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.
1. do not invest much initially on the infrastructure: build something that just works, and stay away from vendor lock-in (such as AWS): you can use a simple VM and leverage startup offers from all the vendors, one for the others, and spend zero for the first couple of years
2. get a co-founder on board that knows how to do sales: this is really important, in your startup adventure you will definitely develop a newly found respect for salespeople
3. find an accelerator in your specific field and use it to develop contacts: those either your customers or partners or enablers in the years to come, do nurture them
bonus: get a CRM, HubSpot is free and you can track everything there
One thing I tell myself a lot is that leadership is a team sport. I’m not alone. So as a leader I’m always trying to develop and activate other leaders within Hiring Hub. The more leaders you can stimulate, the easier leadership gets; they help drive behaviour and, ultimately, culture. An organisation with many people that feel empowered, that feel like owners and act as leaders, will be successful. As a founder, I see it as my job to foster that environment.
If you’re founding a tech startup, set a clear vision and be 100% conversant with how it will help or solve a problem. Recruit well, when it starts to take off make sure you have the best team to go forward with you. Be organised, and learn to listen as well as present. You get the most from situations by listening rather than talking. What you learn can be turned to your advantage in your product or service. Work hard, but also invest in your health and well being, there’s no prizes for being burnt out.
Visionary – Have a vision that you believe beyond a shadow of a doubt is going to be successful. Doesn’t matter what it is, you need to believe in it 110%. Because if you don’t, why should others? People are going to test you, especially in the early days. They will tell you it won’t work, that it’s a huge risk or it’s already been done (or there is a reason it hasn’t been done). Having a strong vision will be what carries you through the high-highs, but more importantly, the low-lows.
Adaptable – Things are going to go wrong. A lot! You need to stay flexible and be adaptable. In the startup world, they call it “pivoting”. Have a strong vision, but don’t be too laser-focused on it to the detriment of not seeing new opportunities. As you progress you will get more data and insights into what you are doing. Those insights could mean you need to make changes, and that is not a bad thing. Be adaptable and keep moving forward.
Empathetic – This is something that took me a long time to realise was very important. As a Founder a lot of your job is sharing your vision with people. Whether it is to convince them to invest, convince them to work for you or convince them to be your customer, in the early days it will be an uphill battle. But, if you can empathise with your stakeholders and really put yourself in their shoes, to truly understand what motivates them and what problems they want to solve, it will be easier to get to the ultimate goal, which is to bring them (emotionally) on your journey.
As it happens, at Addland we have enshrined these as our core values, along with “empowered”, which is something #TeamAddland lives and breathes.
Speak to potential customers first, then start building the tech and continue to engage and test with potential customers as you build.
If you go early for investment – don’t take the first offer, but take some time to find those who are aligned and can add value (as well as cash).
Move fast when you need to and reflect when you need to. Persevere!
1. Always do the right thing aligned to strong corporate/human values
2. Think long-term and position for that
3. Practice emotional intelligence, be self-aware and reflective at all times.
It’s a cliche, but it’s all about the quality of the people you hire. Get the best people you possible can. Interview lots of people, and don’t settle. If in doubt, don’t hire – endure the short term pain.
Don’t do people’s jobs for them. You want a culture of enablement and speed of thought and action. If you do their work, you kill that. If you *have* to do their work for them, then they’re not the right person for that role.
Look after your health and that of the team around you. That’s more important than anything.
1. Focus time and energy on adding your unique value, at the end of the day have a think about what you did that nobody else could have done.
2. Make the delivery of “value add” core to your business, ask yourself if this is not adding value then why am I doing it.
3. Never stop believing, maintain your passion and actively listen to everyone.
Keep yourself committed to your goals and things you want to achieve. Set targets and work on them on a daily basis. If you have issues with procrastination then my advice would be to find yourself an accountability buddy with whom you will have weekly calls or meetings where you will tell about what you managed to achieve during this week and with what do you struggle. The accountability buddy can be also another founder or friend of yours who also started a company or a person who already achieved what you are going for.
