1. Just get started… that’s half of the battle. Find 1-2 individuals that are exceptional in what they do and start working on the MVP. Spin up a google docs and start putting ideas together for your product, processes, team requirements, budget, market analysis, competitors, mission/vision. This will become the basis of your business plan and your pitch deck.
2. Get an alpha/beta customer early. This allows your to test out your MVP and get valuable feedback so you’re not building in a vacuum. It allows you to focus in getting product market fit early.
3. Learn to fundraise. One of your founders needs to learn this skill and it’s tough to acquire. Get started early in listening to podcasts like “funded”, sign up to SeedLegals (UK) and look at their resources/webinars in how it’s done, get advice from friends who have done it before. Also get started on building your financial model early.
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Public Speaking and Thought Leadership Coach
The problem. If you can articulate it better than the people experiencing it can, they will subconsciously associate you with the solution.
Head of Customer Success
I'm from the B2B SaaS world where we need to work closely with our clients to make sure they are getting maximum value from our platform - otherwise, they won't renew. Value means different things and doesn't necessarily equate to $$$$. At Ada, we're a HealthTech platform and we work with our partners to save them money but, more importantly, to help them deliver better health outcomes to their end-users. Find out what value means to your client and work together on a plan to deliver it.
Establish a clear WHY for your business. WHAT you do and HOW you do it are not key drivers for stakeholders, whether they are team members or customers. Ideally, WHY should be well defined - thereby creating a road map for future products and services.
Head of Marketing
In B2B, it's easy to think of your customers as entities rather than sets of human beings doing their best to get things done. Especially as a marketer, it's dangerously easy to get seduced by what you can measure and overlook the fact that to have great, sustainable relationships you need to have good listening skills and a good memory. I'm lucky that I work with a team of outstanding Account Directors who provide me with a consistent stream of actionable information around their customer accounts. Nothing beats regular conversations with customers, but I'd say that the single most important thing for us to understand about our customers is: what are they trying to achieve? We use the Jobs To Be Done concept as the starting point for all our content and sales enablement planning, as it forces us to think of our customers as emotional beings who are looking to get things done - our job is to help make that happen.
Of course, established market players have advantages, but so do small businesses. Usually, it is harder for large businesses to stay flexible and react quickly when conditions in the market change. That is not the case for small companies, which often have better quality control and can provide a more authentic experience by directly contacting their clients. By turning the size of your company into a competitive advantage, you can be more valuable than established market players.
As a lawyer involved in the business and property world the first rule of marketing is to focus on existing client service. It is obvious but so often overlooked in professional services firms who are often chasing the next big marketing idea. Be of service and value to your clients and they will stick with you and recommend others.
A great question and an area that can influence investment. My thoughts; belief in self and product, a clear vision and passion. Belief – There are opportunities in the market that your product can fill. Clear Vision - The concept has been researched and feedback gained. Passion - The old clichés still ring true. If you do not believe in your concept, then why should others? People DO still buy people and this aspect holds much influence. Best quote for any founder, “What are you prepared to do?" There is no life without risk so ignore the naysayers, go for it.
Chief Sales Officer
Salespeople must have drive and empathy. They need drive to push past obstacles and risks that customers, competitors, and their own company, put in their way. They need empathy so they can think like the customer, understand what is motivating the customer and so the salesperson can see the customer's problems from the customer's perspective. For superstar salespeople, you need two additional attributes, inquisitiveness to have them search and seek for more information and to fully understand problems; finally, you need intellect because the more you can solve the customer's problem the more successful they will be. What salespeople can do to be successful is to think like the customer so they can understand their customer's problems. They need to take the time to think, not simply react and respond to a customer's demands. Finally, they need to be proactive. It is not the customer's job to buy our products - it is their job to do their job, successful salespeople do a lot of the work the customer needs to do in evaluating our products for the customer.
Spend 3-5 years in 2 large companies post uni/college. Learn how to operate there in relative safety. Spend 20% of your week meeting new / interesting people. Then get out and go somewhere smaller or, even better, start your own thing. Don't wait any longer or it will be too hard to leave the nest. You only start learning when you leave the nest. Don't waste time...