You can’t find a roadmap to entrepreneurship, but you can learn a lot from the smartest CEOs and entrepreneurs. In this post, we are going to share a few golden nuggets of advice and lessons from Jay Weeldreyer, founder and CEO of Inquiry Mode. He is also the founder Coach at Techstars and a Mentor at the Startup Weekends. Jay is best described by his colleagues as a visionary and absolutely fun person to be with.
Jay started his first company along with his friends when he was a teenager. He build an Auto Detailing company and within the first three months, he generated a revenue of $50k, which I believe, is quite impressive! Jay recalls that the work atmosphere was so fun filled that it never felt like work for them.
One of the biggest challenge Jay faced in his startup was to build the culture of customer focus. Time and again, it was proved that building a customer-centric culture in the initial phase itself helps the company grow in long term. He took a step by step approach to achieve this and focused on bench-marking his own performance for improvement continually.
1.Start really small – It’s always better to start small and work your way through. This will also help in validating your ideas in the market before thinking about scaling up.
2.Pay attention and learn from patterns – There are lots of things happening in the industry and you need to pay close attention on how the market is evolving. Thus, you will be able to see patterns that can help your company.
3.External funds and managing risks – Rethink your need for external funds and don’t rely on it completely as far as possible. Try to keep the costs minimal as it will help mitigating the risk of failures.
4.Validate your ideas – You might have tons of ideas. Validate the market potential of your ideas, before pursuing any further. Before building a product, meet with potential customers and validate your idea. Talk about the concept and see if the customer buys into the concept. The next step would be to build a basic prototype and go back to the same customer with the prototype to collect their feedback. Start talking to other potential customers with the same prototype. Following this approach will give you the right direction for building a quality product gradually.
5.Sale strategies – Cold calling customers has higher conversion rates than cold emails. With the volume of emails a person receives on daily basis, it’s easy for the customers to just glance through it and not respond. If you can call your potential clients and leave them a short voicemail addressing their problem and how you can help them succeed, you will have a much higher chance of grabbing their attention.
Big thanks to Jay for taking the time to share his valuable thoughts and advice. And I hope some of the above lessons will inspire and guide you towards your entrepreneurship goals.
What has been your toughest business lesson learned? Tell us in the comments below.