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Alice Nell
February 3, 2016

Startup Basics 101 with Yatan Blumenthal | Validating & Establishing Sales

The word is out! You might have heard it; in March starts a brand new accelerator at ours! Who, what, where? EY Start-­Up Challenge,​ in collaboration with b​etahausX.​ Great reason to ask our Chief Accelerator Yatan Blumenthal to write a series of blogs, and share some basic startup insights.

Phase #2: Validating & Establishing Sales

In phase 1 we went over the basic to dos to set up your company. So what happens after you’ve chosen your name and set up your business plan? You’re entering a painful but exciting phase of validating your product and getting sales established

You’ve entered the initial stage of any business. Welcome to the start­up phase. Take a seat, you might be here for a while.

 

The problem-­solution fit

The first thing you want, is to find out more about your customers’ problem. You have an idea that you believe solves a problem, so now you need to find the people facing that problem, and make sure to co-­create your product with them.​ Everything will be an experiment; you will hypothesize your product as a solution to the customers’ problem, and through continuously asking and testing, you’ll build a product that actually matters. Get out there, conduct customer development interviews, pick up your notebook, and start building prototypes ­ even if it’s just on paper.

 

“Everything will be an experiment; you will hypothesise your product as a solution to the customers’ problem, and through continuously asking and testing, you’ll build a product that actually matters”

 

Ask yourself how much money you need

Rule of thumb is: the less money you take from investors in the beginning, the better your terms will be when you enter the growth phase. So The Notorious B.I.G. was not far off when he said “mo’ money mo’ problems” ­ although in the startup world you might say “mo’ investors’ money mo investor problems. Evaluate how much money you need; shortlist investors; approach, pitch and pander, but raise only what you need.

 

“Evaluate how much money you need; shortlist investors; approach, pitch and pander, but raise only what you need.”

 

Get your sales system up to speed

Sales are a science in itself, and the best way to think about your research into the problem­solution fit is as a precursor to sales. To be effective in sales you have to develop a clear pitch, such as Founder Institute’s famous “1 sentence pitch” or “the 15 word pitch”.

Next up; make a 10-­slide pitch deck where you explain the problem your target market has, how you’re planning to solve it, and in line with this; specify on your product(s).

Make sure you can explain to people in two minutes tops, what it is your product does and why it is solving a real painpoint. Look up the term “sales funnel” and check out which tools will work best for you.

 

“develop a clear pitch, such as Founder Institute’s famous “1 sentence pitch” or “the 15 word pitch”

 

Go only as fast as you can learn

Test, iterate, test, iterate: ​L​og results from all your interviews, analyse and do learning sessions daily or weekly. The same goes for After Action Reviews. This is paramount to you losing as little time as possible in getting a kick-­ass product out there. Implement appropriate accounting systems and make sure to keep it simple; you don’t want to spend more time on this than you have to.

This second phase ​o​f validating & establishing sales will prove to be a make-­or­-break for your startup. Without it, you won’t have the knowledge nor mindset necessary to pivot quickly and adapt to the market. With it, you’ll have the pre-­requisites to develop something important and the leeway to get to the next level of growth. Enjoy the ride.

 

“Test, iterate, test, iterate: ​Log results from all your interviews, analyse and do learning sessions daily or weekly.”

 

Wanna learn more and get all right from the start? Applications for the ​EY Start­-Up Challenge are open until February 14th. Worried about travel expenses because you’re not in Berlin? Travel expenses up to €7.5 K are covered!

Find more insightful information here

In addition to the betahaus locations, we've formed a close relationship with some of the world's best coworking spaces. With your betahaus membership, you can work from any of our partner spaces for 1 day per month.

Coworking Spaces in Europe

Republikken // Copenhagen, Denmark // Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 København V, Denmark

Le Laptop // Paris, France // 6 Rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris, France

Le Laptop - Coworking Paris

utopic_US // Madrid, Spain // Calle de la Colegiata, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain

utopic_US - Coworking Madrid

Nest 71 // Saravejo, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Milana Preloga 12, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Nest 71 - Coworking Bosnia & Herzegovina

  

Toolbox // Milan, Italy // Via Agostino da Montefeltro, 2, 10134 Torino, Italy

Edspace // London, England // Block D, Hackney Community College, Falkirk St, London, UK

Bios // Athens, Greece // Pireos 84, Athina 104 35, Greece

 

CoWorx // Kristiansand, Norway // Markens Gate 8, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway

CRU – Loja / Cowork // Porto, Portugal // Rua do Rosário 211, 4050-524 Porto, Portugal

SPARK // Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Bleiburških žrtava, Mostar 88000, Bosnia & Herzegovina

StartUp Armenia Foundation // Yerevan, Armenia // 0019, 1 Marshal Baghramyan Ave, Yerevan 0019, Armenia

Tøyen Startup Village // Oslo, Norway // Hagegata 23, 0653 Oslo, Norway

Tøyen Startup Village - Coworking Oslo

Smart Coworking // Prague, Czech Republic // Václavské nám. 806/62, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia

Smart Coworking - Coworking Prague

Lighthouse // Tel Aviv, Israel // HaHaroshet 14-16 Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Isreal

Lighthouse - Coworking Tel Aviv

Coworking Spaces in North America

Fueled // New York City, USA // 11, 568 Broadway, FL 11, New York, NY 10012, United States **Maximum 3 Days

  

Capital Factory // Austin, USA // 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Público // Mexico City, Mexico // Puebla 403, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Coworking Spaces in South America

Area Tres // Buenos Aires, Argentina // El Salvador: El Salvador 5218, C1414BPV CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina // Soho: Malabia 1720, C1414DMJ CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Area Tres - Coworking Buenos Aires

 

HubBOG // Bogota, Colombia // Cl. 98 #18-71, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

HubBOG - Coworking Bogota

Coworking Spaces in Asia

CIT // Taipei, Taiwan // 10452, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 玉門街1號

CIT - Coworking Taipe

 

Of10 // Mumbai, India // Prudential, Ground Floor, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076, India

 

Kibar // Jakarta, Indonesia // Jl. Prof. Moh. Yamin No.1, RT.7/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310, Indonesia

Midori.so // Tokyo, Japan // Midori.so Nakameguro: 3 Chome-3-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 153-0042, Japan // Midori.so Nagatacho: 2 Chome-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0093 // Midori.so2: 3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan

Midori.so - Coworking Tokyo

Launchgarage Innovation Hub // Manila, Philippines // Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila, Philippines

Coworking Spaces in Australia

Independent Studios // Melbourne, Australia // 39/40 Porter St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia

Coworking Spaces in Africa

Urban Station EGYPT // Cairo, Egypt // 2 Wadi El Nil Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt

Urban Station EGYPT - Coworking Cairo

Nairobi Garage // Nairobi, Kenya // Nairobi Garage, The Mirage, Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi Garage - Coworking Nairobi

 

BONUS: Cowork & Relax at the Coliving Space, Coconat // Brandenburg, Germany // Klein Glien 25 14806 Bad Belzig, Germany // Get €10 off your stay

 

Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them. 

Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.

Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for  betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear. 

Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.



Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK


Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

Want to get in touch with Obst Digital? Come around betahaus | Neukölln and meet them here or send them an email to contact@obst.digital !

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