Week 2 on Ignite — ‘Test and Validate’
Week 2 of the programme has seen all of us have to work with more urgency. After a week of familiarising ourselves with our surroundings, we experienced our first week of mentoring. This consists of 8 x 20 minute meetings each day with a variety of founders, investors and Ignite100 alumni. In each session, we briefly pitch our business and then receive critical feedback. Whilst you leave feeling pumped when a session went well and the mentor ‘got it’, it is equally as dejecting spending 20 minutes trying to explain what you do with the mentor none the wiser after the meeting has finished.
The aim of the game this week has been to stress test our hypotheses with potential customers. We were quickly advised to stop creating solutions to potential problems, and instead get close to our customer to truly get to grips with their needs. At times this felt counter-intuitive to feeling like we were ‘starting a business’. As newbie entrepreneurs, it seems we’re told by the media that the steps to success are to quickly roll out a clever product, start marketing/selling it, wait for widespread uptake then sail off into the sunset with a multi-million pound exit… Ignite teaches otherwise. No product and no code in the first few weeks. Just pure customer validation. To get true insights into the market, we even posed as job-seekers in order to get close to recruitment consultants. A worthwhile exercise. Our learnings from this process have been that whilst theres certainly problems in the recruitment space, they’re more complex than we originally thought.
We’ll keep our entry this week fairly short as we have a lot of work to do. We’re aiming to gain insights from both startups and small businesses in the UK and also from our friends over in the US. If anyone reading this has connections with businesses who are looking to expand their team, then we’d love to hear from you.
A quick word on this weeks adventures in Newcastle:
Tristan organised a fun day of surfing up in Tynemouth which ended with a BBQ (thanks to Paul!). A great day out to recharge the batteries.