You’re life as a founder will be from 5%-50% easier if your VCs all trust each other
It’s at least worth trying to end up with a syndicate like that
— Jason ✨BeKind✨ Lemkin ⚫️ (@jasonlk) February 15, 2021
I’ve been investing just long enough — since 2013 — to see some higher-level patterns emerge. In the end, the best founders with even a hint of traction end up winning. I’ve seen that now across 5 unicorns. They find a way.
But … it sure helps if you make it easier on yourself. If you make fewer unforced errors, in particular.
And one potential unforced error founders tend not to see is picking VCs that don’t trust each other … when they don’t have to.
What happens when you have multiple VCs that don’t trust each other?
Let’s make a list:
- Murky, non-aligned position on the next round. When your VCs know and trust each other, they come to alignment on the next round, and what it takes to support it, and what it takes to bridge you if you need a bridge. When your VCs don’t trust each other, you never see alignment unless you are a rocketship. This just makes it harder to close the next round. You want everyone on your cap table to be your champions. It’s just harder when trust isn’t there.
- Murky, conflicting positions on burn rate strategy. This one can be subtly dangerous, when one large VCs pushes you to burn a lot, while others are wary of that strategy until you truly have an engine.
- Much harder to get a bridge round done. Bridge rounds take trust all around. If your VCs don’t trust each other, it’s hard to really get a bridge done. And if it does get done, it’s a lot harder and takes longer. More here.
- Lots of cap table games. When VCs don’t trust each other, they become much more just out for themselves. They go and try to buy shares from ex-employees without telling anyone. They offer to buy others out at very low prices, again, without telling anyone. This stuff isn’t always the end of the world. But it’s distracting and further divides trust. And I’ve seen it lead to lawsuits. Trust me, any lawsuit is a distraction.
- Misalignment on the CEO. When VCs don’t trust each other, I often see a blame game vis-a-vis the CEO in tougher times. Bigger funds often talk more about replacing the CEO when they aren’t aligned with earlier investors. When they are aligned, and the earlier investors are supportive of the CEO, there’s rarely a discussion of replacing the CEO in tougher times.
- Misalignment on any board and investor-level drama in general. When your board and investors don’t trust each other, they don’t talk. They don’t talk between board meetings — or otherwise. That means whatever issues come up are never socialized and de-escalated amount your investors. By contrast, when the investors trust each other, issues just don’t seem as big of a deal when you talk them through. After all, most of them you’ve seen before.
The bottom line is if your VCs don’t talk and don’t trust each other, so many strategic things around the team and fundraising are just harder than they have to be.
So what can you do to improve trust? A few ideas:
- At least meet with later-stage VCs that your earlier-stage VCs recommend. You don’t have to take their money. But at least meet with VCs that your earlier stage VCs recommend. VCs tend to mainly recommend later-stage VCs they trust. If they also end up being your top choice, that’s a win-win.
- Just be wary of “sharp elbow” rounds that are done completely excluding existing investors. There are times this is OK, but it immediately starts you off with broken trust among your syndicate. Making room for pro-rata and existing investors in a full round is a complex topic. But rounds that 100% exclude all existing investors start everything off on the wrong foot. There’s never a reason to 100% exclude existing investors. At least understand that as a trade-off if you take a term sheet that does so. Your investors will never be friends after that. Ever.
- Be wary of VCs that never even talked to the last round investor pre-term sheet. This is a subtle but important sign I’ve found of conflict to come. VCs that want to be part of a team almost always reach out to the earlier stage investors before they invest, at least as a courtesy, and sometimes, to help win a win, and sometimes, to do further diligence. VCs that aren’t team players often don’t bother. I’ve always seen things go worse when a VC invests in a later round without talking to the earlier key investors. Always. It’s a flag.
- Have more, or even all, your investors come to your board meetings. It can be tempting to just have your #1 largest investor come to your board meetings. But that doesn’t really help you. Invite more of your investors, not fewer to your board meetings in the early days. It’s fine if they aren’t on the board. Just call them “investor meetings” instead.
At the end of the day, pick the best investor you can at each stage. Your VCs don’t have to be friends for you to win.
But trust me. It’s far easier if the family all gets along. And they’ll get along best when they trust each other. Start off without that trust, and you never really get it later. And your life is just … harder as a CEO than it might have to be.
Best WordPress Maintenance and Management Services
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Make no mistake: running a website is hard.
There are so many areas to focus on, from content creation to admin, to maintaining a site via updates.
The good news is that WordPress maintenance services can take a load off users’ shoulders, keeping their sites up to date and allowing them to spend their time elsewhere.
These services offer support and can help with website downtime, theme modifications, site backups, and more.
I’ve put together a list of the best WordPress maintenance and management services to help you get started.
#1 – GoWP — The Best For Agencies
GoWP is an ideal WordPress maintenance service for agencies.
