen whole cloth from them, and I use it and I’ve had like, fantastic results from that. But the way that they manage projects, and maybe they think about it kind of the way that they iterate on the business as well, like everybody, there is an engineer, so they look at the company, as a, you know, as an application to be improved, and like, constantly moved on. So yeah, it was like a really, like, really help. I mean, gets me into trouble a little bit, having an understanding of the development world, but it was like kind of critical for me to start team password to sort of be in that environment, sort of understand it.
Alexander Ferguson 11:57
That’s kind of what I wondered is like your, your journey from, okay, you’re driving out to servers, and helping people fix that to a little bit in technology and service. But then you come with order up, you know, really a SAS world, you’re figuring out being a product manager, but then with smart logic, you see how to build software all the time in many different ways. You’re like, wait, I could just build my own software. I got an idea. And I’m guessing that kind of led to the team password.
Brian Sierakowski 12:26
Absolutely. Yeah. And I think it was somewhere in between the transition between those two, those two roles where I actually was interested in and we actually went and did a startup weekend. And so we, we showed up and I actually one of the engineers that I sort of convinced to come work at otter up, I convinced him to come with me to the Startup Weekend. And it was kind of crazy, but I had the idea. It’s actually kind of funny, I had the idea for like a shared Password Manager. And I like right before I was trying to think leading up to that event, like what could I do? Cuz I kind of wanted to come with an idea. I didn’t want to join a team. I wanted to do a thing. Just maybe, you know, foreshadowing. So I actually had an okay cool, like, yeah, Password Manager for teams. That would be that would be really cool. And like, LastPass exists, but like, we tried to use it. And it’s just like, it didn’t quite work for us. I’m like, Well, maybe that’s something and that was like, I just kind of described my entire, like customer development. Like, that’s like the amount of research that I did. And so I’m like, What could we call such a thing? And being the branding genius that I was I’m like, well, it’s teams and it’s password, what about team password, that’s kind of cool. And it was available. So I picked it up on godaddy for like, you know, at the time, like, whatever, six bucks for the first year or something, you know, 599 first one first year domain. So I kind of walked in that that was one Thursday that I registered it and I walked in on that Friday to start the Startup Weekend. So I was Yeah, I was like, I hear a lot of my colleagues buying their.com domains for you know, maybe not like not like huge amounts, you know, but maybe you know, 1000s or 10s, low 10s of 1000s of dollars which is you know, I think perfectly reasonable for a.com domain name so I kind of look back sort of smiling the fact that I you know got away for whatever I should I should probably try to like look up that initial that confirmation you know, that the receipt would actually be something maybe cool for me to pull up with like yeah, here’s, here’s how much you know, Team password because it was the first it was the first expense maybe aside from you know, buying the ticket to the Startup Weekend. And yeah, it was a nice easy way to dip my toe into the water and it you know, honestly, Charlie, if it was if it was taken team password would be called something else like I would have just picked the I would have just picked a domain that was available but it was like just the first thing that I tried it was available and like okay, cool,
Alexander Ferguson 14:48
let’s say to make that happen. So you do the the Startup Weekend you create it I’m sure there’s a lot there that says the seven years you ran the before was acquired by jungle Right, right. Yeah, that’s right. I’m sure a lot we could unpack. But I’m curious, like, what was the the the journey from that was to 2020 20? So was it really right from there that that you start to look for new opportunities? And you’re like, what else can I do? I’ll go operate another business.
Brian Sierakowski 15:21
Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good question. Yeah, I think, you know, kind of the flip was like, kind of in that Startup Weekend, starting the business, it was kind of like a situation of running, running team password nights and weekends for like, two years. So a part of my order of time. And actually, like, almost all of this smart logic time was spent running this sort of thing on the site. You know, it’s kind of started very slowly. But it built over the course of, of that timeline. And so when I left, eventually, I got to the point where a team hasn’t had enough customers. I’m like, I think I can just do this. Like, I think this is this has enough to like, pay me off that I could you be bootstrap the whole thing? Yeah, yeah, we, we raised 100,000, from a local investor called TEDCO. It’s based in Maryland, which is where we were, and they were really great. I actually pitched them during that two year period of time, where it was kind of like part time, and they were like, Oh, this is a little, a little early. Like, I appreciate it, they in giving me the opportunity to pitch. And then I went back and pitched again, maybe I’m just gonna totally mess up the timeline. But you know, a few years into running a full time and they’re like, Okay, cool. This seems like baked enough that we can give it a try. So we have other other
Alexander Ferguson 16:38
full time, they this seems more like a legit business, we can invest them.
