Will it Launch?

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There is a misconception that to be a startup you need to have a team that can build a full product. And only when the product is built can you attract customers and convince them to pay! But this …

There is a misconception that to be a startup you need to have a team that can build a full product. And only when the product is built can you attract customers and convince them to pay! But this approach takes a lot of time, and an abundance of resources that are unavailable to most entrepreneurs.

In this workshop, Poornima will share strategies for brainstorming, validating your idea, launching it, and even attracting early adopters who are willing to pay, as a scrappy startup.

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  • 1. Will it Launch? ... Poornima Vijayashanker Sponsored by: Tampa Bay Technology Forum June 27, 2013 poornima@femgineer.com @poornima #willitlaunch 1
  • 2. Introduction • Duke University - ECE & CS • R&D Engineer @ Synopsys • Founding Engineer @ Mint • Founder of BizeeBee • Founder of Femgineer 2
  • 3. Will it Launch? • Ideation • Brainstorming • Customers • Concierge MVP • Pricing • Business Model • Measuring success 3
  • 4. BIG VISION + small steps 4
  • 5. Resist the urge to BUILD. 5
  • 6. “Value in a startup is validating learning NOT creation of stuff.” Eric Ries, Lean Startup 6
  • 7. Uncertainty. 7
  • 8. Limited resources. 8
  • 9. Learning ReleasingBuilding Balancing act. 9
  • 10. Let’s get started. 10
  • 11. 1. Come up with a hypothesis. 2. Figure out what you want to measure 3. Run an experiment. 4. Measure results from experiment. 5. Learn. 6. Move on to next hypothesis. 11
  • 12. No idea! Too many ideas! Is this the right idea?! 12
  • 13. Where do ideas come from? 13
  • 14. Creative minds. 14
  • 15. The idea fairy. Past experiencesPassions Pains Reading Conversations Supplemental Reading: A 5-Step Technique for Producing Ideas Circa 1939 Interests Hobbies Digesting 15
  • 16. Don’t jump into building... 16
  • 17. • Don’t fear thought crime! • Put a team together. • Make a list of people to reach out to: mentors, potential teammates, experts, influencers. • Don’t fall in love with an idea! • Fall in love with the process with the process of generating and executing ideas. • Realize that ideas evolve. Ideation Philosophy 17
  • 18. More on Thought Crime • Get another company to steal your idea. • Tell them your idea! • Execution is key. • Eventually someone will steal your idea if it is good. • Market leader. • Domain expertise. 18
  • 19. Two Paths in Ideation Invention understand advances & limitations in technology & create a commercially viable product e.g. transistors v. vacuum tube key to modern day electronics, incandescent light bulb vs. candle and heating oil Re-Invention improve upon an existing product e.g. Mint - Quicken come up with a new take on an old concept e.g. Twitter - telegram, sms 19
  • 20. Invention • List new forms of technology that interest you • Understand the limitations • Potential applications • Existing technology • Why is this so popular? • What are its limitations? • New forms of technology v. existing forms of technology • How does it outperform existing technology? (saves money/time, takes up less space, more reliable, longer life, higher quality) • What is limiting it from becoming popular? (regulation, additional R&D, change in behavior) 20
  • 21. Re-Invention • List 5 things you have thought of improving • Who faces these pains? • Have they tried to solve the pain themselves or are there solutions out there that solve these pains? • For each existing solution list why this solution rocks and why it sucks. • What are some related pains? 21
  • 22. Techniques. 22
  • 23. 23
  • 24. Mind Mapping • Visual Outline of Information • Ground Rules • 1-2 hours per session with breaks. • Don’t discount or judge any ideas! • Take your time & don’t rush. • Capture all ideas and connections. • MindMeister Supplemental Reading: Mind Mapping Guidelines 24
  • 25. Mind Mapping Example Blog Education Speaking Online Offline Entrepreneurship Engineering Leadership Engineering Co-Working Incubators Twitter Blog Readers Marketing Product Development Spotlighting women Practices Startups Technology Startups Recruiting 25
  • 26. Your idea is GOOD but it can be BETTER. 26
  • 27. Brainstorming • Work on ideas individually first! • Ground Rules • Pick a time everyone is available • 1-2 hours per session with breaks. • Don’t discount or judge any ideas! • 1 person at a time has the floor. • Take your time & don’t rush. • Capture all ideas and connections. • Thank everyone for their time! Supplemental Reading: 5 Powerful Ways to Brainstorm with Teams, An Outsider’s Outlook: Bringing in People to Brainstorm for Your Startup 27
  • 28. CAN this product be built? 28
  • 29. SHOULD this product be built? 29
  • 30. Can we build a SUSTAINABLE business? 30
  • 31. Do I WANT to build a business? 31
  • 32. Let’s start building a business... 32
  • 33. first thing we need... 33
  • 34. first thing we need... 34
  • 35. CUSTOMERS! 35
  • 36. Who do we THINK are our customers? 36
  • 37. 37
  • 38. • High Level Segmentation • Within market what are the various customer demographics • Take 3 competitors • Dig into what customers love/hate • Understand substitutes • Easy to displace? Customer’s comfort with change or being ready for it. Customer Segmentation 38
