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Frameworks for Launching a Startup

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Frameworks for Launching a Startup

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Want to start a company? Have a product idea? Want to be a Founder or Entrepreneur? Here are the 3 things you need to do to launch a startup. I also provide tips, trick and thoughts on startup pitfalls and ways to succeed.

Want to start a company? Have a product idea? Want to be a Founder or Entrepreneur? Here are the 3 things you need to do to launch a startup. I also provide tips, trick and thoughts on startup pitfalls and ways to succeed.


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Frameworks for Launching a Startup

  1. 1. Marianna Zaslavsky Brown University | Women’s Incubator Frameworks for Launching a Startup
  2. 2. 2 Hi. Marianna Zaslavsky Entrepreneur, Operator, Advisor Currently: VP Business Development @Unacast
  3. 3. 3 A quick thanks for some contributions & words of wisdom borrowed for this presentation. Ben Zhuk Raphael Antsy Zach Coelius
  4. 4. 4 Agenda Three 1. Tattoos 2. Tips, Tricks, Thoughts 3. Resources 4. Q&A
  5. 5. 5 Tattoos.Three
  6. 6. 6 As an entrepreneur, you should get (3) tattoos.
  7. 7. 7 Each tattoo corresponds to each of the (3) phases of the early-stage startup cycle.
  8. 8. 8 Phase 1: You have an idea.
  9. 9. 9 Talk to your customers.Three Tattoo for when you have an idea:
  10. 10. 10 • Step one: forget your idea. Fall in love with your CUSTOMER PROBLEM first. Not your product idea. • Startups fail from not having PAYING CUSTOMERS, not product features. By the way, a customer is someone who pays you money  Its crazy how easy this is to forget when, as a Founder, you are in love with your product too soon. • How many of you have heard “get out of the building” (Steve Blank)? Go out and talk to at least 10, 20, 100 people (as appropriate to your market); people that would potentially be PAYING CUSTOMERS. Your mom or your best friend don’t count (unless they are a potential paying customers). • At this stage, DO NOT TRY TO SELL YOUR PRODUCT. You are not pitching anything yet. You are solidifying your understanding of the CUSTOMER NEED. • Pretend to be a fly on the wall: Ask your potential customers questions about their behaviors, preferences and needs. Observe them in their natural environment where your product / service would be used. • What is the result you are aiming for at this stage? You want to see a real, burning need. You want to see that their hair is on fire in some way – and that they cant solve it on their own. • You also want to see that there is a pattern among your potential paying customers. All of their hair is on fire! And none of them can put it out!
  11. 11. 11 Phase 2: Build an MVP.
  12. 12. 12 Talk to your customers.One Tattoo for building your MVP
  13. 13. 13 • So now you have some understanding of the need i.e. “the market.” You are done talking to customers right? No! • Once you have honed in on a customer problem you want to solve, only then take a stab at a potential solution. Know that it very likely wont be your final solution! Don’t fall in love with your product /service yet. At this stage, think of your product as a hypothesis that you will prove or disprove in the next stage. • Your MVP (“MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT”) is the simplest attempt at solving your customer problem. Your MVP could just be a mock-up of a solution that you draw on a paper napkin. Maybe it’s a service you start to provide entirely manually or maybe its a service you do yourself. If you code something at this stage, it could be completely shitty tech. Think about how you can create a solution in the quickest and cheapest way. Your goal is not to build a beautiful product yet. Your goal is to get something “good enough” in front of your customers. • Remember, at the outset, the feedback you will get will likely be positive. People want to be nice and tell you that they think your solution is great. Ignore that Feedback! Your goal isn’t to get positive feedback. You goal is to SELL YOUR PRODUCT! Sell your customers the shittiest brick that will put out the fire on their head. Your customer problem has to be big enough for them to want your shitty brick. • Get some agreement on exchange of money or its not real. Get your potential paying customer to actually become a transacting customer. Agree to a pilot. Connect one party to another (in a broker model for example). Get someone to give you a deposit on your future product. Make a real transaction happen.
  14. 14. 14 Phase 3: Product Iteration
  15. 15. 15 Talk to your customers.Two Tattoo for product iteration