Brian Sierakowski 16:42
Yeah. And I think they could also sort of, yeah, I can also sort of tell the story of like, Hey, here’s where we were, we had like, whatever, like eight customers. And now we have like, 300, or whatever. I don’t remember what the numbers were. But that was a lot more, like a lot. There was a lot more activity going on. There’s a lot more stuff happening. So yeah, so that was kind of interesting. So yeah, I mean, I kind of ran that it was like nights and weekends for a while. And then it was full time for a while. And I kind of gotten to the sort of gotten to the situation and kind of again, coming back to the central theme of like, I don’t know, what I’m doing was like, okay, the businesses is growing. Our net revenue retention is is great. Which is a metric. That’s a little hint. How I started to think about Yeah, little, little little tie in. But I couldn’t figure out like, Well, what do I need to do to grow this business more quickly? Because it was actually really exciting when I went full time that I had all this extra time and all this extra focus to do more things. But what I what I thought was gonna happen, it’s like, okay, cool. I’m spending like, 20 hours a week on this business part time, like, well, what if I go? What if I add the rest of that 40 hours a week? Like, you know, what, if it’s 60 hours a week, I’m gonna get three times the results that I got before. And it turned out I got more results, but I didn’t. It didn’t. It wasn’t three times like, you know, you did, the amount of time that I spent did not scale the results did not scale in a linear fashion from that. So yeah, I was just kind of in this.
Alexander Ferguson 18:09
Where did you put that that 3x of time towards?
Brian Sierakowski 18:14
And I did I did like, my, I think I tried like one of everything. So I was like trying to do like, partnership calls. I was trying to improve, like just our internal operations and figuring out
Alexander Ferguson 18:26
how big was the team at the time when you joined full time?
Brian Sierakowski 18:30
Yeah. Yeah, I was the only I was the only full time I was only, I was always the only like, w two employee. I think by the end, when we sold, I think we had kind of like, my memory is failing me now. But I think we had something on the scale of like, 15 to 20 contractors that were most, you know, were spread out. So we had a couple of people that were we’re billing 40 hours a week with a couple people that were on a project basis. And we had some people that were like, doing like content and that sort of stuff. So they were kind of like, you know, kind of like per unit of work measurement. Um, so it wasn’t it wasn’t 20 people full time billing. It was like, maybe like two or three people, full time contractors, and then a couple of project based things. And then a couple of people that are sort of like almost random, you know, whatever we, you know, hey, however many blog posts we want, or whatever the case is, we kind of scale up and scale down without
Alexander Ferguson 19:27
you always very smart with your cash flow.
