This is part 3 of the series, if you want to read from the beginning click this link: My experience at PR Ventures’ Startup Bootcamp Part 1, if you missed part 2 click this link: My experience at PR Ventures’ Startup Bootcamp Part 2.
We had our first PirañaTank. In it’s aftermath we learned how to strengthen our “pitch” using R-O-T and the 4 P’s, as well as the feedback received.
I did my homework by improving my basic pitch. It goes something like this: “This device (12v UPS) will make your camera system more flexible, robust, and cut your installation time in half, saving you time and money! Get it now!”
As you can see the focus is not eliminating cables, as I initially thought. My experiments showed me that potential customers were receptive to making their system more robust, and save time during installation. So I basically threw their words back at them.
I also used the 4 P’s to create a landing page (http://r1software.com/12v-ups-module/) based on all the feedback I got from my experiments. Again, I just use their own words to reinforce what they already believe, and give them a solution that has all/most of the benefits they desire.
There are, admittedly, still some weak spots on the presentation. I’m working on simplifying, and figuring how to show more visually what my product will do for you. Some proof. A short video maybe. It’s a work in progress, but I definitively feel more confident moving forward.
What we did on the third session
Ok. As always, here’s my fast and furious overview of what happened:
PirañaTank Reloaded – Antonio gave us two minutes to make our (hopefully much improved!) “pitch” to the group. I have to say, I saw a noticeable improvement in almost all the presentations. Ideas flowed more clear, less cloudy, more assertive. Don’t get your hopes up, we still sucked, but the use of R-O-T (Results, Objection, Time) and the 4 P’s (Promise, Picture, Proof, Push) made a HUGE difference! Christian was back from his trip, so he helped by being a very hungry Piranha this time. We got lot’s of useful feedback on how to improve.
- Market, Market Research Tools, Customer Profile – Antonio and Christian explained the basics about the market, segments, and persona. We tried some simple tools that help us research and assess rather quickly the size of a market, segments, trends. We saw some examples and learned how to create a ranked matrix to identify niches for our startup. Niches are a powerful concept indeed. We have to find our persona, and it has to be real.Some tools mentioned:
- Google Trends – http://google.com/trends
- Consumer Barometer – http://consumerbarometer.com
- Google Adwords Keyword Planner – https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
- U.S. Census Bureau – https://www.census.gov
- Abre Puerto Rico – http://www.abrepr.org/es
Build a skateboard before building a race car – We explored the concept of the minimal viable product MVP and how we should apply it to our startup ideas. Strip down your idea to the simplest incarnation possible, and even then, don’t build it yet! If it’s an app, or SaaS, don’t code anything! You are the app. If it’s a physical product, don’t make it yet! Prototype it, create a landing page. It’s vaporware time without having to worry about the Osborne effect. Sell it, before you build it. If your idea holds water, kudos! If you sell it, then you have to build it or you’ll look like an idiot! Which is way better than building it first, then looking like an idiot when nobody buys it! LOL
Some tools mentioned:
Candy Land-ish game – we divided into two groups, and played a trivia game to test our knowledge of the concepts discussed so far in the Bootcamp. Things like definitions, steps of the startup process, methodology, paradigms, etc. The game is designed to emulate the startup experience, with constant setbacks, even doing things right, or advancing too fast, that prevent you from making progress and finishing the game. It was fun, but most important it shed light on what needed clarification, and some gaps that needed to be addressed for the benefit of all.
- Homework – Improve your pitch. Get ready for the next PirañaTank, 1 minute. Continue your experiments. Research your market. Find a segment you can and should impact first, and why. Define your persona client. Create your skateboard. What’s that? Yep. Get busy Mr. CEO smarty pants!
At this point (if you’ve done your homework) what you have is a half-decent sales pitch, and a half-baked mostly untested business idea, and if not, you’ve got a turd. Yes, a turd! Flush it and start over. Yes, go back and start over. No shame in that.
I already have a prototype, which I shouldn’t have, but I had created it before starting the Bootcamp and learning all this awesome stuff. However, my prototype is not the complete skateboard, and although my product hasn’t changed, what has changed is the premises on which it was based.
For my product to succeed it requires my prospective client to include previously excluded options, like the use of wireless cameras, and overcome the passive conformity caused by available alternatives. To achieve this, I must present a credible solution, a shiny skateboard that stimulates my persona in all the right places. This new-found knowledge has helped me realize that by crafting ingenious and simple experiments, I can find the right questions to ask, and if I listen carefully, the market will reveal to me the answers it wants.
Best case I hear the magic words: “how much does it cost?”. Worst case, my product is a turd, and no amount of pivot Fabreeze can fix it. By the way, I found this DrivenForward’s blog Forward Thinking article by Glen Hellman very interesting: The Startup Turd to Gold Ratio check it out (there’s lots of other good articles).
Homework is pretty straight forward. Let’s keep at it until we find the gold!
I will keep you updated with the last post in this series next week. Thanks for reading!
About Startup Bootcamp
Startup Bootcamp is a program where you learn to create a startup, validate your business idea, and make your first clients, without risking your time or money. It is an initiative of Puerto Rico Ventures.
Puerto Rico Ventures‘ goal is to support the entrepreneur community in Puerto Rico. We contribute by providing essential elements of the startup ecosystem. We believe that startups are the key to the economic future of the island, and help provide a strong foundation to anyone that is willing to launch a startup.
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