Never underestimate the power of communities, go and meet them, network and show that you can provide value even if this means to give free advice or even do a small piece of job without being paid. This way you will show that you can bring value and people will start approaching to you as a trusted person and ask for your professional advice or recommend people towards you that need help.
Study successful people, habits that they adopt, books they read what skills they have and how did they develop them. How they built their businesses and get along with people around them. Watch videos about them, read books and study their way of thinking, psychology and what made them be top performers.
Tip 1: Growth Trajectory
At the outset, decide on the growth trajectory you wish to take, based on your own capabilities and circumstances.
Two extremes are, ignoring the lifestyle businesses: building a unicorn vs building a company that could become a unicorn.
Building a unicorn requires significant acceleration from day 1, which can easily result in you losing control of the company by the second or third round of investment unless you are a proven tech company CEO, or have the capacity to learn and adjust rapidly.
Building a company that could become a unicorn one day gives you time to learn and grow without significant early founder equity dilution.
Tip 2: Understand the Problem better than your competition
Many founders are quick to find the so-called product/market fit, without first understanding the problem deep enough. The team that understands the problem better than the competition has a higher chance of success than your competition. So don’t give up talking to your customers, and keep asking the fundamental questions.
Tip 3: Don’t delay building your team
If you are an old rounder, it might be hard to let go. You need to find the best people to help you in your journey. If you lack the capital to hire people, do try mixing free talent (volunteers) with paid to build your team.
1. This is not my first rodeo and it won’t be yours – take all your learnings from everything that you have done.
2. Ask questions – evaluate – and then ask more questions. Just when you thought you had all the answers – ask more questions. And be kind, you’ll get the most honest answers. Listen.
3. Never ever ever give up. Pivot yes, change the plan but never give up – the way forward is there is you simply never ever ever give up.
make sure you understand your audience
make sure you have the right partners
make sure you have time to disconnect and for your self
Here are my 3 guiding principles:
1. Have a very well-articulated mission, vision, and business plan
2. Build the best team you can find that buy into the mission and vision
3. Empower them to deliver plan
In between, there is a whole stack of other stuff but if the three pillars above are working … then the right stuff gets done to make the ££££
Partnerships sound good in the beginning when you have a lot of fear. They as often as not kill business later on. 100% of the team should vest. No one including the founders start with all their stock.
Run it as mean and lean as possible for as long as possible. Nothing kills companies like other peoples money. You will end up working for the people who funded you or being forced to make bad decision based on someone else’s agenda.
If you cannot explain how you make money in less than 30 seconds go back to the drawing board until you can.
Be clear. If you can’t be clear, be clear that you are not being clear. Is that clear?
Don’t take yourself too seriously. It feels like the most important thing in the world.. but it isn’t (probably)
Be fair. Treat people fairly, I find it useful to remind myself to not expect people to be as dedicated as I am.
3 top tips for tech founders:
– Talk to your (potential) customers before and while building your product. We’ve made this mistake before, and it cost us 7 months. Don’t assume you know the problem. While speaking to customers, make sure to do it without confirmation bias (read “Mom Test” before you start).
– Have an attitude towards experimentation, be it product, marketing, engineering or sales. Create a hypothesis, run the experiment, measure results, decide if you want to implement or scrap it.
– When building a team, hire a person who is better than the median person in your company. This ensures your team keeps getting better and better (heard this at a talk by Bhavin Turakhia)
Expect to fail 10 times before you succeed. The best plan, therefore, does not focus on fast successes but instead on fast failures. Learn quickly, fail quickly, excel quickly.
If you are not tech-savvy get a CTO early!
Stick to the core business plan and don\’t drift.
Don\’t undervalue the business. If anything overvalue it and sell it on future success.
Try not to get overly excited by the tech. Most problems in the world can be solved by relatively simple solutions that you can scale-up as you build your customer base. Its extremely easy in a start-up to invest a lot of time engineering in features and functionality that your customers may never use – so focus on your MVP and then develop what your customers are willing to pay for!
