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Conquer ‘Bright Shiny Object’ Syndrome With 5 Simple Habits For B2B SaaS Growth

CEO of Brightmoat

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Feeling like your B2B SaaS business momentum slowed? You’re not alone.

Not making the kind of progress on your niche B2B SaaS business? Do you feel distracted all the time? You’re not alone.

This feeling might even be worse for those in the niche B2B SaaS space: they are a creative and ambitious bunch. Not only are they prone to distraction, but they tend to start a new side hustles to solve problems they just noticed – even though they have at least one business that is already not getting the attention it needs.

Every app, network, and media outlet wants to distract you – that is inevitable and you can’t do anything about it. So how can you free yourself from distractions and get the work done?

DISTRACTION: A STATE OF MIND?

Regaining your focus may just be a matter of habit.

Depending on which research applies to you, you might spend an additional five hours of your weekend working (on top of your full-time job) or up to three hours every evening streaming TV or video games. Chances are, your phone does something to demand your attention every 15 minutes or a tab on your browser pops up notifications from Slack or a social media app. Even if you managed to manifest a few hours from your week, the myriad of digital distractions and your attempts to multi-task would keep your deep-focus work at bay.

Try as you might, you are not a computer. You cannot multi-task like your web browser – switching between tasks and reloading for the freshest updates. Studies collected by The Muse reveal that it can take up to 23 minutes to refocus on a task after we’re interrupted. It only takes one coworker popping by, one email notification, or one Twitter response to ruin the 30-minutes of coding you were trying to do on your lunch break.

Yet, to build a B2B SaaS company you need to carve out significant blocks of time for focused, intentional work to code, develop, and market it. Where is this time supposed to come from?

Well, for starters, Build Routine Habits.

With any project, especially one with long-term goals, making a regular note of your progress is crucial to finding your success. A B2B SaaS app can take months or years to build into something successful. In our experience, the habits you hold yourself to on a daily or weekly basis play a significant role in improving your focus and productivity. Even if you can’t remove yourself from a distracting environment, a strong lineup of habits can help you make steady progress every day.

Not just good habits, but Atomic Habits.

While we can all commit to creating new, beneficial habits, most of us have trouble keeping them. Just take a look at the New Year’s Resolutions that fall apart by February. This phenomenon is what led James Clear to write the bestselling book Atomic Habits. Clear lays out a simple, pragmatic model for keeping habits and modifying your behavior to both remove bad habits and further develop the good ones.

Clear outlines the four “laws” of the behaviors that are needed to develop a habit.

The Four Laws Of Habit Formation

The foundation of Atomic Habits – either breaking bad habits or installing new ones – is based on cue, craving, response, and reward. Every habit you have links to these four stages.

Law 1: The CUE: Make The Habit Obvious

The cue is any sort of sensory input that makes your mind notice the opportunity for an award. Avoid the cues that lead to bad habits, and engage with the ones leading to your desired outcomes.

If you know that quickly checking your social media could lead to hours of mindless scrolling, it might be worth deleting the apps from your phone – eliminating the cue. If you want to allocate specific times during your day to work on your niche B2B SaaS business, schedule it on your calendar and add positive notifications to remind you when the time is coming up.

Then, make it even more evident by listing out the exact things you will do in that time. You’re not just “coding” but “testing Stripe integration.”

Law 2: The Craving – Make The Habit Attractive

The calendar notification that reminds you to work on a specific part of your business might not be enough, so how can you make the habit more attractive? Try “temptation building” by pairing your focused work sessions with something you already enjoy – like listening to your favorite music on top-of-the-line headphones.

Law 3: The Response – Make The Habit Easy

If the habit isn’t easy to do, then you likely won’t enjoy the reward. Easy habit + great reward = new behavior. Working on your B2B SaaS project might not seem as appealing if it takes too long to get the tools you need in order. To make this easier, build a bookmarks folder with all the links you need. When you have a spare 30 minutes, you can click the folder and quickly open your Notion, your coding tools, your login information, and whatever else you might need.

Law 4: The Reward – Make The Habit Satisfying

When it comes down to it, if the habit isn’t rewarding, you’re not going to engage with it regularly. If it’s not fun, it won’t stick. When it comes to your side B2B SaaS project, the ultimate reward might be paying customers or a sale – something you can’t necessarily count on for satisfaction. Instead, try adding instant and positive reinforcements to your progress. Habit trackers like Momentum or Streaks are a great way to see your habit progress build up over time. Sometimes, even having a visual record of your progress is enough to keep you on track.