Brian Sierakowski 19:31
I had to be because we didn’t we didn’t have any money. It’s like, there’s no, you know, we only had that. Getting that 100k was was great that we could accelerate some of our product development. But that was like, pretty tightly earmarked for some of those projects that we were doing, so it wasn’t like, we just weren’t, we weren’t growing fast enough. You know, the, the customers were smaller. So we didn’t really have that mechanism of like, if we just land one big customer, then I can go and hire, you know, this person and I didn’t really understand sort of the concept of like Where leverage existed within the business and where to where to invest. And like, I just, I just saw kind of, you know, kind of again leading into the future of where we are now and just kind of saw this like, this like kind of wall in front of me. And I had some indication of like, okay, well, I know what our MRR is, and I know the rate at which we grow. And I see that all of our customers are much more likely to grow with us than they are to cancel. So if I sign a customer up in a year, they’re going to be worth much more to us than we then they are today. So if I can just hold it together, eventually, you know, we will be worth you know, we’ll get to the point that we want to be. But kind of coming to the end of that, like five year stint of running it full time, I was sort of like, alright, in three years from now, this company will be of the size of the business that I’d be interested in, right, you know, what a 40 or 50k, or something like that. But I don’t want to wait three years to get there. So how to, you know, how do I in three months get to achieve this thing that I think is going to take three years. And that’s where the idea is kind of clear at that point that, okay, well, I should sell it. And I should join the team that buys it. And then I’ll kind of be at the size of a business and sort of with the resources that I wanted to I wanted to have in a very short period of time, and that’s kind of what happened, we, I decided kind of January 1, we’re gonna sell it this year, we will, we will sell it, you know, one of those weird things where you make a declarative statement, and they actually like comes true. And for whatever reason that actually does work when you say like, we’re thinking about selling it, or we might didn’t work quite as well as being like, Yes, this is going to happen this year. And then, by February 1, I had been, Jim, all of January was like, kind of calling in every favor that I had. And then by JR by February 1, I was connected with with Brett from Jungle desk, and then we were close by March 1. So we in two months actually exceeded my goal there. Like we got through it, there was lightning fast. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that Brent ran m&a at Rackspace. So he’s just like, of everybody that I’ve ever met probably like, you know, one of the the sharpest m&a people in the world. So he knew exactly what he was looking for. And he knew what he didn’t care about. So we were just able to target in, and we had a really funny call, kind of like the intro call with, I had my lawyer and he had his lawyer. And usually you would think it’d be like, you know, he and I are on opposite sides. And then we have the, you know, lawyers in the middle, and they’re like, you know, hitting each other with sticks. But what actually, exactly what actually happened is Brett and I were over here, we’re saying like this needs to close March 1, and then the lawyers were like, I don’t know, that’s really fast. And we have to do all this paperwork. And Brett and I were like, we have agreed on the term sheet, we want to like, we figured it out, like, you just make it, you need to figure it out. Yeah. And so it’s actually kind of a very funny and, you know, very motivating thing of like, no, like, we the business owners have agreed to this. And we’ve already signed, you know, the, you know, the term sheet and like, we’ve already like, hit all the important stuff, like you know, how much money and like what’s going to happen afterwards, and all that sort of stuff. So now we seem to go through the diligence process
Alexander Ferguson 23:15
for someone who’s maybe in a similar situation to a thought of, I want to grow it and then be able to sell it, to be able to work with it and whatever. What is a takeaway a learning that you had in that process?
Brian Sierakowski 23:30
I think first of all, I’m, I’m happy that I sold the business. I think it was it was a good decision. And I think it kind of did exactly what it what it said on the tin of like being able to sort of accelerate my my growth and kind of exposing me to that world. I think it’s a great experience. I think it can be it’s extremely stressful, but it’s kind of fun, too. I was telling my lawyer of like, having the two lawyers on the call and going back and forth on deal terms. It’s like a television show, like, you know, you’re watching like a wall drama where the lawyers are going back and forth. And it was actually funny, that I was like, Are my lawyer would say something, I’m like, yeah, get them. And then their lawyer would say something, like, I can kind of see where they’re coming from. And then like, you know, it’s like, that sounds like kind of get to be an active active participants. So yeah, I think if you if you feel like you are in that same sort of mentality, and that same sort of mindset that I was in, looking to sell, it’s like, not a bad idea, especially like I was five years in, and I’d been you know, you know, I kind of needed to have that sort of next spot. Because I think like, one of the things you might expect me to say is like, Well, I wish I just knew everything that I knew now that I wouldn’t have sold it because I would have just I would have just grown it. Like I would have like going back. And it’s actually funny because Baremetrics is owned by a private equity firm, that private equity firm, also episode team passwords, so I can actually like watch it. And I know I know for a fact it’s like, like eight times bigger now than it was when we filmed We sold it. So, like, I know, I know that. I know that that’s possible. But you know, I think it’s like kind of the I think it depends on where you are. If you’ve resolved that you want to sell it, then obviously move forward. And