My journey as a #startup #founder – step 7 – @founding

Step 7 – customer first…

It’s difficult to do everything and I had to leave this chronicle aside for a few days as i was engaged in as many customer interviews as possible (had to complete minimum 9 before this past Tuesday which was quite challenging!). This is so far the best part of this new project, as i love talking to people and ask them about their problems with the view to help to find a solution (yes, you know I was a consultant before). In this case, the sitution is slightly different as I have a hypothesis to confirm, but I am glad that we have changed the approach from last week’s interviews (which were about validating the idea) and I am now asking about “what is your biggest problem when…?”

So, big thanks to all my friends and acquaintances who have spent a few minutes to answer my questions. And big thanks for those who have passed my details to their friends as it helps to have “fresh” people in the loop. These interviews started with a few questions, but migrated relatively fast into a open and free form discussion around the topic. In fact, I noticed that people are giving me far better insights into the problem when they discuss freely rather than feel constrained by a specific set of questions, obviously I still guiding the discussion (always as 5 times why!). My plan is to continue having those discussions on a continuous basis as it’s very helpful for our product development process. So please, feel free to put your friends in touch with me. The more, the better!

The big piece of last week’s assignment was the market research. It was quite time consuming and both exciting and stressing at the same time. The good news is that we are working in a USD 5 trillion market, of which only 1% is digitised… so as one interview I read pointed out “with about 1’000 startups in that field, that still makes USD 50m revenue each… where is the competition?”

The competition is there, and that the stressing part, which I think perhaps leads many people with good ideas to stop their effort once they see someone is already there with an idea similar to their’s. So yes, i do stress each time I look for competitors on Google or other search engine, or follow links from articles and blogs. But fundamentally its a good thing if there is competition, because it means there is a market and as a bonus, we wont be the only one educating the clients. I have not decided yet whether I want to approach those competitors to have a chat…  need to ponder over that one.


The fun part of the week’s activities was to create and send the first newsletter. I had a crash-course on how to use Mailchimp. Nice tool by the way, very intuitive and relatively flexible. I could do everything I wanted to do, even include a video, which is a great testimony to the user-friendliness of the tool. I struggled a bit with the importing of the data, but I think I should have chosen the csv import function. Will do it this way next time. This is really what I like about this programme: learning new practical skills! The newsletter is relatively confidential at this stage, only sent to those I have spoken to in the past month, but as I am talking to many more every day, the list is growing fast… Drop me a line if you want to jump the queue and join the list!

This week’s theme for the Hot Seat Presentation was a repeat of last week, so it gave me the opportunity to include the comments received last time from the coaches. I had a slightly revised text and I practiced the delivery within 60 seconds. So it was all going to be perfect… BUT I think I was too confident this time, and I was too loud at the end – I finished my pitch almost shouting “i want to make it big” – it did not go down well with the coaches, and I got my first 2 as a “reward” – yeaaaaah! Won’t do it again I promise. Lesson learned.

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Revenue Models was the topic of the session this past Tuesday. Things are starting to get really interesting as we are now working on how we are going to get paid for all the good things we deliver to our clients. This promises to be a week of interesting discussions and disccoveries… The objective is to have our first budget by the end of the week. Time to see if this idea can fly… on paper at least!

Stay tuned!

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