Growth accelerator that helps you scale your business | Jeff Mains - Champion Leadership Group

Author Cristian
Updated Sep 19th, ’22
Category General
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Who is Jeff Mains?

Jeff: I’m a five-time founder with for exits, and I’m currently running a fintech software company, a fintech SaaS company, in the healthcare space. So we solve one of the biggest problems in healthcare: fixing the billing process and patient experience, turning that into as great an experience as the care experience itself. It’s called Intelligent Contacts, and I started it in 2010. It’s something that I like, I enjoy the team, the people, and our clients.

We also have a growth accelerator specifically for B2B SaaS founders and helped them scale in two ways. One is on the journey from one to ten, which we call Crossing Death Valley. And then we have a mastermind for SaaS founders, ten to 100 million. So it’s really to help founders. My journey is of the reasons that I’ve been successful because I’ve had great mentors along the way, and I wanted to do something to pay that forward. And so, I started working one-on-one with a handful of founders, and it just maxed out my time very quickly. And I wanted to help more people. So it shifted about six years ago into the current format and can expand and help a lot more SaaS entrepreneurs, help them grow, but I have a passion for doing that and helping people not make the dumb mistakes I’ve made. And that’s a long list. And the funny thing is, none of them seemed dumb at the time.

SaaS accelerator

Well, we help founders to grow in three areas. One is revenue growth because that’s one of the ways that SaaS companies are measured in a big part. The second is valuation. There are many things besides revenue, but we want to maximize value. And that could be for a capital raise, it could be for exit and thinking about those things and building a company that has value, and that has high value. Not just in our eyes as founders, because we all like our companies, but it has big value in the marketplace for strategy, financial acquisition, investments, and those kinds of things. And then the third one is really for freedom. So many of us became entrepreneurs because we wanted to be free and enjoy that freedom. But what happens so often is that entrepreneurs get stuck working in the business, and that freedom is very elusive. So we have specific processes and strategies to help entrepreneurs find that freedom now, not someday, maybe, or someday when I fill in the blank, but if we want them to enjoy life now and live a full life today, not someday.

Are there other mentors as well?

Jeff: Well, I’ve never wanted to be a guru, so the group is not built around me. I share many of my experiences and mistakes, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it’s not just me. And so bringing in subject matter experts, true experts in their field. So we’re talking about sales. I want the best sales leader. We’re talking about product market fit, I want that the best person. If we’re talking about digital marketing or advertising or SEO, I want experts in that to come in and have conversations with our clients to help them really learn from the best. So it’s not just about me. I want to ensure that we have the best of the best, and I also learned in that process.

Jeff’s book – Small Fish, Big Pond

Jeff: A world-class business that swims circles around competitors. One of the biggest takeaways is why some companies are exceptional, and others are mediocre. What is it that exceptional companies do that mediocre companies don’t or they don’t do well? Or why do some companies experience rapid growth while others sink into the depths? And so it unpacks many of those in a fun way, using not only concepts but stories and interactive activities. So people are doing things, not just reading and consuming information, but applying it because the real value is in action. So that’s built into the book as well. You can find it anywhere books are sold. Amazon is probably one of the most popular places. But, of course, everything comes from there.

The SaaS Fuel Podcast

Jeff: So we talked with B2B SaaS founders about how they’ve been successful and tips for growing their businesses. Currently, we’re at about episode 20. That’s one of the things that I want to do is provide a lot of free content for SaaS founders. And it goes back to why I started doing this in the beginning, to help people. And not everybody has the network around them. Not everybody has mentors but wants to be that and work with companies. And one in 10 million? Well, there are a lot of companies that are somewhere between startup or pre-revenue to a million. And so we make a lot of free resources available for them. And I want our free stuff to be better than most people’s paid stuff. That’s so important because my experience is my experience. But also we can all learn from each other. And so, again, it’s not about me being a guru or bestowing my knowledge on people, but it’s about creating an environment where we can all learn from each other and move forward. Because we’re all on that same journey, some are a little further ahead, some maybe a little further behind. We’re all on the same journey together. When we can work together and share that knowledge, we can avoid mistakes, we can avoid the pitfalls because being an entrepreneur is hard and can be a very lonely journey. But when we get together and can support each other and move forward, it’s a real game changer.

Champion Leadership Pricing

Cristian: I guess your programs involve a cost. Do you think people won’t appreciate it as much if it was free?

Jeff: That’s actually true. We do a lot with charities and giving, and that’s a core part of what we do. It’s about impact and impact in the community or world. But yes, if everything was free, it is certainly not valued nearly the same. It’s a flat fee. Two different programs are different price points, but it’s a flat fee. It’s the same for everybody.

