Now Is The Time to Play Offense

This post is by Jeff Bussgang from SEEING BOTH SIDES

For the past six months, there has been a lot of handwringing about the market downturn. Most everyone has been advising entrepreneurs to marshal their capital, cut costs, and extend their runway. In essence, play defense.

Many investors have been creating a whiplash effect with their portfolio companies. As one of my CEOs put to me, wryly — “In my January board meeting, I wasn’t hiring and scaling fast enough and told to ‘go, go’, go’. In my April board meeting, I was burning too fast and was told to ‘stop, stop, stop’.”

Her experience rhymes with many stories I’ve heard.

But recently, as the dust has settled a bit, I am seeing the best entrepreneurs realize that now is the time to play offense. The “play offense” playbook is well known to many, but hard to execute during a downturn. With the start of the football season around the corner (go Patriots!) and as I have been talking to my most talented entrepreneurs, I have been thinking more and more about what playing offense looks like in 2022–2023. Here’s the six-part playbook I’m hearing:

1) Talent acquisition. A few years ago, it was impossible to acquire talent. The best engineers, sales reps, and growth managers could name their price and had a dozen offers in front of them. Today, layoffs — (Read more...)