Why do you even have an introduction?

Over the upcoming weeks, we’re sharing a summary of each of the chapters from the Founder Handbook – how to get to your first 10 Enterprise customers.  A weekly digest of learning and action. Of course, you can always download a pdf copy the full book through the following link https://thefounderhandbook.org/

This weeks section covers the introduction, effectively setting the scene for the way to read and leverage the learnings from the handbook. Through out the book, we focused on capturing the insights as real and raw as we experienced them.

Introduction: Setting the scene

On the outside, most companies and startups look polished, but the truth is, internally they are usually an absolute mess.
  • There are no set rules on how to succeed in startups.
  • Most startups internally are a shitshow.
  • ‘A smart person learns from their mistakes. A wise one learns from the mistakes of others.’
  • Building and scaling anything means that we’re all in sales.
  • The Sales journey is one taken by customer and vendor together and involves shared knowledge and a bespoke approach
  • Assumptive bias is real – what you think you know about the market usually turns out to be false

One question from us

What assumptive bias could blindside your success?

Top 10 Takeaways from The Founder Handbook

Over the upcoming weeks, we’re going to share a summary of each of the chapters from the Founder Handbook – how to get to your first 10 Enterprise customers.  A weekly digest of learning and action. Of course, you can always download a pdf copy the full book through the following link https://thefounderhandbook.org/ 

First and foremost – the top 10 takeaways and one question from us: 

  1. Customers, Customers, Customers.
    1. You cannot build a company in customer vacuum.
    2. You need to learn how to listen to them because they are going to make or break your company.
    3. We are all in sales.
  2. Most failures (e.g. outcomes like no financing, out of time, poor sales or marketing execution) are consequences of lack of business development (i.e.g not understanding your customers well).
    1. Business development helps to nail down the right message, product, market, channel, implementation, process, value proposition…
  3. Business is a big fly wheel – all parts need to work in sync. So are many business processes , like business development.
    1. You never stop talking to customers and learning.
    2. Success is everyone’s responsibility, and so is failure.
  4. Business development is NOT sales!
    1. Business development is a process of discovering WHAT and WHERE.
    2. Sales is a process of taking the WHAT and WHERE and making it SCALE.
    3. Your goal is to learn problems, not to sell a product (that you don’t even have).
  5. Early stages are very unscalable, but that is where the most learning comes from.
    1. By skipping grunt work of business development, you will not have anything to scale, or worse, will try to scale the wrong thing.
    2. Most of your assumptions will be challenged.
    3. Think about the exponential curve – in the early stages the growth is very slow, and then it explodes.
  6. Competitors are just another tool, so learn from them to accelerate yourself.
    1. The bigger the market, the more competitors, the more opportunities to differentiate, which in turn attracts more customers by catering to more specific needs, making the market bigger.
    2. You are unlikely to afford to start a new market.
  7. Actions speak louder than words and what actions matter will change over time.
    1. Measure actions that matter and not hypothetical situations.
    2. Base your metrics on KPIs that actually bring you closer to your overall goal (ultimately it’s making money), not on what feels good or is “trending up”.
    3. Think about exponential curve – slow at first and then explosive. The right metrics early will help you see trends and insights that indicate whether your hypothesis can grow.
  8. Product-market fit (PMF) is a process rather than an event
    1. You cannot just ‘achieve it’ and be done with it
    2. To generalise, PMF is a continuous process of uncovering problems (the ‘market’ bit), creating solutions to them (the ‘product’ bit) and measuring how much value someone gets because of it (the ‘fit’ bit), in that order. 
    3. It is more of an art than a science, a matter of combining all the different tools. It is a skill that you will hone as a founder. 
    4. Once you in the right direction the signal will resonate & amplify itself.
  9. You are the hero.
    1. Getting to your first ten enterprise customers will demand all your drive, all your energy, your passion and instincts.
    2. We’ve shared our experiences, the tools, frameworks and methodologies to get there.
    3. Now YOU are the one who has to make it happen.
  10. Time is scarce and focus is the name of the game. Speed is your biggest asset.
    1. There is no big launch.
    2. Disagree and Commit (pivots are a full commitment, can’t execute if some of your energy is wasted on something else — focus on build-test-learn cycle and move on).
    3. Do not look for solutions to keep the old clients, rather than being laser focused on executing your new vision.
    4. Perfect is the evil of good enough – it’s usually the procrastination manifesting itself.
  11. P.S. Most innovation does not come through innovation teams.

Until next week….one question from us

Where are you spending the majority of your time on business development?  Is it really the right customers that will take you to your next major milestone?