  16. 16. 16 • You somehow got someone to exchange money with you (or made some other kind of transaction happen). Score! • Now what you are going to do is create a fancy product roadmap. You are going to need some money. You are going to build based on requirements of your initial pilot and… you will fall into a product development black hole. Don’t do this! • Once, again, spend most time talking to customers in this ITERATION STAGE. Iterate your napkin drawing into a live demo, take your shitty tech from super shitty to slightly less shitty. Yes, you might need a little bit of money at this stage, but at least now you know your customers are willing to pay you for the product. • Ask yourself what is the SMALLEST AND EASIEST ITERATION that I can make and take back to my potential customers to learn if they might pay more, pay on subscription or perhaps more customers will transact. Get concrete feedback. Better yet, if you previously only received a pilot or a promise to pay, level up. Get them to sign a year-long contract. Get them to actually pay. • The requirements you build will be 100% wrong if you arent iterating and going back to your customers. • Don’t go into a product development black hole and come out a year later. You will be a year behind. The place your product has in the lives of your customers will change. Don’t blow money on fancy features and things no one uses (and that didn’t generate revenue). This is how startups die.
  17. 17. 17 By the way, Phase 3 never ends.
  18. 18. 18 1 hour a day.
  19. 19. 19 • Everyone hears about talking to their customers…. but no one actually does it. • Are you doing it right now? • Will you do it later? • Especially when you grow, internal things take precedent and you lose sight of your customers. • Spend ONE HOUR a day. • Can you make it happen? • What percentage of your time is this one hour vs. what impact on your business will your customer conversations make….?
  20. 20. 20 A quick word on B2C vs B2B Three
  21. 21. 21 • There are major differences between customer development in B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2B (Business to Business). Example of B2C: Facebook. Example of B2B: most Microsoft products. • It’s a lot harder to get feedback in B2C businesses, but it can done. • B2B businesses tend to have fewer, larger customers where the customer is very invested in your product and where your relationships are with senior executives, so it is generally easier to get feedback. • In B2C, you don’t necessarily have relationships with your customers 1:1, so you use statistics. For example, you might look at how many users share photos on your app as a statistic and take that data as feedback. However, stats are an aggregate. You still need to find a way to talk to customers 1:1. Photo shares may be up, but perhaps its because your content is inappropriate and people are enraged by it…upward trajectories in data aren’t always what they seem. • In B2C, do a focus group, survey people. Get more than statistics.
  22. 22. 22 Tips, tricks and thoughts.Three
  23. 23. 23 Three Fall in love with your problem – not your solution. Remember, your customer’s hair needs to be on fire.
  24. 24. 24 Three Lower the bar of success. How can this be easier? Always remember the shitty brick.
  25. 25. 25 Three What is your success metric? Figure out your KPI - and change it as you learn more. Metrics are not goals. Don’t set goals too early. Especially when you have no clue what your success metric is.
  26. 26. 26 Three Don’t give up. Because its going to be hard. Give yourself (2) years. If you cant commit to that, perhaps don’t start a business right now. But….know when to give up. If you keep doing the same thing, and its not working, pivot or perhaps stop. Its ok to stop.
  27. 27. 27 ThreeDon’t burn your cash. Don’t buy fancy snacks. Don’t hire anyone until you can no longer do the job yourself (AND that job is CRITICAL….not a nice to have). Blowing money on marketing is not a solution if you don’t have product market fit.
  28. 28. 28 Three Don’t believe the hype. Most startups pay for the press they get! Overnight successes aren’t real. Don’t be a startup that is only good at raising money. An actual product that generates revenue > VC money.
  29. 29. 29 Three Get ready to wear lots of hats. You are going to have to hustle and multi-task.
  30. 30. 30 Three Female entrepreneurs rock right now. There is no better time to be a female entrepreneur!
  31. 31. 31 Resources. (Google this stuff…) Three
  32. 32. 32 Business Model Canvas 32
  33. 33. 33 33
  34. 34. 34 Lean Startup Methodology 34
  35. 35. 35 35 Iteration
  36. 36. 36 Newsletters like Y-Combinator & CB Insights 36
  37. 37. Marianna Zaslavsky THANK YOU! @marizazzer

Hinweis der Redaktion

  • Audience Quiz:
    Where are you guys at with your companies?
    How many of you have paying customers?
    How many of you have raised some money?
    What are you working on? What are your biggest problems?
  • Seth Goden first ten podcast