In the first month
We started the company with a theory. Our theory could be communicated using boxes and arrows, but we didn’t have anything concrete to show people. There were just too many unknowns. We had to do some discovery before we could start building a valuable and saleable product.
At that point all we had were some high-level assumptions about the business:
- The market opportunity is in improving the conversion rate of social traffic on eCommerce sites
- Our target customers are retailers who sell products online
- The secret sauce, tech wise, is about machine learning and marketing automation
- Our business model is SaaS - we'll charge a monthly subscription fee for our software and services
My first tasks came from these initial assumptions:
- Quantify the market opportunity and define the problem facing our customers and our customer's customers
- Learn more about our target customer(s), then segment and prioritize who to talk to first
- Design a prototyped solution we could show and tell (to prospective investors and customers)
- Research the competitive landscape and show how and why we are uniquely positioned
In the first month, we built out our investor deck and started shopping it around Silicon Valley and San Francisco. In between the time spent on those early investor meetings, I created a list of customers to talk to (some of whom I'd already contacted), a guideline for customer interviews, and a product demo that I prototyped with mockups, user flows, and a made-up feature set. I also made a website and a short animated video to explain the business problem (as we saw it) and our approach to solving it.
By September, it was time to get out of the office, as they say, so Fraser and I booked a flight to Denver to attend our first eCommerce conference, Shop.org.