1. Understand a Current and Urgent Need:
•Do you understand the space and market?
(What direction its headed)
•Do you have one potential client already?
•Can you easily integrate with existing
systems? (software or otherwise)
2. Provide Immediate Value:
•Do you ADD value? (revenues or profits)
•Can you bring something hard to get? (traffic,
sales leads, inventory)
3. Strong Marketing Proposition:
•Can you explain what you want to do?
•Can you adapt your pitch easily?
•Do you have “the basics”? One pagers, page
link, email templates, a website…
Do not built it yet:
•If you cannot replicate the messaging for 10
•If you don’t know the “core features”
•If you don’t know how much you can charge in
the alpha or beta (otherwise you cannot
calculate a ROI)
Start building ASAP:
•If you have a list of core or minimum features
•You need an estimate or quote for technology
•You can leverage existing technologies:
Mailchimp, Twilio, Sketch etc
•Beware of enterprise sales cycles
•If your app or solution “saves money” you are
not urgently needed
•Time is the enemy of all deals
•A signed contract is not the same as getting
A Pitch Gone Wrong
“But Ellie… I’m on a rocketship”
Kent Anderson, Macys
Most startups don’t know how to make money
•Can you accept multiple types of payments?
(credit card, paypal, wire etc)
•Do you have an invoicing or billing system?
(Recurly, Stripe, Freshbooks…)
•Have you thought about pricing or terms of a
Exercise: Make an Invoice
As surprising as this may
sound, figure out how you
would describe what you are
doing and how it would look
Have you found the gaps?
•Existing Systems (Enterprise)
•What are your main hurdles?
What Kind of Company Are You?
•Service: Uber, deliveries, logistics
•Product: Clothing, lotion, tangible goods
•Saas: web app, mobile app, something that
can be downloaded
•Backend: hardcore tech. Another story.
Newsflash: in an Agile world of
MVP and MSP we all start as a service.
The Question is:
How smart is your customer?
•Feedback takes more than three (3) business
•The customer has never done this before or
worked with a small company
•More than one signoff is needed for changes
•You tell the customer what they want
•The customer doesn’t like to use email
•The company doesn’t or hasn’t worked with
•There are expensive old systems to overhaul
•You need a lot of “inventory” first
Fake Red Flags
•The company or enterprise wants you to meet
or work with their accelerator or lab
•Diligence around company valuation and IP
•Customer list is requested
Disclaimer to Founders:
•If its easier to copy your idea than work with
you, then your idea isn’t good enough.
Customer Validation Resources
“How to talk to customers & your
business is a good idea when everyone
The Lean Startup approach to new ventures.
3. Ideas to stay away from
Marketplaces “Social network for x”
Feature driven softwares
More than 1000 companies
funded for the Instagram
Only one got acquired.
It’s important to find a partner or agency that
will drive you to achieve in your objectives.
Or you can learn to code
Stop waiting and start doing. You
don’t need to be technical to start it.
The first 2 steps.. You NEED to do
1. Pick a person/niche
2. Do a Sales Safari/consumer behavior
*Make a list of potential websites,
channels, places & sources.
Coffee shops, parks
Train stations, bus stops
Make a list of keywords,
problems, & phrases
• What are your keywords?
• Is your branding aligned with your customers?
(ie. Blues or reds or language)
• SEO: start thinking now
Focus on the people you’d like to help
3. Their current solutions
2. Their goals & problems
1. Type of
Remember all those times you
groaned a robot could do your job?
Going from “Service” to “Automation”
2. Tasks & Processes in those
1. Jobs they hire
Example? Dashable, checkins
Bridge the real-world w/ the digital world
2. Inefficient processes
and pointless problems
1. old industries
Be careful with your Costs for
Acquisition.. It’s usually much more
than you think.
• HR software costs a lot
• You think you could make it for a lot cheaper
• So what happens?
Make something w/ less steps
Human Desire Steps in current
Example? Blogging, which is web publishing with fewer steps
showing off, gaining
What will be huge?
Example? Digital media
Rising tech trends
beliefs about the