Sunday, 6 July 2014

Startup Lessons from a Spark Talk

Few days back, I attended a Spark event where there was a session on technology and there was a presenter who had experience of starting a project from a start to success. Here are some important points from the talk.

  • Don't work in the dark. If you have an idea go and talk to people what they think about it rather than making assumptions and finding out at a very later stage that you have developed something that nobody wants to use.
  • Do not build unless talking to people. You can get a quick feedback without starting to develop the product by talking to people.
  • You have to have a market for your product. Do not target everybody ( at least when you start ). The reasons why you need to to have a well defined market is that it will help you with your marketing campaigns and usability decisions.
  • Instead of coming up with an idea, choose a market. Try to pick a big market with bigger players ( business making more than 1 million dollar a year ). Smaller players are struggling to make money and fighting for their survival so chances are they will be very cautious to buy something unless it is something they really need and relying solely on these players adds lot of risk for the viability of your business.
  • Pick a market that is going up and is likely to be that way in future ( e.g Property ). One way to find which industry is hot is by looking at job boards website and filtering jobs by industry type. The more the number of open jobs in an industry, the hotter it is likely to be.
  • Talk to your the market about their pain points. You want to focus on the most painful points. You don't want to sell proteins or vitamins, but rather pain killers. Focus on the problems because of which people in your market hate their jobs. ( Example : People in property management hate property inspections )
  • Focus on a problem that would stay. ( continue to exist e.g People trying to get rich quickly )
  • Talk to people in the market about their problems but not what to they think can solve it. People will give you weird answers when asked about what can be a solution to their problem.
  • The presenter did not have money and technical knowledge to build the product but knew the pain point and had a solution in the mind. He outsourced the product development for version 1.0 and then later was able to hire people locally
  • Subscription based model works. Do not target consumers as odds of getting successful in a consumer market are fairly low compared to B2B solutions.
  • Once successful and growing, you need local development team.
  • If there is a solution and people do not use it, it does not count.
  • Talk to people more and more.
  • Sales is the best skill to learn. Fear of rejection or fear of hearing NO can demotivate you from selling. Overcome it.

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