April 10, 2021 3:00PM
Round table for Struggles of starting a business, the risk to be aware of, how to leverage your skills for monetization
<aside> 💡 Replay: https://www.facebook.com/dsccpuph/videos/2654538344843676
<aside> 💡 Recording: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Jg_9ztWYEuK_JksV3pwk8xUTD2zOgSa5/view
Hi how are you today? Thank you so much for inviting me. I am going to share some thoughts and experiences I have had as a former tech-co-founder of 1Export. I hope that by the end of this conversation you can take away something to leverage your skills or test those business ideas you have.
Starting a business
Maybe 2 or 3 decades ago before the Internet was founded, starting a business is incomparably hard vs to what it is now. It is hard to test ideas on scale. Today, you can test your ideas cheap, sometimes almost free and get feedback instantly.
What matters is the execution. I would recommend reading the Radical Focus it's a short read like an hour you could finish it. It's not important to protect an idea. It's important to protect the time it takes to make it real. It's all about how you can test your idea into small, actionable experiments and iterate from it. From 1Export we learned that the pricing model that is most appealing to our customers is around less than a $100 USD and those that are per unit or smaller quantities. We used to have it by wholesale or by the case.
Grab would say and do business by failing fast and cheap and with that they recover fast as well. You can still see Grab do it the startup way by navigating on their app and see some google forms for surveys before they even code it or invest a team to build that service/feature and deploy it on the app.
What risks to be aware of
Having an idea of taking over all the big market share immediately. Start small, have a niche or a specific small percentage first. Talk and know your target audience. We literally interview and record our meetings with our customers to understand them better and it served as our reviews page as well.
There will be people who might copy the idea and that's why you have to execute faster but regardless, sometimes others just try to copy and not succeed because they find out that it is more than just the code it is about the process put in place to execute your idea. Ship faster and learn fast.
Over engineering things. As an engineer I like to build things and as I progressed in the startup ecosystem, it is not just all about coding itself but really working with people, getting feedback from your customers or potential customers. It is way better to have a scrappy code and have customers than a perfect code that would have taken years to ship and burn momentum, burn time and money, not learning anything.
Not sticking to the OKRs(Objective and Key Results) and losing focus. Objective is the one inspirational thing that would make you jump off your bed and the Key result would be something that scares you that you won't achieve it because its hard and it has to be a number. A number that is measurable so that when you look back after a quarter you can clearly see where you are and where you are going.
Leverage your skills for Monetization
On monetization , I'd like to share Taylor Otwell's mantra on it. Ask for payment and people don't pay you or do not ask for payment and of course people don't pay you. Might as well try asking for people to pay you. Learn how to get better at asking for the worth of the product you have been building.
With technology you can easily be up and running by having Paypal integrated instantly or maybe in a day. There will be people who would want to integrate with you immediately but just to set it up, up with the momentum, up with the ease of developer experience integration your best bet is Paypal. If your concern is the transaction fees, learn from it on the next iteration on how you can factor that it but just get started accepting payments already.
If another payment gateway's going to take another 2-3 weeks of integration then I would suggest to push it back a little and prioritize other tasks or experiments because Paypal can support credit cards and paypal balance.
No code & Low code tools
It is no doubt that you can build things but to ship faster and POC that idea, kickstart and validate your experiments without a single line of code
At the first few months in 1Export we used Webflow so we can create and change our landing page faster because back then our developers where not as fluent to css.We used webflow to augment the frontend development to it and in parallel code other backend features.
Google Forms are a classic startup way to validate and filter your audience. Again, you can still see Grab use this to evaluate their ideas if its a go or a no-go. Gives you the ability to fail fast and cheap.
Join the No-code PH facebook community and Webflow PH.