The only 5 things that matter for your startup
- Product: Offer a great solution to a worthy problem.
- Solve a real pain. Are you selling an aspirin or a vitamin? Aspirins fix an immediate pain, vitamins are nice to have.
- How big is your target market? It’s usually better when your target market is sizable.
- Why do you have the right to win in this space? Are you passionate enough to stick with this through 10 years?
- Offer a great solution experience, that integrates well with the customer’s existing behavior. The end to end customer experience (within and outside your product) should be significantly better and solve the problem.
2. Traction: Grow your customer base at a reasonable rate.
- Do you have efficient channels to acquire customers? Is your customer acquisition cost lower than the life time value of the customer?
- Most startups have a decent product, most startups fail because they don’t have traction.
- 50–50 rule. Spend 50% of your effort on traction and 50% on product development right from the start.
3. Retention: Keep your customers happy and engaged.
- 90 day retention number is crucial. How many customers still use your product 90 days after sign up?
- Make the product use habitual. Create or map to an existing Trigger → Action → Reward cycle
4. Monetization: Figure out how to generate revenue and profit.
- Revenue matters for sustainability and growth. Unless you are blessed with plenty of VC funding, revenue is necessary to keep you going.
- Your product isn’t a business until it has revenue.
5. A-team: Build a team of talented, passionate people.
- Maintain the hiring bar high and team size low. Reward them well, keep them challenged, and offer personal and career growth.
- Push decision-making down the chain. No point hiring smart, passionate people if you just want them to follow instructions.
That’s mostly it. Execute on all of these well and you are golden. I’m sure you’ll figure the rest along the way
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