so, if you’re wondering what to do, I think that considering selling, especially if you’re in a SaaS business, it’s like the best time ever to sell a SaaS business. So, and like, if anybody that’s listening to this, like, would like some advice, or some feedback of like, how to value their business or even how to get started, I’m happy to have that conversation, especially since we’re, if you sell the type of business that we’d like to buy, then maybe you know, Xenon will be a purchaser. So I will buy your business. Maybe, maybe not. But I’m happy to give feedback and sort of because I think a lot of I’m sorry, I’m going in multiple different directions here. But one of the things that we started doing, and I won’t skip totally ahead, I’ll just answer this question and then come back with Baremetrics, is that sometimes we get to the situation where even if we show kind of the deep metrics, and we show we get to like root causes of like, oh, the reason why your turn is so high, is that after three months, companies that are on this plan, turn at three times the weight, so something’s going on there, like we get, we can get you to like very discreet, hopefully, actionable insights. But sometimes even when we lead somebody all the way up to that they say, Okay, well, what do I do about that? And before, we would say, like, well, we gave you the info, you figure it out. So we’re actually we’ve been beta testing this for a while, but we’re actually spinning up, we’re kind of getting prepared to do a version two, we don’t quite know how it’s going to how it’s going to work out. But basically, kind of doing like a, maybe it’s a coaching program, maybe it’s a something some sort of curriculum, but basically to like walk people through this process. So that’s, that’s like, an example of like, a resource that I wish I would have had at that point in time. So if something like that sounds, and there are other resources like that, so I would say if you’re, if you’re in that spot, sounds fine. There are a lot of resources, if you still want to grow it, there’s still a lot of resources that you can use to understand and maybe refocus your efforts. Because we’ve talked to through that program, we’ve talked to a lot of founders that were like, I’ve tried everything, and nothing works. So either I am broken, or this business is broken, or combination of the two. And we have been able to work with them and say like, even just like, they some of them were current Baremetrics customers, we say like, well, let’s look at your account together. And then you know, in like, 15 minutes, we’re like, Well, what about these five things? They’re like, Oh, wow, we had one customer that doubled his business in three months. So he was very, very pleased with that. So that’s sell it is option one, just grow it, like, just grow it LOL, like, you know, that’s option to do that, why not just grow it new. Like, it’s like a. So that’s option two. And then option three, depends on how big you are. But this is something that I also sort of recommend to businesses that are at that stage is that I was in a situation where we really didn’t have enough money to do it, I actually probably could have made it work financially, but it just didn’t think about it.
But you know, bringing, bringing in the right team members is really important too. So I talk with, you know, kind of burnt out CEOs all the time, or overwork CEOs all the time. And it’s just like, Well, do you have that? And I’m like a huge advocate of having that CEO, that operations person, like do you have somebody that can actually like run the logistics of the business and it, it almost seems like a waste because you’d almost you’d want to spend your money on sales, or I could take that salary and put that towards a marketing campaign or something, it’s going to directly contribute to revenue. But you can’t do you can’t do everything and having you know, having a strong you know, I have somebody out there metrics. Her name is Alison, I don’t know if Allison is gonna watch. So hi, Alison. But like having counterpart like Alison, she’s like, so much more organized than I am. And she’s been she’s actually been with bear metrics before I joined our metrics. So she’s really familiar with the product and the customers and she’s got good product instinct. Just having somebody to help with doing all the stuff just creates so much more room to think about to look at your metrics and not just sort of look at, oh, well, this person says they’re going to cancel so I need to talk to them today. But what can we what can we implement? What changes can we have that are going to be impactful for the next three 612 months? Like what what snowballs can we create? So I would say that’s Option three, if you can afford it, think about who that operational arm could be for you. And that can really take on philosophy. I mean, it’s just like a nicer it’s just more it’s just more more fun to operate a business and that way of like you to even do read even on the small stuff and I know it seems so silly. Like we have It’s similar being a being owned by private equity firm. But we have a team that does like our bookkeeping. And like I needed to get, like, what’s the total sales and marketing spend by month. And they sent me over a report that had the sale, total sale spend, and total marketing spend, I’m like, please have these two numbers together for me. I know, I know, I sound like a baby. But it’s just like those little things, or somebody reached out to me like, Hey, Brian, can you give me access to this tool that we’re using, and I can say, go scout, and Allison will take care of it. And, you know, your, your time is divided in a million different ways. And it’s so easy, especially for me, like I don’t, sometimes I have the issue of like, I under delegate, because I’m like, Oh, this is a, this is a really hard crappy problem to deal with. So I’ll deal with it. So that the team, I know the team is so busy, and I load everybody up on goals, and everybody has, you know, the quarter for a quarter four goals have three quarters worth of work to do. And I know that in something I’m, you know, quarter three had like 10 quarters worth of golf, so I’m actually getting better. But, you know, I think just just having those people that you can sort of work with and delegate to is really, really critical.
