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Navigating the depths of near failure to profitability: An Introduction

Andy Cook on March 8, 2018 · 3 minute read
Welcome to our series chronicling our journey from nearly failing to profitability. Make sure to read all four parts: Part 1: A brewing stormPart 2: Righting the shipPart 3: Land ho!Part 4: Charting a new course. If you’re all caught up then subscribe to get updates from Tettra.

Me: “Bad news. We couldn’t close the round this quarter like we wanted. Without the money, we’re default dead. We’ll be out of money in 3 months.”

Team: “😟… what are we going to do?”

Me: “We have two paths we can take. The first is to keep trying to fundraise and get this round closed in the next three months, but it’s likely we die in the process. The second is to get to profitability. We’re going with the second strategy.”


Lives Remaining: 0

This was the start of the conversation I had with our team at the end of June last year at our quarterly company meeting.

It’s never fun to admit that you’re heading towards failure. It’s even less fun when it’s your fault.

I bluntly laid out the scenario over lunch — on our current trajectory we were default dead and would run out of money in three months. This was our last life before it was game over.

An actual slide from that team meeting

Fast forward six months from that team meeting, and I’m proud to say we had our first profitable month ever in January.

We now have a sustainable foundation to build a real company and are feeling better than ever. It wasn’t an easy journey though; In reality, it was full of ups and downs and a plenty of hard decisions. This is the story of how we got there.

Share Early & Often and Be Inclusive

At Tettra, we build software to help teams make the right decisions faster as they grow. We believe that sharing knowledge is the most powerful tool an organization can use to empower their people to do amazing work. Giving everyone access to the same information helps align teams around shared goals and creates a more inclusive environment.

We also believe that these lessons shouldn’t stay confined inside the walls of a single organization. In general, startups are more open with information than other industries, but there are still blind spots.

As a founder, the area that is most lacking in the canon of startup knowledge is real stories about the nitty-gritty of growing a company — especially when things don’t go according to plan. Those stories only get shared behind closed doors at private events or over drinks, but so many people aren’t included in those conversations. We want to help change that.

If you’ve ever wanted to get a behind the scenes look at what it’s really like starting and running a saas company, this is the series for you.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing our journey, chronicling how we went from three months on the death clock to our first months of profitability. Part 1 launched today. Come aboard by subscribing below and get updates delivered to your inbox. Please leave comments, feedback and ask questions in the comments sections below too.

We’ll cover it in four parts:

Part 1: A Brewing Storm
How we got into this situation — published 3/08/18

Part 2: Righting the ship
How we got out of this mess —published 3/22/18

Part 3: Land Ho!
Hitting profitability — published 4/5/18

Part 4Charting a new course
What’s next and a new map for revenue focused startups — published 10/18/18