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Bootstrapping 101

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Bootstrapping 101

  1. 1. BOOTSTRAPPING 101 BY @BRENNANDUNN
  2. 2. THE DREAM • Eventually we realize that we don’t own our income. • Our most valuable asset is our time — both to us and our employers / clients. • Ergo, we want to separate time from money.
  3. 3. F O R M O S T, I T ’ S A PIPE DREAM. • “Make money while you sleep!” • “Make $XX,XXX from home!” • “Move to San Francisco and apply for YC!”
  4. 4. My goal tonight is to present a low risk framework for augmenting / replacing your income.
  5. 5. MealsNearMe DEAD ON ARRIVAL
  6. 6. SO WHO IS THIS GUY? • Ran a consultancy in Norfolk, “We Are Titans” — maxed at 11 FT employees. • Got tired of client work. Bootstrapped a SaaS called Planscope. • Have since written two books, teach a number of workshops, and speak on consulting / bootstrapping. • In less than 2 years, run rate of $10-40k/month with NO OUTSIDE MONEY.
  7. 7. STEP 1 DERIVING AN IDEA
  8. 8. “Disrupt. Game changer. TechCrunche’d. Scale.” –EVERY WANTRAPRENEUR EVER (AND MOST OF MY FORMER CLIENTS)
  9. 9. P L AY I N G T H E S TA R T U P L O T T O . • “Wouldn’t it be cool IF…” • We mostly read about the successes, but not the failures. • Low likelihood to succeed, but high pay-off if you do. • A+B
  10. 10. DEFINING THE PERFECT B O O T S T R A P P E D P R O D U C T… • Business-to-Business • Non point-in-time (e.g. weddings, events, job finding) • Naturally recurring (PM, accounting, scheduling) • Turnkey (doesn’t require a network effect)
  11. 11. DEFINING THE PERFECT B O O T S T R A P P E D P R O D U C T… ( C O N T ) • Lots and lots of competition • Customer pays more than they cost • Money maker • Money saver
  12. 12. STEP 2 V A L I D AT I N G
  13. 13. V A L I D AT I N G Y O U R P R O D U C T • Your product is the bridge between “OMG this sucks” and :-) • Product validation requires understanding the net effect of removing problem X from a set of companies • By focusing on the problem (e.g. making client communication more transparent) you’ll be naturally constrained to ship only what matters.
  14. 14. Q U I C K W I N S F O R V A L I D AT I N G • Stalk Internet forums for common themes, shared language, and raw pains. • Google around for “Why X sucks” (X being a well- established player.) • Go door to door asking “Will you write me a check for this?” NOT “Would you use this?” (Universal truth: people don’t like making other people feel bad. They will, however, refuse to pay for stuff.)
  15. 15. STEP 3 MAKING AN INCOME
  16. 16. THE BLUEPRINT FOR GUERRILLA PRODUCT SALES • Create an audience. Be the hero who slays Problem X. • Produce content around the problem and solutions, with all arrows pointing toward your product. • Aggressively hunt down your first 50 customers. (See Robert Graham’s great book on cold calling for startups.) • EMAIL.
  17. 17. THE BLUEPRINT FOR GUERRILLA PRODUCT SALES (CONT) • Think about the friction that someone needs to overcome to use your product. How can you offer a low hanging fruit? • Borrow other people’s audiences. See: Constant Contact, guest blogging. • Offer concierge onboarding. • Collect as much qualitative AND quantitative data as you can.
  18. 18. WRAPPING UP WE’VE COVERED A LOT OF TA C T I C S . L E T ’ S TA L K S T R AT E G Y.
  19. 19. • Understand and verify core problems that affect a businesses’ ability to thrive. • Build a MVP that solves (or partially solves) that problem. • Market through the solution, don’t sell the product. • Offer low hanging fruit or impulse buys if your product requires big workflow changes.
  20. 20. @brennandunn brennan@planscope.io ! See my funnel in action: freelancersweekly.com

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