Crawl, Walk, Run.
Building a tech startup? I have a few pieces of advice based on my own experience. Crawl, Walk, Run.
Crawl. Do things that don’t scale at the beginning. Talk to 50 potential customers, listen, discover pain points, and then begin to form a product to solve that pain. Use this feedback to develop your MVP. Don’t fall in love with your solution. Fall in love with their problem. I’ve mentioned this before, read Lean Startup.
Walk. Create mock-ups. Start to develop your product. Go back to your early potential customers and ask them if your MVP (or mockups) solve their problem. Pre-sell it. If you really are solving a problem, they will pay you for the software. Don’t give it away for free, but do give them an incentive to participate. If you can’t get one person to buy before it is ready, do not move onto the next stage with building your product. Or, you will launch to crickets. Go back to your mock-ups and keep going until you create something at least one person wants to buy. The one person should not be a family member or acquaintance. Once you have the pre-sale(s), conduct a Beta round where those paying users test out what you’ve built. Stay in Beta until you can leverage testimonials from your users. Leverage this time to plan for what comes next, an influx of customers based of your client’s testimonials.
Run. Once your Beta is proven, RUN! Run as fast as you can and get Sales. The founder (or one of the founders) must be willing to hustle for sales. I recommend downloading the startup course from Close.io. Steli gives amazing advice.
What I’ve learned is that you should get Sales, or what we call pre-sales, like we did at the Walk stage. Make sure you set the right expectation about the availability. You don’t want to create so much buzz that people are disappointed when you don’t release for another 9 months.
Another way of saying this is…
Pre-Sales. Product. Beta. Sales.
I haven’t found too many resources on this for tech Founders and wanted to share how following this process if working for us at Preclose.
Don’t get it out of order or you’ll really trip up and fall flat on your face, or burn through investor money. It’s what babies do…Crawl, Walk, Run. It works for them, try it with your startup.