My top 3 tips for tech founders;
1. Never give up and always try to keep a positive mental attitude
2. You never know it all so let down your protective guard and utilise specialists in their field.
3. Partner with like minded people and organisations to support your growth.
Focus – on a particular market segment or product / service. Understand your offer, the competition and the requirements of your customers. Be sales-led – revenue drives business momentum and can be fed back into R&D for enhancements. Create a virtuous circle of re-investment. For an SME, never try to out-reach your market. Let the big companies be the pioneers – your aim is to catch the wave with better or alternative offerings. Value key staff members but don’t tolerate passengers. Work as one team – shared vision and goals.
Technology can be for everyone – I soon realized this during my time as a student at Waterford IT. There was a stage where people presumed that the only people who had a future in tech were those who were well versed in coding and programming. This is not the case – technology can be for everyone, especially when applied to a problem you feel is worth solving. I had seen the issues in delivery services for retailers, particularly in smaller businesses, and the use of tech was a way in which this could be improved.
As we deal with a smaller scope of clients, another lesson I have learnt is how important relationships are – both with your customers and the team around you. People want to buy from, and work with, those they feel have their best interests at heart. The weight of impressive customer service and relationships cannot be underestimated when starting a new business.
If you have a deam you should follow it with passion and focus. There will be many people telling you why it will fail, people who have never had an orginal throught and have always work for someone else.
What do you need to make it real:
1. Does it meet a need, benifit for the target people, markets?
2. If you belive in it will others as well?
3. There is no reason for it not to work BUT the scale and effort YOU put in will deternin the level of rewards.
A lot of people have dreams, visions but no idea to to take it forward but many reason why it wont work.
1. Create a plan
It is highly recommended to anyone to do your research, you don’t need to go into detail, but write a business plan early on! Its extremely important to put together a presentation including a clearly defining the problem, solution, business model, competitive companies, how you are going to do it, the timescale etc. Its never going to be perfect, and I would say we followed all be 10% of our first business plan, however it gets you thinking differently and makes you ask yourself challenging questions that you may of been overshadowed by your excitement for your venture.
2. Success takes time
Everyone has a dream of overnight success. You may think or hear about entrepreneurs that became successful overnight, bullshit. Remember, it takes time to build something successful and important, you will build it with patience, commitment, love, perseverance, and a fantastic idea. What is your why? What problem are you trying to solve and who for. With Pabau we made a ton of mistakes, some of which genuinely knocked 2 years from our growth. Don’t jump in at the deep end right away as you will drown. We for example made the mistake of trying to make our product international from day 1, 8 years on and we have only just moved from one country to another. Take time, feed on your mistakes.
3. Enjoy yourself
When I was growing up, work was all about finding something that paid the bills. If I could go back I’d tell myself to find something I actually enjoyed doing sooner and was genuinely passionate about. You will never refer to what you do as “work” ever again.
Embrace challenges outside of your comfort zone
Don’t let a lack of knowledge hold you back from saying ‘yes’ to a new challenge. If you’re a fast learner and open to the input of others then you’ll learn, grow, and nail it!
Be humble and ask for help
It’s surprising how many people want to help if you simply ask. People love sharing their wisdom, making connections and feeling like they have made a difference to someone else. So if you’re unsure, just ask. Pay forward too, be generous with your advice and help.
Be your best self
People join you on your journey because they buy into you – your values and your behaviours. Everyone loves a mission, but it’s your passion and energy that attracts the best people to join you.
1. Focus on the customer problem you are solving as your number 1 priority
2. Make sure you have a strong product roadmap for your technology, product or solution and are laser-focused on the build and delivery of your roadmap
3. Make is as easy as possible for your customer to adopt/onboard your technology, product or solution
I don’t consider myself as a typical tech founder as I have worked with customers over many years solving part of their problem without really being able to address the whole problem. Global Expat Pay was founded because I saw a massive opportunity to digitally disrupt a quite analogue sector. We have a clear view of the gap and the outcome we want to deliver, and knew that we needed a strong tech approach to deliver and scale. My tips would be:
1. Ensure that you have the right people on the journey with you. Having a strong CTO and Product owner who can challenge the approach ensures that you are agile in the “what” you develop and how do this at the right pace.
