Today was the kick-off for the second cohort of startups at Flashpoint, an accelerator at Georgia Tech. The day started with introductions between the new startups and their mentors, followed by a primer on startup engineering/lean startup methodology, and concluded the morning with each team introducing themselves and their business, with a business model canvas in the background.
The afternoon assignment was to get out of the building and talk to potential customers. Here are some thoughts on startups getting out of the building:
- Steve Blank says, “In a startup, no facts exist inside the building, only opinions”
- Resist the tendency to talk to friends that are potential customers as your only source since their feedback is going to be tainted by their relationship with you
- Go to where you customers are most likely to be (e.g. at a specific office complex), not just where you might get lucky to find them (e.g. Starbucks)
- Keep the questions open-ended by avoiding yes/no questions
- Stay focused on finding answers to your hypotheses (it’s easy to get distracted)
Startups need to get out of the building and talk to potential customers right away. Too often entrepreneurs build their products in a vacuum and talk to customers after spending significant resources, and many times don’t have enough resources left to achieve success. Making the most of time and resources requires getting out of the building.
What else? What are your thoughts on startups getting out of the building?