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So you’ve interviewed customers, run some experiments, and built an MVP. You launch the Minimum Viable Product to customers, and all you hear is the chirp of crickets. What do you do next? How do you decide whether to pivot or persevere?
About This Episode
In this episode, you’re going to hear a mentoring session between myself and Aaron Gopp, co-Founder and CEO of Patter. We will tackle pivoting as well as the development of a customer advisory board for your startup.
Patter is a software application that allows early-stage startups to build a brand that people love by focusing on culture and guiding them through the brand development, implementation, and management process.
This episode is filled with many actionable nuggets, and most prevalent are the principles of working through a pivot or persevere decision:
Focus on what’s working – When things are not going as you hope, it’s important to focus on what IS working. In this case, Aaron had four out of forty customers that did engage with the Patter platform. These four customers are likely to teach Aaron and the team something valuable that will help propel them forward.
Get more specific and narrow – Each time you are faced with a pivot / persevere decision you have an opportunity to get more specific. In this case, Patter doesn’t yet have any paying customers; which makes their next milestone to satisfy ONE customer.
Patter did a great job of getting more specific and narrowing in ono more mature startups.
Re-evaluate all activities – When you change the customer segment you’re focused on, everything else in your business model is impacted. As a result, you must re-evaluate all products, people and processes to ensure your startup is laser-focused on the newly hypothesized segment.
With these key principles, you can survive the startup “drunken walk” and find a scalable business model.
I’d love to hear from you — What pivot or persevere decisions have you had to navigate in your startup?
Connect with Aaron Gopp here:
This Mentor Me Live episode features Eric Bockman, founder of Auction Roo. He has an early-stage idea to transform how auction houses distribute merchandise to customers. Auction Roo does not currently have any paying customers, and Eric is looking for support in finding a business-minded co-founder and narrowing focus to get his first paying customer.
The key lessons for entrepreneurs here are:
- Self-awareness — Eric has a very strong awareness of his own strengths and weaknesses. As a result, is will shorten the amount of time it takes him to find a suitable co-founder. After you clearly understand yourself, the next step is to move toward ensuring you have a strong founding team. Entrepreneurship is a team-sport, please don’t try to ride this ride alone.
- Don’t worry about scalability of your idea until you have satisfied customers. In Auction Roo’s case, they don’t yet have any satisfied customers. As a result, their next milestone is to acquire one satisfied customer. It likely looks like one auction buyer that has successfully had a small number of deliveries using Auction Roo; a returning customer is likely to be satisfied. At this early stage, it’s too risky to send an email blast out to 14k auction buyers. This is risky to both Auction Roo and the auction house. Shrinking the size of the initial experiments down to 10-20 customers is probably more appropriate and will help the team move more rapidly.