Originally this article was over 30 pages long, so, we decided to break it down into sections.
It’s been co-authored by two non-tech founders (Dr Leigh Davidson, Professional vet and owns Your Vet Online) and me Emma House (content producer, copywriter, and start-up Gardenhood) and also Sydney Startup tech legends both tech and non-tech.
So, let’s dive in……
It’s more complicated than it looks and although you may think it looks easy because you’ve seen some founders who have ‘made millions’ through an online business – you can bet your bottom dollar that those people have failed more times than you’ve brushed your teeth.
What we can say with absolute confidence is that business essentials are exactly the same as hundreds of years ago.
People. Place. Promotion. Product.
These essentials are sometimes forgotten when entrepreneurs, creatives or visionaries get together to discuss big ambitious, daring, disruptive and sometimes damn right unnecessary ideas. At the end of the day, all that truly matters is that you have buyers, sellers and a product that works.
There are now so many sellers online that instead of creating a sales piece, you’d be smarter to start with your buyers and create a product to suit them.
More people selling and buying online can mean more problems to solve and it can also mean hundreds of people trying to solve the same problem! I know some e-commerce sites jammed packed with sellers and zero buyers!
Without this becoming a lesson in business, what we are trying to say is that your buyer is more important than what you are selling (to some degree!).
Leaving aside all the founder tech fails that we hear about, tech people can also help stop delivering products that end up sitting on a server doing nothing by simply asking the founder if they know who their buyers are. If a tech can’t understand why they are creating the tech, then you may as well not build.
If a founder or business owner comes to tech either agency or developer the first question asked should be
Have you tested the idea with a landing page or similar? What evidence is there that this idea will work?
Ideas are like confetti, creatives have hundreds of them every single minute (I’m having 3 now!) but until you take that confetti and turn it into paper mache that someone will buy you don’t have a solid business – just a bunch of ideas floating out in thin air.
We recommend that founders and business owners heading into tech and the startup space watch this How to Start a Startup (Sam Altman, Dustin Moskovitz) Stanford University.
Another great read is the Mom Test by Rob Fizpatrick to see whether people will hand over their hard-earned cash – read the Mom Test, ask the right questions and validate your idea.
And my favourite method of finding answers is asking the 5 Whys.
5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Asking questions like this is a little like going down the rabbit hole. Every Why asked leads to another why and eventually to the root of the problem you are trying to solve.
If you aren’t born curious this will train you on how to become insanely curious. Watch Eric Ries, entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School explain how to find the human causes of technical problems here.
When it comes to problem-solving in tech and teams the 5 Why’s technique is very effective.
When it comes to solving a problem for a buyer, you can use this technique BUT you need to ask the right questions (refer back to the Mom test).
Let’s have a look at an example. Just say you launched a product and no one liked it. Not one buyer.
So, you call up your users and ask the 5 Why’s until you get to……your product didn’t do home delivery so I switched accounts, your product has little gray hairs and I want red hairs, your service looked dodgy so I switched providers….etc etc.
Mostly no one is that direct at first, they dance around, be polite to protect people’s feelings (including yours) so you need to really probe people. Become the annoying Why toddler who just won’t go away!!
If we switch to online and given the internet is just a big set of data, it’s a slightly different method, you are using facts to explore markets and you can do this with simple landing pages to test your idea.
You can read about what makes an awesome landing page via Hubspot Hubspot Landing Pages Examples.
Keep reading there’s much more to learn – NEXT UP – Technology and Business
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