  • 39. Needs of neglected segment - what doesn’t competitor ‘get’? - what will make this group loyal? Willing to switch? What will it take? - price - features - credibility - comfort 39
  • 40. How do we attract them? 40
  • 41. What do we want to OFFER them? 41
  • 42. Concierge MVP • An experiment is a product • Questions • Do consumers recognize they have the problem you are trying to solve? • If there was a solution, would they buy it? • Would they buy it from you? • Can you build the solution for that problem? • How can you build a simple version? 42
  • 43. Channels. 43
  • 44. Where do your customers hangout? “early adopters “ ^ 44
  • 45. Case Study #1: Food on the Table • Creates weekly meal plans and grocery lists, and hooks into grocery stores to find best deals for ingredients • Began with a single customer! • Interviewed customers are local super markets. • Signed up 1st customer and dropped off groceries weekly. • Collected $9.95 on each visit! 45
  • 46. Case Study #2: Femgineer • Blog that became a business • Bootstrapped through customers • Concierge MVP 46
  • 47. Case Study #3: DropBox • Validated concept through a video 47
  • 48. Case Study #4: Zappos • e-commerce platform • Started with brick and mortar stores • Focused on one market: shoes • Simple site with same inventory that was in stores 48
  • 49. How do you ask for the first $? 49
  • 50. Early Sales Customer Development Product Development Early Adopters: lesser feature set (enthusiasts) Price of Pain 50
  • 51. Price of pain. 51
  • 52. Identifying Early Adopters • Customer Pain • Looking for a solution • Using substitutes • Know has a problem • Has a problem • expose through unhappiness • wasting resources • Has a budget • talk about current spending 52
  • 53. Pricing • Models • Single Use - based on type of product • Ongoing - monthly subscription or a service fee • License - limit types of usage or unlimited • Factor in basic costs • Under competitors pricing by doing a breakdown • Why does their product cost what it does? • Factor in substitutes • ROI Calculation • What is it worth to YOU? 53
  • 54. Decision makers Influencers End Users • Decision Dilemmas: head v. heart • Cost of Ownership • Price Recommenders 54
  • 55. Customer Pain Your Benefit Finding a Fit ‣ Listen to their needs and use that to sell your product ‣ If need be walk them through a cost analysis of their pain or ROI ‣ You are not doing a demo or a presentation ‣ You are working to get a NO as quickly as possible ‣ Create a list of disqualification questions ‣ Price ‣ Indecision is still a decision 55
  • 56. • Channel (distributors) • Volume Pricing • Reservation Price Additional Pricing Mechanisms 56
  • 57. Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance Farris, Bendle, Pfeifer, Reibstein 57
  • 58. Produce ~300 bars/day with current team. Distributors need more! Need $50k for manufacturing run. 58
  • 59. Reservation Price: the price about which a customer will not buy a product. 59
  • 60. • E-Commerce Site • Get to shopping cart. • Reduce abandonment! • SaaS • Monthly subscription • Conversion v. cancellation rate • Marketplace • transaction fee • Mobile App • Media Business Model 60
  • 61. Stage of Business • New • Adoption Rate - Top of the funnel • Engagement • Growth • Retention • Monetization e.g. Pinterest pitch to investors • Later Stage • More nuanced but still one metric! • Earnings 61
  • 62. What are we trying to validate? 62
  • 63. Hypothesis for our business. 63
  • 64. Metrics. 64
  • 65. Vanity Metrics. 65
  • 66. “We received 1M likes!” “We sent out 10M emails!” 66
  • 67. Good metrics. 67
  • 68. 1. Comparative 2. Understandable 3. Ratio or rate 68
  • 69. Qualitative vs. Quantitative 69
  • 70. Sometimes you have to pick up the phone! 70
  • 71. KPI: key performance indicator. 71
  • 72. Leading vs. Lagging Metrics 72
  • 73. Correlated v. Causal 73
  • 74. Be wary of correlated v. causal. 74
  • 75. AARRR 75
  • 76. What about quality? 76
  • 77. Customer care about a product solving a PROBLEM or serving a NEED. 77
  • 78. If DESIGN is an ISSUE it will be revealed when testing on early adopters. 78
  • 79. What did we learn from our first experiment? 79
  • 80. Throw away your work! 80
  • 81. Value v. Waste 81
  • 82. Focus on learning FASTER and building LESS. 82
  • 83. Review • Ideation • Brainstorming • Customers • Concierge MVP • Pricing • Measuring success 83
  • 84. Q&A 84
  • 85. What’s next? 85
  • 86. GROUP MENTORING Femgineer Friends Visit femgineer.com/mentoring ONLINE COURSE Lean Product Development Fall 2013 Visit femgineer.com/courses 86
  • 87. Workshop 87
  • 88. KEY OBJECTIVE(S) AGENDA DELIVERABLE Exercise Create a questionnaire for customers. 15 minutes 1. Who do you think your customer is? 2. Where do you think they hang out? 3. How do you plan to initially reach out to them? 4. What do you plan to ask them? (Hint: this should be based on a hypothesis you have about your customer segment and their pains.) Present customer questionnaire. 88
  • 89. KEY OBJECTIVE(S) AGENDA DELIVERABLE Exercise First experiment to attract early adopters. 15 minutes 1. What is your initial value proposition for your customers? 2. How do you plan to convey the value proposition to them? 3. What are you looking to measure? Present Concierge MVP. 89