2. Have a clear vision of the outcome you will deliver and the timeframe – this is critical for investors and customers (and of course to inspire your team!). Get experienced people around you who can help you to learn quickly and know when you are heading down the wrong fork in the road.
3. Engage as early as possible with beta customers. Make sure that you are developing something which meets what they and the market needs. Keep testing that you are doing something which the market will value and spend money on.
Developing tech is expensive so learning quickly and constantly challenging the approach and prioritisation is critical.
One of the major reasons why tech start-ups fail is that they burn through their cash fairly quickly. You need to put strict austerity measures in place from day one and need to spend each dollar efficiently. You don’t necessarily need to burn all your cash for perfecting the product. You can hit the market with a minimum viable product, validate your idea and start evolving the product based on the market feedback.
Building the right team around you is another key factor in the success of your start-up. It is unlikely that an entrepreneur might master technical, project management, marketing and finance skills at same time. Building the right team around you with supplementary skills along with proper delegation is very crucial for your success.
Protecting your IP is a key factor in your success. In a world where information is easily accessible, it is imperative that you need to identify the unique differentiators of the product you’re building and make sure you’re protecting them. In addition to this IP is crucial for building your company valuation.
Junaise S Kodiyalathu
Co Founder & COO
I recently shared this on Linked In; Pressure is a privilege.
Pressure shouldn’t be seen as a negative; it takes 9 bars of pressure to produce the espresso that makes up my precious morning coffee. Without that pressure, the end result would be terrible. The coffee would be weak and lack any quality.
Whenever I am under pressure, I always remind myself that pressure is a privilege. Somewhere out in the world, there is a CEO that didn’t get funding that would love to have the pressure from investors to deliver, or a salesperson that’s out of work right now who’d love to be under the pressure of hitting a sales number.
Embrace any pressure to perform that you’re feeling today, and let it extract the very best from you! Let it produce quality and strength in your character.
1. Prioritise your physical and mental health, startup life is a marathon not a sprint and you need to be in the best condition you can be to take the peaks and the troughs.
2. It’s easy to focus too much on product, focus on customers instead and the product will follow.
3. You are nothing without your team. Hire people that are way smarter than you are and facilitate them to succeed; micromanagement is anathema to creative, driven people.
From Anthony Phillips WellKom International
1) Think like a retailer / hotelier
Put yourself in the customer shoes and what you what to them to experience / achieve – so customer not tech driven!
2) How to scale?
Can you do it by yourself or do you need a partner. If a partner then select based on agreed criteria as it will be one of the biggest decisions will make.
3) One language / culture or international?
So team and tech are aligned from the beginning as hard to jump to international mindset / capabilities if not pre-planned.
1. Dream big, start small.
2. Surround yourself with people way smarter than you, and with tons more experience than you…the type of people who are humble enough to share their learnings and failures openly with you, are the ones you’ll learn the most from.
3. Don’t take advice from people like me…! Trust yourself.
Understand your ecosystem. Many technology solutions feed into and off others. Within that ecosystem there may exist partnership or investment opportunities that enable you to scale quicker than you could alone.
Determine what role plays best to your personal strengths and build the team around this. The founder doesn’t have to And some tech specialists to turn out to be great leaders and entrepreneurs.
When we were setting up our first business in 1994, a wise mentor asked us: “are you setting up this business to run or to sell?” The answer impacts so many of the decisions you take, right from the start.
If you’re not being challenged your decisions are likely floored. Make sure you have a team and people around you who can question and challenge you, even if it feels uncomfortable treat it as a gift. It’s where potential problems are avoided and creative ideas formed.
Remember it is not all about the tech, do not loose sight of business fundamentals keep a constant eye on the numbers.
Execution, maintain clarity of vision and continuously communicate it. If you, your team and the market is clear of where you are going and why you will build trust, they will standby you and help you navigate the inevitable challenges rather than turning them into a dramas.
When communicating with customers, use clear and simple language. Don’t overload them with technical jargon right off the bat. This will most likely confuse them, and put them off working with you.