Now that you know the theory of habit change, it is time to use this model to improve your focus. We’ll accomplish that goal by identifying good habits and bad habits.

Negative Out, Positive In – Which Habits Need To Go?

Humans are habitual creatures. According to studies cited in a Science Daily article, nearly 40% of what you do in a day happens by habit – which means 60% of your day is left up to conscious decisions. With all of this room to craft better habits, the first step is to determine your positive and negative habits. After all, you need to identify the problem before you can start fixing it.

Spend an hour listing out all the things you do in a day – from the moment you get up to when you get back into bed at night. Do you spend time looking at your phone before getting out of bed? Do you typically eat the same thing for breakfast? How do you get to work? What are the first and last tasks you handle in a workday? Include everything, no matter how trivial.

Once you have the habits listed, catalog each into one of three types: positive, negative, and neutral. A positive habit contributes to your goals and well-being – like listening to a motivating podcast or non-fiction books. Negative habits are a distraction or create harm (e.g., “waste time on social media every day”).

Neutral habits will have a minimal impact on your goals. What is positive, negative, or neutral will vary from one person to the next.

With this list of positive and negative habits in hand, start to outline how the Four Laws of Habit Change can be used to reduce the negative and enforce the positive.

Spend too much time on Reddit or Product hunt? You may want to use a blocker to limit your time on the site or remove the cues by deleting the browser bookmark. Want to have more time to spend focused on your niche B2B SaaS project? Try blocking out time on your calendar that no one can schedule over.

Remember: The Work Still Matters

Some operators will use habit trackers as a way to have instant, positive reinforcement to their progress. However, if you aren’t doing the work toward your project or company, the habit trackers are little more than a series of checkmarks. Habit trackers reinforce the behaviors that will get you to your goal: moving your B2B SaaS project to the finish line.

Studying and trying out various productivity apps or techniques may feel productive, but too much can be another distraction – and bad habit – itself. Once you find something that works, stick to it. Let it run in the background and reinforce the habits that allow you to do the work.

Proof of Work – Where Habits Help Founders

But will this all work? If you spend the time breaking down your habits and applying the Four Laws, will it all be worthwhile? Could your efforts today eventually mean you are bringing the next Slack or HubSpot to the world? Before diving into your habit-forming journey, you can draw inspiration from SaaS founders who successfully built their side hustle projects into successful companies.

Side Hustle SaaS Success: Floify created by Dave Sims

Floify, a mortgage automation SaaS company, came to Dave Sims while he was the acting CEO of Flux. While Sims may have had more flexibility than most while serving as a CEO, he still had the challenge of developing two businesses at the same time.

In an interview with IndieHackers, Sims commented:

“Understand yourself well enough to know if your side project is something you can pull off. In my case, I found that I could only work when the sun was shining, Monday through Friday. So I tweaked my professional and personal life to that reality.”

There are early risers, and there are night owls – how your energy plays out through the day could determine how well the habits stick and when your best work happens. Above all, know thyself.

Side Hustle SaaS Success: Cronhub created by Tigran Hakobyan

In contrast to Sims, Tigran Hakobyan had a full-time software position at Buffer when he started his side project, Cronhub. Launched in 2018, Cronhub works to schedule and automatically run cron jobs. Hakobyan attracted his first few customers through content marketing and Product Hunt.

As Hakobyan shared in an interview,

“The biggest motivation for me to start Cronhub was to solve my own problem and educate myself with the fundamentals of running a successful business. I look at Cronhub as a medium to learn new skills.”

The side-hustle isn’t always about the money (though it is a nice benefit). Hakobyan created an entire company so he would have a platform to apply and exercise his positive habits. The skills learned, and the customers gained, were the positive reinforcement that would cue him to further grow the business.

From “One Day” to “Day One”

As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Yet, it was one of the most prestigious empires in all of history. The same goes for you, your niche SaaS project, and whatever else you’re setting out to create. It won’t happen in a day, but you have to start somewhere. When we fall short on our habits or goals, it’s because we tried too much, too fast.

Start today. Start small. Then, tomorrow, add a little more.

Through it all, we’ll be here watching your progress!

Learn how to gain an unfair competitive edge, read B2B SaaS success stories, and explore new exit tactics & strategies. Subscribe to get new posts in your inbox today.

Dmitriy Dobrov

Dmitriy Dobrov

Dmitriy is the co-founder and the moat evangelist at Brightmoat. He spends most of his day evaluating the moats of profitable niche B2B SaaS. He also helps Brightmoat’s portfolio company CEOs grow their moats. If you have enjoyed this article, want to know more, or have any questions, feel free to write to dmitriy@brightmoat.com.

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