Need to layoff a friend

As founders, we make decisions every day. Whether you like it or not.

Should I go no-code?

How can I promote my product?

Will I lose customers if I scrape feature x?

How much should I charge?

Employee Abc is not working well enough. What should I do?

My takeaways

  • We need to make decisions

  • Be transparent

  • Build in the open

  • Stay close to customers

  • Focus on customer retention

We have 4 months of runway remaining

If we don’t close any deal in the next month, I’ll need to let my friend go. Will give him 3 months notice.

The pressure of making a new sale had been with us since the beginning of the company.

Well, back in time 

I was the only developer in my company. Things were getting busy. I need a new developer to help me. Invited my friend, we’d worked together. A fantastic Java developer/architect. A challenge and enormous risk for him. Gigantic responsibility to guarantee my friend’s future.

“I am in”.

We need more money

Then, we went for meetings and meetings with potential customers.

Rejections, rejections and more rejections.

We still have time to strike a sale. But the clock is ticking.

Being a founder is being responsible for lives

My friend, his family, our contractors...I felt responsible for their success. My failure will have a huge impact in their lives.

I felt the pressure again.

But this time, I used my lessons learned

With only 4 months of runway left

We spent more time in our first client’s office.

  • Listening to users

  • Improving the tool

  • Building in the “open”

  • Learning their struggles

  • Getting used to their work

They kept coming with new problems. “Wait. Problems? I see money here! Let’s improve the tool and charge more!

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Wow, seriously?

A week before 3 months.

I have to announce my friend’s layoff. Don’t want to do that. I’m reluctant.

Then a new sale!

The same client paid for a new project!!

Uhuuu!! We’re all safe!! Phew!!

At the end

We ended up working together for the whole company’s existence. He was my right arm on the technical side.

I had made it clear that his salary was guaranteed for 1 year, when he joined.

No new sales in 1 year?

We would shut the company down.


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