The Essential Guide to Growing Your Early-Stage SaaS Startup

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Building this extensive guide has been a fun and challenging project. We’ve been lucky to have a lot of help from very talented contributors – we thank you all for your support.


Going from MVP to growing repeatable revenue is not easy. The odds are against you. This guide will help you become aware of the factors that will most likely influence your chances of success… but don’t let it intimidate you. It’s far more important to do something, anything, and learn from the journey.

So be bold and seize the day!

- David Darmanin, CEO and Founder at Hotjar

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Credits

This guide was written and edited by Fio Dossetto, Content Marketer & Editor at Hotjar.

Its structure and promotion strategy were planned and executed by Louis Grenier, Content Strategist at Hotjar.

 

Huge thanks to the Hotjar Team for their amazing support, in particular:

  • Marc von Brockdorff (Co-founder & Director of Engineering) for organising the XAwards and getting so many amazing speakers on board.
  • David Darmanin (Co-Founder and CEO) for making sure we always focus on what matters and challenging us every day.
  • Natalia Biel (PPC Specialist) for setting up and managing all ad campaigns for the this guide.
  • Andrew Michael (Digital Marketer) for his Product Hunt expertise and feedback.
  • Jon Malmberg (CMO) and Nick Heim (Director of Marketing) for giving us the freedom to try new things.
  • Ken Weary (VP of Operations) for always making sure everything runs smoothly.
  • Maria Melanathy (US Hero) for tracking all the feedback we received on the draft via Incoming Feedback.

 

For creating a unique look for this guide:

  • Denis Constantinou, Graphic Designer
  • Derrick Weiss, Inbound Marketing Consultant at IMPACT
  • Tim Ostheimer, Senior Front-End Developer at IMPACT

 

For agreeing to speak at the XAwards and share anecdotes and experiences:

  • Christian Thaler-Wolski, B2B SaaS Startup & VC Fund Advisor
  • Josef Calleja, previously CFO at GFI Software
  • Alex Theuma, Co-Founder at SaaStock
  • Hannah Chaplin, CEO at Receptive.io
  • Ryan Singer, Product Strategist at Basecamp
  • Patrick Campbell, CEO at Priceintelligently
  • Gary Gaspar, CEO at Marker.io
  • Antoine Bonello, COO at Mr. Green
  • Bob Jelica, Director of Awesomeness at Football Addicts
  • Sergei Anikin, VP of Engineering at Pipedrive

For taking the time to review and comment an earlier draft of this guide:

  • Sujan Patel, Growth Marketer & Entrepreneur
  • Alan O’Rourke, Growth Marketer
  • Dan Kaplan, Founder at Exponents
  • Alan Klement, Author of When Coffee & Kale Compete
  • Vessy Tasheva, Chief Strategy Officer at EnhanCV
  • Georgi Ivanov, CEO at Enhancv
  • Ahmed Radwan, CEO at Jasper
  • Justin McGill, Founder at LeadFuze
  • Mike Troiano, VC at G20 Ventures
  • Dan Levy, Content Director at Unbounce
  • Dave Nevogt, CEO at Hubstaff
  • Steve Rayson, CEO at Buzzsumo
  • Jon Kern, Co-Author of the Agile Manifesto 

For being our hunter on Product Hunt:

  • Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, SaaS Consultant & Customer Success Evangelist


For their time, resources, and suggestions: 

  • Irina Dzhambazova, Head of Content at SaaStock
  • Kumy Veluppillai, Co-Founder at SaaStock 
  • Sarah O'Farrell, Community Manager at SaaStock
     

For being beta readers and helping us pinpoint exactly what early-stage startups need:

  • Abdurashid Atahanov, Digital Analytics & Marketing Partner / Founder at Prospectuz DGTAL
  • Alan Gleeson, Curator at SaaSResources.com
  • Alex Hudson, CTO at Iron Group
  • Alin Vlad, CMO at cognitiveSEO
  • Arun Pattnaik, UX Consultant
  • Björn, Founder at Blindfeed
  • Björn Simonson, UX manager at iZettle
  • Boyan Sabevski, Tech Team Lead at Google / Cognizant
  • Brent Flanders, Co-Founder (Strategy + Execution) at Tapyness
  • Bret van Putten, Head of marketing, Dutch Internet Marketing
  • Bryan Peters, CEO/Founder at Teal Software
  • Damian Keane, Marketing Manager at Moovly
  • Daria Abela, Technical Trainer / Lecturer / Software Developer at Minley / MCAST
  • David Attard, Product Manager / Co-Founder at BeeWits
  • Eric Svensson, Founder & Developer at AppUp
  • Freddy Chanut, Managing Director at In Marketing We Trust
  • Goodwin Lawlor, Founder at Cluster Coworking
  • Guillaume Moubeche, Head of Growth at LeadGuru.io
  • James Petry, Analyst at Envoy
  • Jason Bauer, Director of Software Engineering at Adicio, Inc.
  • Jenny Pollock, Customer Success Engineer
  • Joe Savitch, Marketing at Altos
  • Jói Sigurdsson, Founder/CEO at CrankWheel
  • Kathy Werner, SaaS Project Manager
  • Kenn Ejima, Founder at Dumper.io
  • Kristian Haanes, Founder and CEO at Webinara
  • Lacey, Digital Marketing Manager at myWebHero
  • Laura Sima, Digital marketer at Qubiz
  • Lindsay Tabas, Startup Advisor at The Lady Engineer
  • Loic Jeanjean, VP growth at Advisor Websites
  • Manan Shah, Co-founder & CEO at Recruiterflow
  • María, Cofounder and COO at Zeppelean
  • Mark Bliss, Director of Marketing at Xeeva, Inc.
  • Martin, Entrepreneur / International Project Manager at 13GRAMS.BG
  • Megan Headley, Research Director at TrustRadius
  • Melanie Jones, President at Marketing Interface
  • Michael Bennett, Product Manager at The Better Software Company
  • Michael Iacona, Founder & CEO at Rake
  • Nikolaj Gilstrøm, Student at Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Noel Lyons, UX designer at Dynamic Web Marketing, LLC
  • Olanrewaju Giwa, Inventor/Designer
  • Paris Papavlasopoulos, Head of Product at Greek Yellow Pages
  • Paul Randall, Senior UX Architect at Evosite
  • Peter Pan, Product Manager at Harmona
  • Phil Rivard, Founder & CEO at NUKERN
  • Presley Roozenburg, Global Conversion Rate Specialist at Exact
  • Richelo Killian, Founder & CEO at ContactJam
  • Rob Sexton, CTO Innovation and Technology at HumanYo
  • Rob Bluck, Marketing Manager at Signable
  • Roberto Simões, Product Manager at Elumina
  • Robin Warren, Founder at Corrello
  • Sean Madden, Co-Founder & CEO at CreativeTribes.co
  • Sebastian Rehaag, Director of Marketing Technology at Aurea
  • Steven Rose, Co-Founder & Executive at Dart Metrics
  • Sue Rust, Sr. Digital Marketing Specialist at Wunderman
  • Sylvestre Dupont, Co-Founder at Parseur.com
  • Taru, Inbound Marketing Manager at AppVirality
  • Vijay Khandekar, Growth Head at SERPed.net
  • Yam Regev, CMO & Co-Founder at Zest.is
  • Yashaswini, Product Manager at Insticator
  • Yolcu Iskender, Founder at onlinepayment.io 
  • Yonis Kintero, Designer

Thank you also to all XAwards attendees who took a leap of faith in attending the first Hotjar XAwards.