My journey as a #startup #founder – step 5 – @founding

Step 5 – Preparing for Hot Seat and programme drop-out

Our next session is coming fast and i decided to adopt a different strategy this time. As said during the class, the programme is hard and testing because entrepreneurs have to learn fast for previous mistakes and avoid making new ones.. so this week, in order to avoid the rush of stress of last week, I carved out some time ahead of the session to prepare the topic of the next Hot Seat pitch! Given all the modern tools at our disposal, I also practiced in front on my iPhone so i could get a sense of the lenght of my pitch, the rythm and where to make pauses. That last one was easy, because in 60 sec, there is virtual no time to make pauses…


So after four different tries, and cross-checks on the video, I had the time to perfect my pitch and I would say that this time I am prepared. I don’t want to over-do it as I believe there must still be an element of improvision on the day, otherwise it looses its authenticity, and the feed-back from last pitch was to try to include more passion!! The advice is the start strong with a well-rehearsed intro and then to gently go with the flow, which is what I have done, so lets rock & roll! Feed-back in the next post.

Customer interviews are going well – obviously it was much less intense than during the week-end, and due to time constraints, I am also planning to do interviews via questionnaires, and I will follow up upon with shorter phone calls to explore the most interesting elements.

I am starting to see a pattern emerging, with strong validation of the problem and real enthusiasm from certain categories of possible clients, which is encouraging! Obviously the devil is in the detail and the implementation will be key. I can’t wait to have sketches of the prototype to show around!! The business model is a bit more complicated to validate. It is funny how people loose touch and are unable to tell you how much they would be willing to pay for something new. I never realised that… I need to think a bit more about it and how I can crack that nut and get reliable feed-back on the pricing models… time to do more customer interviews… 

Meanwhile I have taken my marks with the various tools that we are using both as a Founder Institute team, but also as a startup team. Slack and Bitrix24 are fabulous tools. I just wonder why those tools have not made it yet to the big corporates… Yesterday evening for the first time, I logged into MailChimp… and I am now working on the first newsletter (drop me a line if you want to be added to the list – I will also give you your number on the list, so in a couple of years you will be able to say: I was there!). 

The deadline to drop-out and get a refund of the course fee has passed. It had quite an impact as we have lost quite a few fellow candidates. But I believe the most difficult is behind us now in terms of defections. At least I hope… We now stand at 13 and we will see tonight who turns up for the session… Although it was only for a short while, I think the candidates who have dropped out will have taken something valuable from the programme and for those who remain it was the opportunity to extend their networks and connect with like minded people. We always cross twice, so let’s keep in touch!

2017.03.13 Leaderboard masked

Today’s session is digging more deeply on customer demand and validation of needs. I am looking forward to the presentations of the mentors. I still have a few small tasks pending on my assignment for this week, in particular when it comes to setting up business intelligence processes, but that should not take too long to do (in fact I should be doing it right now, instead of writing this blog post!). OK, got the message!

Stay tuned!

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