Founding Intelligent Contacts

Jeff: So we’re primarily in that healthcare space, and we work to make it, as I said, fix the billing process. Because that’s one of the most frustrating things for consumers, for patients they go, and they have a great experience with their doctor, and that whole experience falls apart when they get the bill in the mail, or they go out to the counter at the end. And so that’s really what we fix and make it a good experience where the patient is in control, they can set up, negotiate their payment plans as they need to, whether before procedures or after making it where they understand their billing. We primarily sell to healthcare, hospital systems, billing companies, and anybody. That’s what I call outsourced billing offices or external billing offices that take care of all of that for hospitals and health systems. So those are typically our clients.

We’ve got about 80 on the team, and we’re completely bootstrapped and have been from the beginning. I’ve done multiple companies, worked with many others, and financed them differently. And there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to do it. They’re just differences. And so there are pros and cons to either one for this company, just to bootstrap it. I think probably the biggest reason that we stayed bootstrapped is that we could, and we do have a lot more control. We’re not tied up to the quarterly number, or we don’t have to we can make the right decisions for clients at the right time, whether that’s to invest in technology, there’s no pressure of we have to hit these numbers this quarter, or we have to be profitable by a certain point in time, or we have to do distributions and can’t reinvest in the business. So it allows us to do the right thing for the clients and the business at the right time. And could we do other things? Could we raise? Absolutely. And we’re approached every week, so at some point, that probably makes sense. But if you build a solid business model that’s profitable, that is what we call what I call future proof. That’s really what we’re looking for, something that profit and growth are not mutually exclusive. And so we want to have a nice healthy balance of both to move forward and fund the business for the long term.

Staying active on social media

I do, so I try to stay pretty active for several reasons. One is promoting the businesses. Every entrepreneur should be doing that, and it just kind of goes back to the reason it’s starting Champion Leadership Group to provide information for other founders and other entrepreneurs. What’s your favorite software? Well, that’s a tough one. My favorite software, which I probably use most often, is Slack. Some so many people use that. So is it my favorite? Who knows? But it’s the one that I use most often. My favorite software is probably whatever gets the job done quickly, which changes the market quickly. So something that I used yesterday or two weeks ago, last year, there may be something else that has come out. Definitely an early adopter. So as new things come out, I’m pretty quick to try, is this something that makes sense?

I want that and that I love to try new things. But, yes, the early adopter curve, we all know it, and it’s little, I think it’s 2.5%, right? So being an early adopter is good for individuals, it may not be as good for enterprises, but it depends on where you are on that scale. But we’ve been early adopters in a lot of ways. We went to the cloud early on. Everything we have is hosted on AWS and has been for several years. And so pretty early there, pretty early adopting some of the benefit models and some of the early, even payroll providers that have grown up and names you would know now, like Gusto, we were using them back when they were in payroll a long time ago. So very early in the process, Ripley would be another one, just pretty early in the process and thinking, what can we do to improve the business? What can we do to drive efficiencies? How can we use technology to facilitate what we want to do, what we want to accomplish faster? And so always on the hunt for new technologies to do that. And maybe one last question.

Advice for SaaS founders

It’s one of the things that are in my book. I would say it’s one of the first principles in there – to get big, go small. And it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s thinking about like a funnel, what we want to do, where you have a typical sales funnel looks kind of like this. The big part is on top, and people go through, and some stuff comes out to the bottom, and it’s really big. And you ask entrepreneurs who’s your ideal client, and it’s everybody. They’ll say if they’re selling entrepreneurs, why, it’s entrepreneurs. Okay, well, great. That’s 50 million people. I hope you got a lot of money to target all of them. Can we get smaller? But the smaller that you go, the better it is. Think about that funnel. Flip it upside down, put the small end on top, and go small. When you think you’re small enough, go smaller and smaller and smaller and focus in and find that niche that’s ready, willing, and able to buy that has a problem that you solve better than anybody else. And focus in because that’s where the marketing magic happens. That’s where the small part is on top. And so you’re getting qualified leads that understand and resonate with the problem you solve because they know they’re a fit. When it’s really big on top, you get a lot of people in the funnel. They’re not sure if they’re a fit, but you make that small, and you focus, and then lots more come out the bottom. So if you want to get big, go small.

I love that because that’s the type of thing that your competitors won’t do. And we see it all the time. People want to automate marketing. They want to send out a general blast email or send out messages on LinkedIn using automation. Okay, that’s one way to do it. But if you can focus and spend time, what if you spent five minutes really understanding your prospect and reaching out with something that makes sense, that connects with them? Does it scale? Maybe. But your competitors, most of them 95%, 98% won’t do that. They won’t take the time. So I love that advice. Do things that don’t scale because it sets you apart from your competitors, and you learn much about your clients. You learn so much from those interactions because you’re investing the time in that.

See the full podcast

You can find the video interview below.