4 Simple Secrets to Launch a Product Yourself (while reducing costs)
It’s common knowledge that the majority of new businesses and start-ups will fail.
While I can’t address every business issue that exists, I can talk about 4 simple secrets to consider that can reduce costs while simultaneously growing your customer base and building rapport with your employees.
As I mentioned before, you can’t mitigate every risk that will exist in your business. However, one thing you can take ownership of is the capital your business is burning through. After all, capital is the one lifeline of your company, and one of the biggest indicators of your future. You have two options, look at ways to make more or reduce expenses. Below are 4 ways you can reduce costs while increasing other areas of your business.
1. Oppose pay, promote option
So how are you supposed to bring on employees if you have (little to) no cash? The best option is to start giving your early hires equity to replace the salaries that they could find elsewhere. You should focus on getting your initial team on complete equity contracts, completely cutting initial costs to bring on help. Many entrepreneurs are so protective over their equity they refuse to use their option pool in their early stages. This option also makes sure that you team is a) committed and b) believes in your product.
2. Look at Marketing with a new Mindset
This last weekend I connected with owner of a start-up that has consistently thrown money at his “problems”. Not only has he not yet validated his market with a single, full fledged paying customer, but also the marketing has only served as a cost withzero benefit. In the early stages of your company, you want to spend the least amount of money possible to confirm your hypothesis. Lucky for you, customer interviews and feedback groups are cheap to carry out. Don’t start putting money into marketing until you’ve gotten some validation for your product. Remember: a good idea does not translate into a viable product until someone is cutting you a check.
3. Don’t waste money on your initial product
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman is famous for saying, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Knowing this, the last product I launched started without a website, product or team. I simply ran a Facebook ad that, when clicked on, redirected to a MailChimp form and a simple yet vague description of what the product could be. I ended up with a pool of 65 prospects along with their email and phone number. After someone signed up I made a call to 1. Describe the Product, 2. Ask for Feedback, 3. Confirm Price Point. I spent $50 on Facebook which resulted in market validation and a prospect list to keep me busy, plus I had a better idea of what my prospects wanted. within 30 days I had a product launched and offers for investment.
4. Early on, make sure you’re in 100%
If you have an idea that is validated, then you’ve come farther than most other “wantrepreneurs” who have ideas but never share them with the public, let alone taken the first few steps.
It can be daunting. You’re putting yourself out there. You could fail, or your could quit.
Remember that product that I mentioned in #3? It was validated, had customers, community support, investment opportunities… It was all there. But I also gained something else, much more valuable than any of that. It was the knowledge that what I had anticipated to be one market space (subscription commerce) ended up to be married to another industry (on the ground B2B sales staff). If you think Groupon is an e-commerce company, you’re all wrong. In order to scale they put boots on the ground in every major city that they wanted to capture. I had every reason to continue the business given the knowledge that I had when I first bought those $50 of Facebook ads, but when eventually saved me the time and trial of what could have been years of frustration wasn’t market opportunity or product validation, it was the industry learning.
Did I fail? No. In the 30 days of the product, from conception to launch I acquired several dozen contacts in the industry and a handful of job opportunities because I had the balls to take the first step, and I had the brain to do it on a budget.
P.S> Have any Questions or Comments? I love talking about marketing, growth hacking and content/copywriting. If you’re interested in taking this conversation further (with general chat or help launching your product or idea), feel free to connect with me, comment below or drop me a line at zlukasiewicz @ gmail.com