Alexander Ferguson 31:11
If you didn’t have that same team environment with Team password, because you have more of a contractor scenario and you’re trying to keep the cash flow happening. Right? Exactly. There’s there’s a huge growth in SAS in many ways. It’s in some places folks are using it as a lifestyle business. And they’re not trying to grow it to scale others are, but having the right metrics, which leads to our conversation and their metrics of knowing Sure. What should you be looking at this? This leads us nicely today, though, I am curious for Baremetrics itself, the original founder of then him starting was it also scenario because they obviously got acquired by by Xena?
Brian Sierakowski 31:55
Yes, yeah. So I wasn’t there for the journey. But like I was saying, like, I’ve seen it from the outside, and I kind of I was going down this track, but I diverted I think I wanted to talk about myself more. We, you know, when when when stripe was happening, it became very easy to kind of add customers and create, you know, it’s like, the speed to market of building something that is a SASS tool, like went down dramatically. And it was pretty, it was pretty basic at the time, but even kind of their, their first version of like, you know, they they pick the right goal like that speed to launch was really critical for stripe. So as you know, that kind of like all of a sudden, there are now all these customers using all these companies using Stripe and are they’re gaining customers. And then you know, it’s like, it’s almost like the next question, right? It’s like, okay, cool. Well, I have this like, one click basically, not exactly, but you know, I pretty close to it, one click way to like, create customers and charge them, put them on subscriptions, and upgrade them and downgrade them and cancel, like, all that stuff’s being handled for me like, well, what, how do I make sense of that now, then, like, how do I you know, what’s the one click version of getting insight into that? And so I know, I, you know, I think, click around and Stripe, I can see how many customers I have. And if you only have one plan, you could just do like number of active customers times how much your plan is, and you could but as you know, as things get more complex, you everybody kind of pretty quickly realized that we need that operational guidance, and now that it’s being built in this system, that makes sense. You know, you have customers and you have invoices, and you have we have the structure. I think that that’s what Josh saw. It’s like, oh, well, we can just, I see that, you know, all of my friends are Josh has been a maker forever. As far as I’ve been far as I’ve ever heard of him, like you think he’s, he’s got a spreadsheet somewhere, like, publicly that all of the things that he started, I think it’s like 50 or 60 things. So he’s just, he’s just a cereal maker. So I think he has his network. And you can see like, oh, well, I think it’s might have been pretty obvious to him at the time of like, I see all of my friends are spending a portion of their valuable time filling out spreadsheets, instead of running the business. So and they’re all doing the same thing. And all the spreadsheets are basically the same. So what if we get, you know, it’s like the whole like, magic wand thing? Like, what if I could just wave a magic wand and like, build it for them. And one, not only is it everything that they want, but we’re actually gonna we have more insight into the metrics that they want to see. And it’s gonna be updated automatically. And then I don’t know, kind of the, the order of the features getting added in. It’s like, okay, well, now that you can see the total numbers like how do we segment in like, it’s interesting to know the overall trend, but I always look at metrics like a firehouse, it’s just like, you can we have 26 different metrics. We have, you know, dozens or hundreds of like enriching data points. So you can probably, I’m not a math major, but I think there’s probably millions of permutations of the data that you can get out of parametric so the question is like, well, how We get to those right ones. And then he even went on to say like, what else? What other issues? Do these types of companies have? Like, well, failed cards? That’s a huge thing. So we built a product for that. And then cancellations. Why are people canceling what’s going on? What are the trends here? And how can we attribute? I think the important thing that, again, I wasn’t there, but I don’t know if it’s if it was an accident, or if it was super intentional. But the important