Don’t try to sell products and services to customers if they don’t need it, especially if they’re starting out. You want them to become successful so they stay a loyal paying customer for many years to come.
Regular feedback from your customers is important as it gives you a good insight into how your customers see your business. Your customers are your quality assurance department. Use them to help your business grow and improve, especially during the early stages.
Are you working hard enough? Put in the hours and keep re-assessing where you are and where you need to be, relentlessly.
There are people and companies out there wanting their pound of flesh in the form of you time and money – both of which are vital to your success. Work through the noise, read good start-up books, research the “real” successful start-ups and study your competitors every step of the way.
To build a successful tech start-up, it takes more effort and focus than you can imagine, so bring your A+ game and total dedication. Go all in!
Understand your customer journey, where you fit in and how to maximise revenue
Understand your sales journey and match it to your customer journey
Technology has to be at the core of your business and your solutions
Most tech founders have a background in technology and often struggle to grasp the nuances of the business world. Starting as a tech venture from scratch takes a lot of courage and belief on oneself. My top tip is to have self belief on your capability to be successful as a tech founder (and that is easier said than done).
The next most important thing is to find a mentor or a few of them. Not necessarily that mentor should be from the tech fraternity, rather an experienced non-tech leader is far more effective as a mentor.
My last tip is to learn to manage time. Your most valuable and limited asset is \”your time\”. Choosing the right activities that needs your attention and for what duration is possibly the hardest challenge for a founder!
Happy Founding !
People ask what the best piece of advice I was given when I started out – quite simple really, “Don’t be afraid to pivot the business”. This sounds curious yet if the recent pandemic has shown us anything it’s that adaptability, innovation and resourcefulness are winning combinations. We didn’t drop what we did, or try to change our persona, yet we did successful pivot to focus on areas we had considered “fringe”.
Time is a scarce commodity, treat it like cash and invest it wisely – don’t waste time trying to analyse all the options – work out the one you feel is the best and try it, succeed or fail quickly, learn the lessons and move forwards.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that the solutions you conceive of today will be improved upon tomorrow so trying to achieve perfection is a fools errand. “Remember the past. Create the present. Inspire the future.”
Set out early on exactly what your values are, then live them
There are no mistakes, only lessons
Fail fast, learn quickly
It’s very easy when launching and scaling a business to solely focus on new sales to generate revenue, but once you start selling your product/service looking after your existing customer base is just as important – the founding customers of your business are your soundboard for feedback, engage with them and learn from them. By looking after your customers once they purchase, you will build a loyal and advocative customer base that will not only generate feedback as you grow but also provide a free marketing channel!
Customer service is quickly becoming a differentiator in business, you may be launching a similar product/service to that of an existing business but if you can provide an exceptional customer support experience it will almost certainly encourage customers to try your offering. Customers love to see testimonials from others (social proof), delighting your existing customers will ensure you can gather some glowing reviews to post all over your social channels!
In summary, the customer is king – you can have the best product or service out there, but if customers can’t contact you when they have a query or issue you will loose revenue as quickly as you secure it, leading to an unsustainable bottom line – be easily contactable however and treat your customers the way you’d like to be treated and you’ll build a business that will scale for years to come!
I took the entrepreneurship a few years ago. Over the years I have learnt lots of lessons. Some from others and some hard way. Here are my top 3 lessons for any tech founder.
1. Make sure your idea/solution/product solves a problem that customers will pay for. It’s easy to fall in love with your idea but it’s very important to make sure it is commercially viable to build a business.
2. Hire the best talent. Don’t skimp on hiring. Best talent costs (not always money) but it costs much less than hiring amateur talent.
3. Believe in yourself. The journey is going to be hard, really hard. If you ever feel giving up just think why you started in the first place. Bite your ego and ask for help.
Hope that helps. They are top of mind just now.
1.Focus on the 0 to 6 months journey. Define the roadmap on how to get users in this 9 months journey.
2.Launch early, even-half baked product. Don’t wait for the perfect product.
3.Build a hiring pipeline aligned with your growth plan.
