145: The Importance of Building a Culture for Growth with Mike McDerment of Freshbooks

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One of the best ways for an entrepreneur to come up with a great business idea is by scratching their own itch. If something’s giving you trouble, it’s likely that other people out there are feeling the same way.

That’s how it all started for Mike McDerment, back when he created FreshBooks. At the time, McDerment wasn’t looking to create a new business, or invent some sort of revolutionary product to sell. He was just trying to solve his own problem—he was tired of using Microsoft Excel as a way to create and send invoices to clients.

It originally started off as simple digital product to make his own life easier, but it wasn’t long before others started taking an interest in McDerment’s new tool. Instead of selling a complete software package, the common approach at the time, McDerment decided to try out a new business model that was relatively unheard of at the time.

“The truth is, we were SaaS before there was SaaS. We were cloud before there was cloud,” he says.

While most people were selling software as licenses, McDerment was determined to build a product that would guarantee a predictable, recurring revenue. It was a new idea, and one that many consultants and others in their space advised against. And it’s true that things didn’t look great for McDerment and his co-founders after two years of developing and selling the product.

“We had only 10 paying customers paying about 10 dollars a month each. To be making a hundred dollars month after that many human years of effort is by all accounts a failure. And we stuck with it because we really loved what we were doing and our customers were telling us that it was great. It was a little more colorful in the early days,” McDerment says.

Refusing to give up, McDerment and his co-founders pushed on, and in the years since, they’ve served more than 10 million customers, and grown into a company with over 250 employees. Today, FreshBooks is one of the most widely used and preferred methods of accounting and invoicing for small businesses everywhere, and it all began with a simple idea, the passion to never give up, and some interesting strategies for growth.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Why you shouldn’t necessarily follow best practices
  • How to grow and adapt as a leader
  • Why the best leaders never need to have all the answers
  • The importance of instilling the right values within your team and company culture
  • What “guardrails” you need in order to have your company grow as fast as possible
  • & much more!

 

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