thing is like, how do we attribute dollar figures to reasons why people are canceled? Because the support team has always been asked to come to some monthly meeting or weekly meeting and say, like, here’s, here’s why people canceled and here’s why. And then the CEO is going to go like, well, do we need to invest in new features? Or do we need to fix bugs? Like, that’s kind of like, very common conversation? And then you can see that like, oh, well, you know, we lost 20 customers, 10 of them went to a competitor. And then 10 of them just said, like, it just wasn’t working right or didn’t meet their expectations, whatever, you know, there’s, and then it’s like, they can say, Yeah, to evenly split, but the people who went to competitors actually paid us twice as much, you know, we lost $5,000 In MRR to that. So I think that we, the people who are complaining about the bugs are very loud, but the big expense, and the big opportunity to the business is fixing, they’re going to this competitor for this other feature, I think we should focus on new features, instead of focusing on bugs or whatever, it might be the opposite thing. But the point is just to
Alexander Ferguson 36:30
have that insight, yeah, know what decision to make,
Brian Sierakowski 36:33
exactly. And almost like joining, it’s just like, it’s very easy to create a forum when people are going to cancel, and they can fill out a form that lives in type form or whatever survey tool, and then you have your stripe data that lives over here. And then you can kind of maybe you have some events in your database that lives over here. It’s almost like half of the magic is just having all that stuff happen in the same spot. So all of their all their subscription actions are happening, their cancellation reason exists in the same spot, everything that all the activities that we know about them live in one place so that when you look, you can actually look all the way out at like, show me everybody who cancelled for this reason, but then you can go all the way down to the individual. And it’s like, different. It’s like, Are these people canceling? Have they been with us for five years? Or have they been with us for five days? Like these are two? This is the type of information you need to make good decisions that are going to improve your business and have you make more money, not just sort of knowing at a high level, sort of like what you know, people are people are canceled, like, great. I knew that. Tell me Tell me something. I told me something that I did.
Alexander Ferguson 37:37
Yes. So it’s not just getting data from stripe and showing it in a pretty way instead of getting data from multiple sources. So you can make correlated insights of knowing Okay, for this reason, this reason, you’re able to bring all that together, and then make better decisions based off that. Yeah.
Brian Sierakowski 37:54
Yeah, yeah, we talked to, we talked to companies all the time that are coming in. And I think a part of like, the coaching that we do on the parametric side is to work with them, because I think like, it’s kind of like commonly the case with, when you’re in SAS that people come to you with like root causes. They’ll come to it, they’ll come to you and be like, hey, like, they’ll come to us at Baremetrics be like, Hey, I hate updating the spreadsheet ever. Or, or I’d like I wish I could update this spreadsheet more frequently. But it’s just such a pain in the butt. Like, I just need, like, I just need a better, I just need a better spreadsheet. Like, that’s all I need. And like it’s kind of our job that Baremetrics to walk them through the process like, Well, why do you want to update the spreadsheet, you know, kind of doing the annoying five why’s thing. And I’m terrible at this because as you can tell, like I love to talk. So the people that we have that will help you get on boarded into Baremetrics will actually listen to you. And won’t be like, well, one time I did this, but you know, so we need to like listen to them and say like, well, you know, I’m updating the spreadsheet, because we feel like there’s an issue around Sure. And like, Well, what do you what do you think the what do you think the issue around training? It’s like, Well, we think it’s, we think it’s going up, but we’re actually not quite sure because you know, we’re measuring it, you know, two different teams are measuring churn in a different way. So we actually can’t quite come to a consensus. So if there’s a problem, then we need to do something about it. And if there’s not, then we should focus our efforts. There’s always