Running a tech start-up? Here are 3 tips for success:
1. Always start with the user – what problem are you solving? for who? what do they use now? why will your solution be 10x better?
2. Forget MVP, invest in building an MLP (Minimum Loveable Product) with the killer feature that will entice your users to change their behaviour. If your solution is not 10x better – people won’t switch. Habits die hard!
3. Get support – building a startup is extremely hard, ask for help from everyone – investors, advisors, potential customers, friends, coaches, … BUT, make sure to choose whose advice to follow – you are likely to get a lot of contradictory suggestions. Read Ray Dalio’s “Principles” for more details.
To be a good founder or co-founder, to make a success of this you must be
1 In it for the long-term and know the problem you are solving is a life-long passion
2 You must love tech and recognise that this is the best way to solve the problem you are addressing
3 You must know your domain inside out
Stay focussed on the customer. A huge amount of business dysfunction today is just a lack of customer focus. There is endless opportunity in a combination of “customer focus” and “customer service”. Not customer service in terms of your core service delivery, but the little items on top you don’t HAVE to do. That’s a differentiator.
1. Create a plan
It is highly recommended to anyone to do your research. You don’t need to go into detail, but write a business plan early on! Its extremely important to put together a presentation including clearly defining the problem, solution, business model, competitive companies, how you are going to do it, the timescale etc. Its never going to be perfect, and I would say we followed all of 10% of our first business plan, however it gets you thinking differently and makes you ask yourself challenging questions that may have been overshadowed by your excitement for your venture.
2. Success takes time
Everyone has a dream of overnight success. You may think or hear about entrepreneurs that became successful overnight. Bullsh*t. Remember, it takes time to build something successful and important. You will build it with patience, commitment, love, perseverance, and a fantastic idea. What is your why? What problem are you trying to solve and who for. With Pabau we made a ton of mistakes, some of which genuinely knocked 2 years from our growth. Don’t jump in at the deep end right away as you will drown. We for example made the mistake of trying to make our product international from day 1, 8 years on and we have only just moved from one country to another. Take time, feed on your mistakes.
3. Enjoy yourself
When I was growing up, work was all about finding something that paid the bills. If I could go back I’d tell myself to find something I actually enjoyed doing sooner and was genuinely passionate about. You will never refer to what you do as “work” ever again.
My top three tips for Tech Founders?
1. Don’t wait for perfection. Launch a basic product and then assess market feedback to establish your development priorities.
2. Recruit subject experts from your client community. They will know exactly how to provide invaluable insight into your pre-sales, implementation, support and development roadmap.
3. Keep asking “why”. Everyone will offer you solutions, not problems. Don’t be afraid to look stupid and don’t let go until you understand the underlying problem you are asked to solve.
Make sure your product fills a gap in the market or solves one or more problems. If there is limited demand or interest – you fail before you start. Talk to your target market, research their problems and perform competitor analysis. Is the market saturated? How can you fit in? If your product is identical you only compete on price, which should be enough for a rethink.
Careful planning of the foundations, whether security, frameworks, CI/CD, business processes, controls, databases and core modules, is essential to building a solid product.
Actively manage and mitigate risks including: systems, code, staff, business processes, the marketplace, third-party risks as well as general BCP.
1. Validate your idea prior to building your product
Speak to potential customers and ensure you understand their needs and problems intrinsically. If and when you find a gap and problem to solve, you can build a landing page and try and get pre product signups to validate your idea. Theres nothing worse then spending long periods of time building a product that nobody wants or needs.
2. Building your product
If you have a technical background and plan on building your MVP yourself then great, if you plan on hiring a team or freelancing the project out, make sure you hire a super qualified technical team. Using the wrong devs will cost you endless amounts of time and money that you dont have and could potentially kill your idea and business before it starts.
3. Test, evolve, repeat
Great product teams who go on to build great companies hypothesise, test and evolve constantly. SaaS is never “Finished” you can always improve every area of the business which is what I love the most about being a founder. You can optimise your product, customer service, marketing, website and everything in between.
