For parents, we are all familiar with this statement “It takes a village to raise a child”. I just had a thought the other day while having our weekly check-up meeting with Ideaspace (entity behind the acceleration program we are part of), that the same is true with businesses. We were talking about the value proposition of Taxumo (our startup). In the room, EJ (my husband and CEO), yours truly, Manny and Prim (mentors) and Dustin and Brenda (from Ideaspace) were all pitching ideas and sharing experiences to further solidify our VP, and it was nice to see that everyone was so involved! There was a moment when I stopped and looked at all of them, and thought it takes a village to raise a business, too!
For the longest time, I always thought that there wasn’t anything difficult about putting up a business. Once you overcome that fear and just start turning your concept into reality, it should be that easy. Basically, a business is just a great idea that we implement and that’s it. Making Manila Workshops successful even further strengthened my belief that it’s all about jumping and fast execution. Boy, was I wrong!
In the past year, I have grown leaps and bounds in terms of learning more about putting up a business, and this is because I was open to hearing from other people. There are a lot of things that I see and wished that I could have done better for Manila Workshops. The good thing though is that I could still adjust now and make everything better than how it was. And the other thing is that I could apply what I have learned with this new startup, Taxumo. To tell you honestly, I haven’t had this much clarity as to what I need to do with my business, and this clarity was because I never let anything pass me by (both good or negative inputs about the business).
But being open means also looking at the value of these things. As a startup founder, you need to decipher if these inputs are things that are valuable or things that are not. There are plethora of tools that were explained and given to me by mentors, by our classes,etc. and most of them are available online. These tools are mostly used for validating the need of the customer. The old me would have said, “Doesn’t this lead to analysis-paralysis?”, but since I have seen the value of this process and the value of each tool (from Business Canvas, to QFD, to the Kano model, to strat mapping and usability tests, etc.), I, together with the team, of course, go through each one. As a team, you should talk to each other and discuss what you think are the insights, tips and tools that would make sense for your business.
Being open to listen doesn’t really equate to action or reaction for most of us. For example, even if most of these are readily available online and even if we know that we need to talk to the customers, we are so preoccupied with the idea that our business idea is just so amazing that we think who would not want to purchase or use it? I have been a victim of this (lol!) — in a few business that I have started, which eventually failed. I learned my lesson the hard way, and by validating the need even before you launch it may be the wisest way to go, so that you don’t waste time and effort. You can not know your customer enough. Each day should be a day to look for new insights about the customer.
There is this article from Forbes Magazine that’s circulating the web and it’s the fact that only 10% of the startups make it. Sharing the article here: 90% Of Startups Fail: Here’s What You Need To Know About The 10% This is a very good read!
Just wanted to share my thoughts on this, so go and talk to people. See what they think about your product. You’ll learn a lot from talking to the “villagers”.