How “Everyone” is a Dangerous Word for SaaS Founders

Here’s one of the most dangerous words for ambitious entrepreneurs: EVERYONE.

  • “Everybody who wants to save money should want what we have.”
  • “We sell to every small business.”
  • “Every doctor’s office needs our solution.”

ANY and ALL are equally dangerous words, too.

I get that you sell to a market like small businesses or doctors’ offices or software companies. And that you have big dreams.

But you shouldn’t try to sell to all of them in your market, especially when starting out.

Most companies or consumers in your market will never buy from you, even when you are a big market leader.

But you don’t become a big market leader trying to sell to everyone in your market in the first five or ten years. You do the opposite.

You ONLY sell to JUST the ones in your market:

  •  Who clearly have the problem you solve
  •  Who you can reach with reasonable efficiency
  •  Who will be happy customers for a long time
  •  Who will do something to solve the problem
  •  Who can understand why you are different and better

There’s a time when you start testing the “everyone” hypothesis to learn where you can get traction.

To find where your real target market is so you can focus only on that–to the exclusion of everyone else.

If you don’t, you’ll waste most of your time and money trying to sell to people who don’t want to be sold or won’t be happy, profitable customers.

Your actual target market is usually 10% of everyone in that market, at most.

Demographic traits like company size, industry, location, or age are starting points for focusing on, but that’s not enough.

Belief and behavior traits are always the most important when defining who you sell to:

  •  They know they have a problem (belief)
  •  They are looking for a solution (behavior)
  •  They have tried other things (behavior)
  •  They care about the things you care about (belief)

You can’t raise enough money to sell to every business in your market, even if you are focused on that industry.

“Everyone” is the opposite of product-market fit—the opposite of a scalable LTV-to-CAC ratio.

Here’s what founders of fast-growing software companies know that new startup founders don’t:

  •  50% of potential customers in your market will never buy from you
  •  40% might buy someday when you are bigger
  •  10% of the entire market is where you can find happy customers efficiently

Scare away the 50% who will waste your time and money. Or give them some great free content or tools with no marginal cost.

Ensure everyone in the company knows what a great customer looks like – demographics, behaviors, and beliefs.

If your frontline sales and marketing teams don’t know your definition of the best 10%, you are spending big money to screw up your business.

JUST is a much better word for ambitious entrepreneurs than EVERYONE.


Get the weekly Practical Founders email and podcast update.

Share Practical Founders


Win the Startup Game Without VC Funding

Learn how all 75 founders on the Practical Founders Podcast created an average founder equity value of $50 million.