(bonus) 4. Be wiling listen to people around you
As a general rule, try and hire people smarter than you!. Always be willing to listen and take others feedback. Its a collaborative effort that requires the skills of many great people to create a successful startup
I would summarize starting a tech start up as follows:-
Building a SaaS start up..
1, Talk to customers. Work out the TAM.
2, listen to customer problems, not solutions
3, Beta/prototype user testing
4, build the solution to their problems
5, test the solution with them
6, Does it work? If not go back to 1
7, by the time you are here you will have tried at least 25 times!
Dont ask for harsh feedback, demand it! You need to listen very carefully to exaclty what your customers are saying and test the vaildity of what they say too, with questions like ‘If we build that feature request, exactly how does that solve your problem and can you quantify how much time or money that would save you?’ If you can put a value on something it will also help prioritise your roadmap and rapidly add value to your product. Dont be the vitamin (nice to have), be the aspirin (cure the headache).
All the above is easy to say, but is very hard to do. Once you start solving problems you will get much better feedback and interest in what you are doing. If no one is calling you back or responding, you havent found market fit yet and are not solving problems.
Try not to pitch your product at the beginning, just ask very open questions like ‘tell me about a recent problem you had and how you solved it’.
From day one get access to external help and advice through business mentors, peers, or friends that have run their own start-up. Working in the business every day makes seeing through the trees hard and having that outside person looking in can provide simple insights that you may have missed.
Always ask you customers what they are trying to achieve, not what they want, there is nearly always a better way to solve problems that your customers have and doing this one thing will help solve similar problems for the many
Great performance really does matter, its a sales tool not a technical desire to add later on, you can’t add a first impression later
Stay focussed on your direction and vision, less is more in many cases, you can ship earlier than you think, the feedback will tell you what is important and what will bring value.
Think before you code (and get your team to do the same). Time spent on the design phase of a problem is worth far more than time spent coding it.
Spend time on your tooling. A well designed CI/CD system will save a massive amount of lost dev time, so you should build this first.
Have a roadmap: know where you want to go (but be prepared to change it!).
Be patient in your development cycle, don’t over promise on delivery dates even though you think you are near the end.
Test, test, test, test – leave no stone unturned.
Release to a small section of willing “beta” customers who will give constructive feedback before mass deployment.
Negotiate hard, don’t be generous, be selfish, after you have what you want then you can then choose to be more generous.
Always do your very best to keep your promises.
Your trust is a precious gift, keep it that way.
Be clear with these questions and you can achieve what you need –
1. What will be my role in the new company : full–time employee, advisory board member, executive, or consultant?
2. What are the goals for the company? Is it to grow the company and position it for an acquisition or a possible initial public offering (IPO)? Or, is it to build a small, yet sustainable business?
3. Will capital from private investment companies be needed? If so, will the company eventually be sold or go public? Private investors rely on these exit strategies to get a return on their investments.
1. Start your business with the purpose. Then you will be able to easily attract the right People (team, partners, clients and investors) who will be able to help you succeed.
2. Think like a big business from the very beginning. Pay attention and invest time in building processes because that’s the only way to scale your business in the future.
3. Your idea is important but not as important as its’ execution. You may be able to come up with hundreds of ideas every day but can you turn at least one of them into a reality? Do you have the patience, discipline and persistence to make it happen?
My 1st tip to any tech-founder would be; love your technology, however, never lose sight of your customers’ ground realities – remain relevant at all times. 2nd, every word is your promise, and your brand is the promises you make and promises you keep; any variance between the two will erode your brand value. 3rd, feel everything around you. Giants I know, know exactly how I feel – not what I know.
All the best!
Your investors want you to “go big or go home.” But 95 percent of all funded ventures go under within three years. While it’s your job to listen to customers, stay engaged with the market, don’t make all the usual mistakes, etc., you are still very likely to be out of work in just a year or two. Don’t be surprised when it happens.
The number one cause of new-business failure is failure to make the sale. Teams spend too much time on engineering and product. Make the sale first. All successful companies’ first products suck! But they made the sale. Sell first. Improve second.