The CSUF Startup Incubator welcomed in Alexis Bedoret in to host a seminar that focused on the number one job of an entrepreneur. Alexis spent the last 10 years building startups with expertise in Software, Hardware and the Internet of Things. With his co-founders, they created a Startup Studio to invest in startups. They learned how to be the best builders, not by brainstorming, but by making their hands dirty building their own startups.
Too many entrepreneurs focus on their product building great technology before validating that it actually fulfills a need for which the customer is ready to pay. This is a particular topic that they feel passionate about and they have built a great mindset and culture about this particular problem in the life of a startup. It’s all about trying to generate customer traction as fast as possible, they believe that’s the best way to validate a business opportunity.
CSUF Startup Incubator’s Take
Business development is definitely one of the top jobs of any entrepreneur. If you don’t have any customers then you either have to raise a lot of money (and there are many kinds of businesses that do require a lot of funds up front before they can get to market) or you have to find your customers quickly or you will run out of money very quickly.
And at the CSUF Startup Incubator, we work with our residents on figuring out their go to market strategies. This starts out with doing in-depth interviews with potential customers. These interviews help entrepreneurs to better understand who their customers are and what they want. After the interviews have been completed, the entrepreneurs will follow up that qualitative research with a quantitative survey.
After all of this has been completed, it would then be time to start to develop and then implement your go to market strategy. This includes tailoring your product and/or service to what you found out about your customers. And then going out and selling. There are no successful businesses without sales.
Alexis’ Baby Steps To Launching A Startup
“What can I do today to bring value to my customer tomorrow.” That’s the first baby step in Alexis’ system. It’s analogous to what we (and everyone else who follows Lean) call a minimal viable product. Create the basic product or service and go out and sell it to customers. Paul Graham refers to this as doing things that do not scale. In other words, figure out what you can do today to reach your customers as soon as possible.
“Don’t do anything before testing your assumptions.” Follow up questions to this would be “Do people have that problem I am trying to solve?” and “How much are people willing to pay for my solution?” and “What are the must have features?” and “Who is my customer?”.
As you can see, Alexis stresses the importance of figuring things out before jumping. This is a great way to minimize risks, which are everywhere in startups, and to gather a lot of information. Information about your customers, information about what they want, information about your product or service, and information about pretty much everything related to your startup. As an entrepreneur, it’s a very bad idea to try to be a startup impresario, going out without any knowledge and trying to start a new business based solely on your own ideas. Instead, be humble, and test/validate everything that you do when launching your business (and keep on doing that as long as your business is around).
CSUF Startup Incubator
Entrepreneurs who are accepted into the CSUF Startup Incubator work with our entrepreneurial experts over a six month intensive launch period that includes: access to office space, quarterly investor pitches our entrepreneurs can participate in, free events, a dedicated one-on-one coaching relationship with one of our more than 700 startup experts, and so much more! If you are ready to learn the right way to go from concept to launch, please go to this page or contact a CSUF Startup Incubator representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.