It positions itself as a white-label service, which allows an agency to layer its own branding and SOPs on top of the maintenance services GoWP provides as if those services are now part of the agency’s own back end.
The white-label focus allows GoWP to create a dedicated mailbox using a domain, provide help and support to all requests to that email, and share a white-labeled dashboard with clients.
On top of that, you have WordPress plugin updates, security monitoring, and automatic site backups with 90 days of offsite storage.
Other powerful features of GoWP include:
- Unlimited content edits
- Dedicated account manager (premium)
- Dedicated WordPress developer (premium)
- Daily security scans and malware cleanup
- White-label help desk
GoWP has four main tiers of pricing that come under the following sequential packages:
- Maintenance / $29 monthly per site
- Content Edits / $79 monthly per site
- Page Builds / $1299 monthly per site
- Dedicated Developer / $2299 monthly per site
The second tier gives agencies access to a 24/7 team of experts, a support ticket dashboard, and Visual Validator WordPress updates.
The next tier jumps up in price but does provide you with a dedicated WordPress developer for it. Learn more at GoWP.
#2 – FixRunner — The Best For Tech Support
FixRunner is a great choice for dedicated tech support.
The service features monthly support time from two hours to four hours—this does depend on the plan you opt for—and additional help is available if you need it.
You’ll be able to use this support time to make all sorts of tweaks to a site, including full debugs, performance improvements, and more.
I was particularly impressed with FixRunner’s 30-day satisfaction guarantee that offers a full refund, no questions asked if you’re unhappy with the service.
FixRunner additionally offers:
- Speed Optimization
- WordPress core updates
- Plug-in and theme updates
- Uptime monitoring
- Security scans
The service provides plans for both small websites and bigger, enterprise-level ones. There are three core plans available for smaller websites:
- Premium / Monthly, quarterly, or yearly / $69 monthly
- Rocket / Monthly, quarterly, or yearly / $99 monthly
- Advance / Monthly, quarterly, or yearly / $179 monthly
For bigger websites or Enterprise-level business, we have the following:
- Advance + / Monthly or quarterly / $300 monthly
- Advance ++ / Monthly or quarterly / $500 monthly
- Custom / Monthly or quarterly / Call for price
If you’re a smaller website, I think the Rocket package is a good starting point–it includes support for online shops, on-page SEO optimization, and a faster response time for sites, making it a notable offering all around.
#3 – WP Buffs — The Best For Site Security
WP Buffs is a top maintenance service for those that want full confidence in their site’s security.
When users purchase the service, they’ll be able to use the iThemes Security plugin—considered to be one of the best security plugins available.
The plugin exists to protect a site from nasty malware and spam, but it’s also useful for its cache feature that improves the loading speed of a site—something crucially important for good rankings.
Users also have the option to back up their entire site with WP Buffs and store it in the cloud for extra peace of mind.
Other key features of WP Buffs include the following:
- 24/7 site edits
- Speed optimization
- Ongoing security
- Weekly updates
- Emergency 24/7 support
On the pricing front, WP Buffs offers multiple different plans. The four key ones are Maintain, Protect, Perform, and then a series of custom plans for those with advanced needs.
Itemized these are:
- Maintain / Annual or monthly / $56 a month billed yearly
- Protect / Annual or monthly / $123 a month billed yearly
- Perform / Annual or monthly / $164 a month billed yearly
- Custom / Annual or monthly / starts at $290 a month billed yearly
The iThemes Security Pro premium plugin is included from the second package onwards or the ‘Protect’ tier in this case. The third level of pricing, ‘Perform,’ includes four daily cloud backups, priority support, and complete malware removal.
#4 – Valet — The Best For Ecommerce Store Owners
Valet should be a top pick for those that run ecommerce stores.
It’s a comprehensive service that provides manual updates and includes uptime monitoring, security scanning, and full examinations of checkout workflows, all of which help ensure everything is running smoothly for your customers.
Some of the other highlights include:
- Code checks
- Reports and analysis
- Remediation for website accessibility
- Up to five hours of dedicated support per month
The first paid plan with Valet starts at $300 per month and includes two hours of support.
Ecommerce store owners should check out the professional plan that costs $750 a month but includes five hours of dedicated support every month.
The top tier plan with Valet is the ‘Elite Plan’ that offers over ten hours of support each month, and this is quite clearly catered towards large companies that have the extra funding available.
General consultations with Valet are available and cost $175 per month.
#5 – SiteCare — The Best For Performance Optimization
SiteCare is the best option on my list for site performance optimization. If you want a service that will optimize a site so it loads as quickly as possible, this is your top choice.
SiteCare gets to work by first looking at aspects of a site that could be causing it to slow down. This can be due to anything from poorly optimized images to faulty plugins or a web host’s quality.