something to do. It’s like, okay, well, so it sounds like maybe you have a churn problem. It’s like, well, what would that be effective at the Navy, they’re like, Well, you know, we need to spend our time wisely. And you know, everything is going to come back to like, we’re not going to be a hitter if our churn problem exists, and we’re not gonna be able to hit our yearly growth goal. And then we can say, okay, cool. That’s where we’re going to focus on so this is the, this is the tool that we’re going to use that’s going to help you hit your help you hit your growth goal, and that’s like the right alignment. That’s the right mentality to think about using bear metrics through is that this is going to get you to that because if you want to better I mean, you could pay somebody to update a spreadsheet but there’s you’re just gonna miss so much of the point and you’re gonna miss someone you know, it’s in the same way of like, we are like your mini let us be your mini clo or let us be your your like data and Like hire us, as an employee to do this work for you and use us are like we’ve seen hundreds of companies we’ve seen on the private equity firm, we bought, like 50 companies now or something like that. So, like, we see this stuff, and we have the domain expertise. And I find that it doesn’t take very long to show somebody, like once you start walking them down and going through that process, that people just start doing it, because it makes intuitive sense. And then, you know, now we can kind of take our hands off, we’re always here. And in fact, we will, like if we see something that we think is would be of a benefit to you, or some way that you could make more like, we’re actually going to pin you, that’s a part of like, the way that we’ve been proved the team to be like, proactive of like, hey, there’s like, I don’t interrupt you. But there’s money on the floor here for you. So like, you know, we think that you should take if you don’t want to do it, or if there’s a reason why this isn’t happening, that’s fine. But like, you know, do you have five minutes jump on the phone, I want to show you just like two things that we think were like, double your business or, or whatever the case is. So that’s kind of the whole, that’s the whole goal and the whole focus of what we’re doing. And then splintering, somebody doesn’t know what to do, and they don’t know how to do it. It’s like, that’s kind of become, you know, our focus moving forward. It’s like, okay, well, we get somebody who we can deliver, you know, what we think is the right data to, but they don’t know how to take action. It’s like, okay, cool. We have to be able to handle that. Let’s, you know, be coaches, let’s be trainers, let’s figure that out, you know, in the same way that with, you know, well, half the half the reason why your revenues leaving his failed cards, but why don’t we just why don’t we just do that for you. We have a customer who signed up for we do a two week trial on that. I frequent numbers, I think the number was like, they recovered like $20,000 in MRR in the first in their trial. And so like, we went, you know, followed back up with him like, Hey, do you think you think you’re gonna sign up there? Like, like, is it less than, you know, whatever, you know, what’s 20,000? In monthly recurring revenue over the year, it’s like, whatever, like, hundreds of 1000s of dollars. So like, it’s is the cost of this less than $600,000 a month? Like, yeah, it is, it’s like, okay, cool. Well, we’ll sign up. So that’s, that’s kind of how we’re trying to splinter out and we’ll kind of like we want to continue. That’s, that’s our focus. And that’s where our catchphrase is make more like, whatever it takes to take people down that road, then that’s how we’re going to continue to grow and expand what we do. To get everybody get everybody making more and don’t be like, don’t be like me with the password, like we want to help help that help that older, older version of me get to where that person wanted to be
Alexander Ferguson 42:34
bringing all the the lessons learn insights you have, from the past, you understand SAS companies and their pain points and founders who were trying to grow and, and for this, it’s like, in many ways, there’s so much you could continue to write. So I’m intrigued with your coaching and other elements. I think we call we mentioned, like machine learning potential there, it’s but it’s still just kind of like collecting the data. And eventually, you can even circle around to Alright, how can you provide trending analytics and in the future around that?
