Posted: 29 July 2016

EFSG holds an event every Friday, and they interestingly named it TGEF. TGEF stands for “Thank God Entrepreneur First”. It’s some acronym play on TGIF. This post is about the second TGEF held. I didn’t blog about the first one as I didn’t think of it, but I will from now on. I believe that writing my thoughts after each Friday is a good way of internalizing some concepts.

Today’s topic was “7 things on how to get started”. Getting started in the sense of building a company. Here are the 7 things.

  1. Start somewhere

    Well, the important thing is to start somewhere (yeah I know right)! A good place to start would be from my interests and skills. It should come from me. Some people might think that sitting in a room and brainstorming is a good idea, but that is in a fact a terrible idea. Go out there and talk to people, meet new people, look for real problems in the world. After finding a real problem, go all out to find out more and solve that problem. Treat every idea as if it’s the last one, and don’t be nervous about getting it wrong.

  2. Find a really painful problem

    Imagine if you’re trying to sell a product to a business (B2B sales). Are you trying to sell it to the company? Or are you simply trying to convince that one person who has the power to make the decision? Obviously the latter. With this in mind, how do you convince that one person that your product is worth it? Well, you need to ensure that your product solves a problem that is extremely painful for them.

    In the process of trying to find a painful problem, it’s important to note that “what they actually want is not what they should want”. You might come up with a product that streamlines certain processes and improves their business (they should want this), but what if this results in certain stakeholders earning less money from then on? They are not going to adopt your product, especially if these stakeholders are part of the decision making team.

    What if you’re selling a product to an individual? Well, it better help them build their identity, pay them, or get them __. The last one is kind of weird so I won’t mention it.

  3. Don’t worry about the market size

    There may come a point in time where VCs will say that this market is tiny. Don’t worry about it. If your market is super niche, it might even be better!

  4. Find an actual customer

    Do whatever it takes to find an actual customer. This person is not someone who’s like “aww yeah this sounds great I will use it”. Someone like that is not your customer until he puts his money where his mouth is. This customer will also be the first person who is willing to use the first shitty version of your product. This customer should want it so much that he/she will be pissed at how slow you are progressing. If you find someone like that, you’ve basically got a customer. If you can’t, you failed at step two.

  5. Make something

    Do the one thing crucial for your product really really well. Ship early and often and always take feedback positively. And of course, get stuff done!

  6. Connect customer and product

    Ask for money! That’s the sure-fire way to connect the customer and the product. Sometimes customers may want equity, but that’s not a very good idea. If they are willing to pay for it without equity, it just means they really wanna use it. After securing your first customer, it’s important to ask them for suggestions: “who else might want to use my product?”

  7. Don’t worry about anything else

    Well, this pretty much says it all.

    • Partnerships (like putting some big company logo on your landing page) is total bullshit.
    • Networking events are only good, if you’re invited as a speaker and are given a chance to introduce your product. Think about it, do successful CEOs actually want to go for these events?
    • Landing Page / Website, don’t worry about it at all, no one will go there.
    • No need for marketing, branding, names, business cards.
    • Don’t worry about hiring.
    • Don’t worry about admin and planning.
    • Don’t worry about investment.
    • Don’t worry about fundraising.

In conclusion, I should:

  • Talk to customers
  • Find customers
  • Build stuff