Once that’s done, the service implements a series of best practices, removing the website’s weaknesses step by step until it’s responsive and efficient.
SiteCare offers the following to those that use the service:
- Hack cleanups
- Daily backups
- Real-time monitoring
- Theme and plugin updates
- Mobile optimization
In terms of pricing, things are clear and simple. There are two key plans available: a basic plan and an advanced one.
The basic plan costs $79 a month and includes access to the essentials, such as daily backups, malware cleanup, and access to support.
The more advanced plan costs $299 a month, so quite a jump, but for that, you get access to custom development hours with a specialist and a few extras such as ecommerce support and Sucuri firewall.
#6 – The WP Butler — The Best For Custom Plans
Only want specific parts of a service? Well, The WP Butler is unique because it allows users to customize their service plan.
For example, maybe you’re just looking for caching and speed improvements but don’t require anything else.
Monthly services with The WP Butler include malware scans, daily or weekly backups, and plugin or theme updates.
The itemized one-off service includes everything from configuring HTTPS to a custom security inspection.
Additional features of The WP Butler include:
- Weekly site reviews
- Uptime monitoring
- 30 minutes of development time on retainer
- Emergency site restoration
- Security plugin configuration
As there are quite a few options with The WP Butler, pricing varies significantly depending on what you need.
If the monthly packages are more suited to you, these come in the following tiers:
- The Basics / $39 a month
- The Solopreneur / $69 a month
- The Small Business / $129 a month
- The Company / $299 a month
- The Enterprise / $599 a month
One-off services range from $100 to $250, and there’s even the option of a monthly retainer. With this, you pay for a set number of hours of development work each month. Lots to choose from here.
What I Looked at To Find the Best WordPress Maintenance and Management Services
Before deciding which of these WordPress maintenance and management services to go for, it’s worth knowing how I chose them.
The first thing to mention is that there are two primary forms WordPress maintenance can take.
Generally speaking, there are WordPress maintenance services like the ones featured in this list, and there is “managed WordPress hosting.”
If a site is part of managed WordPress hosting, then there’s a good chance you won’t need maintenance service on top of that. Examples include WP Engine, Bluehost, SiteGround, and WordPress.com (not WordPress.org). If you’re hosting your WordPress site with any of these, maintenance services may not be necessary for you.
Since you’re reading this post, though, you’ve probably chosen to use a WordPress maintenance service outside of your hosting platform (or are hosting your site with a platform that doesn’t provide those services), so here are some of the features I looked at to pick out the best maintenance services.
It goes without saying how important security is for a site in the internet age. With the increase in threats and cyberattacks, knowing someone has got your back can bring great comfort.
Most of the maintenance services on this list include top security monitoring as part of their monthly packages, although not every service will. Some, for example, might include this as an optional extra.
How essential this is depends on the size of a company, but in most cases, monitoring a site for threats and knowing what to do if attacked is key. A maintenance service removes a great deal of worry here, so I think it’s a vital area to consider.
Site optimization is a broad term, but in the case of WordPress maintenance and management services, I’m mainly talking about making a site more responsive and quicker to load.
A slow website can lead to people leaving sites rapidly in today’s fast-paced world, not to mention that Google actively penalizes slower websites by pushing them down in the search results.
A WordPress maintenance service can optimize a site to load quickly, making it responsive and pleasurable to use. This is important for every single site on the internet.
Almost all of the WordPress maintenance services on this list include site optimization in some form, though the exact service carried out can vary.
A site that’s a victim of a cyberattack could find itself damaged and beyond repair—that’s where site backups come in. These allow users to restore a healthy and fully working version of said site.
In fact, it might not be a cyberattack, mistakes that delete files or whole databases can happen, sometimes inexplicably.
Having a maintenance service ready and waiting to install a healthy backup of a site if something goes wrong is beyond useful. It removes a lot of the stress from potentially losing everything.
Companies of most sizes will find this a vital feature, although site backups are easy enough to do if you’re an informed solopreneur—in the case of the latter, they might not need this particular service.
WordPress maintenance and management services can be crucially important to the right person. There’s a considerable amount of choice out there too, and knowing where to start can be difficult.
My list covers all of the key areas to consider:
- GoWP — The Best For Agencies
- FixRunner — The Best For Tech Support
- WP Buffs — The Best For Site Security
- Valet — The Best For Ecommerce Store Owners
- WP Site Care — The Best For Performance Optimization
- The WP Butler — The Best For Custom Plans
These are respectable choices, and thinking about exact needs can help make the decision process a little bit quicker.
There’s a lot to think about when running a site, from site backups to security and optimization.
WordPress maintenance services will allow the process to become more manageable, saving precious time for use elsewhere.
The post Best WordPress Maintenance and Management Services appeared first on Neil Patel.
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