Brian Sierakowski 43:06
Yeah, yeah. So I love machine learning. And in fact, in between, like, while I was at John, with this guy, like just sort of picked up self study on machine learning, I’m just like, very interested in it. And you know, certainly and totally like everybody else, and totally like, into raptured. By now, I’m just as susceptible, like the product with AI. Like, I’m like, Yeah, I’ll pay more for that. Because it’s got, it’s got AI, it’s got to be, it’s got to be better. Yeah, and I think there’s, I suspect there’s totally opportunities here. But the sort of the challenge that we see is that in our market, like in all markets, we have people, other competitors in the space that will sort of like tout AI, and AI. We’ve done like small experiments ourselves, I haven’t seen any indication that it actually works any better. Like, for example, with failed payments, like, there are ways to be like we are like hyper, hyper intelligent and super smart about how we go after customers for failed payments. And that might be a whole realm that that team wants to innovate on. But I think in practice, it’s like, some of the stuff is just easier, just like, well, what if you bug the customer? And what if you make it so that they can’t use the product without giving you a credit card without them having to make code changes? And why don’t we make it like super simple to update their credit card information? Yeah, like we’re gonna try them like seven times over the course of a month. That works really well. And that works, you know, and it’s not like, you know, like, what time of day and what time of day, you know, we’ve analyzed 8 million events. And we know that we shouldn’t ask them on day two, but we should ask them on day three, and I’m like, ask them on day two and ask them on day three, like, you know, if somebody is is has the intent to Once you use your product, and it’s just a failed card, then it’s just a matter of there being our customers are just like us of being too busy with a million things. So just give them the opportunity. And when they do say yes, I’m going to pull up my my wallet and put my my credit card in snake that incredibly easy. So we find that there’s been a lot of like aI type solutions, even on like on the Insight side, and we just find that when I talk to our customers, such as these people, it’s either not quite there yet, from a technology standpoint, or or maybe we just haven’t focused our efforts properly, even on like, insights, like, we err on the side of like, we will continue hiring more and more people to sit with you and listen to what your business challenges are, and where you’re trying to get in and walk you through that process of like, you know, let’s get to the root problem. And then look at your business and all the unique components of your business, every business has, like, there’s, there’s like a common core, but there’s all these like weird things that we do and all these kind of uniqueness and you know, weird components of our customer base that really have an impact on how much money we can make. So we want to take that all into account, and not just be like, well, you should decrease your churn. Like, yeah, like, no kidding. In what in what way? Are we going to do that? How do we do that? Who are we focusing on? What are you know, what are the techniques that we need to think about what’s been effective for other companies? What case studies that you have, with our product? Where in the flow? Should we start implementing these things? Like really thinking about these things from from a deeper level? That, you know, yeah, I’m sure if we ran analysis against our customer base, it would be like, people should make more money, and they should have lower churn. It’s like, Great, thank you. Thank you, Terminator. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Alexander Ferguson 46:49
It’s yeah, being able to provide that more practical, just you’re going to coaching route, which is interesting, a thing to add on. There’s so much to definitely to dig into of this, but it’s that the question is, as a SAS, operator, Owner, founder, are you really leveraging the data that exists and being able to get those insights for those that want to learn more about Baremetrics, you can go to Baremetrics.com that’s Baremetrics.com. Right, this is this has been great. Thank you so much for sharing your story and the journey that you’ve been on and, and the many insights that can be uncovered in a SaaS business, if you just know how to look at the data, and understand it.
Brian Sierakowski 47:31
It is possible to grow, even if you are feeling gloomy, or you’re feeling depressed. You know, as it’s half coaching, half, having the right team around, you have having the have having the free apps have having the you know the the right information in front of you to make you know, you want to put yourself in a situation where you can look at the problem and Intuit Oh, you know, this is the number in the road that is out. And this is, you know, those are the AHA is that will spur you into motion versus if you have that feeling like I’m just trying random stuff, and nothing’s kind of working. And maybe maybe I’m sharing my my trauma, but I’m fundamentally flawed as a person and I’m not fit to be a founder, like we’ve all been through that. So that’s like kind of some of the key things that we’re trying to eliminate. It is possible to grow. You can you can do it. And it’s harder than anybody will say, out loud and in public. But yeah, we and we have your back like we’re, we’re for my I am this person, I’ve been this person. We are we are for these people. And we just want you to we just want you to make more. So I’m always happy to help even outside of being a Baremetrics customer, anybody can email me, Brian at Baremetrics comm I’ll get back to you as soon as I want to big not, you know, not too many, too many promises there. But I do answer everything. So always, always happy to help even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on.
Alexander Ferguson 48:58
A positive message encouragement out there and someone you could reach out to for those listening. Thanks again for your time, Brian, and we’ll see you all on the next episode of UpTech Report. Have you seen a company using AI machine learning or other technology to transform the way we live work and do business? Go to UpTech report.com and let us know