Last week I shared how Founder Institute can impact your family and work balance when you are committed to your start-up as well as a very hectic 9-5 job. Tonight in the 11.30 pm train home after another great session with my Founder Institute peers there is a father sitting with his hockey bag next to me so whatever passion you got going now is the best time to continue working hard on it.
I didn’t feel like this last Sunday because my main idea was lacking a Pocket Troop to conquer the first customer with a half ass prototype. Instead it felt like my investment in time and money left me with no more than pocket change that almost got me started to look for another idea to burn through the incubator process. I decided to sleep on it.
Until early morning when I looked at some feedback from potential target customers. First of all make sure to call back people who actually want to give you more feedback than you asked for. I got a long list of those to get done over the weekend. Because when people care you listen harder. Just like when the second job interview goes cold with your potential new boss. Tune in and listen to their concerns because they are sitting on the fence and want to make sure that the person showing up on Monday is the right one. Don’t pivot too fast and certainly not too often. The show must go on unless you really are on the scene pitching in front of a ghost audience. I stuck to my idea and didn’t pivot yet after looking at the other options that weren’t concluding enough or promising at best.
In week one everybody told me you have to own your technology. Mentors, founders, developers, my kids Japanese hamster and even the little devil on my shoulder. In the B2B segment this can takes years and a huge budget. Instead I signed up with all my competitors to really see the technology behind their service platform only to find out that one of them actually offered a perfect “fit for demo” solution for $103 CAD per year.
Hence I now will build the service offering online, calculate the revenue model and test with a real customer. You can spend a fortune of frustration by trying to tweak a MVP (Most Viable Product) to one day reach the status of a KAP (Kick Ass Product). Or show something similar to your target customer faster and then make it exactly as you had envisioned the secret sauce without spending the winter in the basement with developers who hijack my sons Mindcraft Lego collection because it’s more fun. It’s like planning for a baby to come into your life. Some buy everything one year ahead. Get the wrong presents during the baby shower. Curse when the doctor made a mistake on the “It’s a boy!”. To then find out that the 4 kg baby girl won’t fit in the tiny blue pajama and nobody kept the receipts. Worse, your mother in law still thinks it’s a boy and won’t listen to you wanting to add earrings so this nightmare is finally over once and for all. Until you try for a second child. Hopefully a boy of 2.4 kg so that you can recycle the stuff and smile.
We also had some housekeeping rules that needed validation in the working group and cohort overall. Not everyone uses technology the same way and for some it’s overwhelming to find the core information in all the noise. No hard feelings – just a great way to clear the air about what collaboration can do and what it will never do. I learned a lot from this because working with 200 different people all week long on a bunch of digital marketing projects makes me use half a dozen collaboration tools for everything. Now you pick up the phone when it’s urgent or confidential. You send direct message when you ask a personal question or help someone on something the others will never benefit from. Sounds like a Moment Of Truth, but honestly if you are not on Instagram you won’t know that one picture says more than thousand words thousand times over. I get a buzz from collaboration and guess moving 19 times does that to you. You just like to share the fun!
Last, but not least I am looking for serious beta users willing to pay $50 USD per months for something that will pay itself in one day. Please shoot me an email if you know a company with 20-50 employees, no marketing employee and at least $1,000 USD in monthly marketing spending. All I need is their name, number and your relationship to them. I will treat them as Royalty and you will get the royalties from these customers once they sign a Letter of Intent for the real thing.
Come back next week to learn more about what’s new and exciting in the Founder Institute 2016 Montreal Academy.
Wishing you nothing but success with your Start Up in the meanwhile.