Torsten Mueller is CMO and Co-Founder of Tame, a context search engine.
Prior to launching our product, we started with a closed beta, followed by a free beta. It went viral in the early adopter scene in Germany and we collected extensive feedback from a couple thousand users before fully launching.
It might sound trivial, but agreeing on common office hours and having the whole team work at the same place has been a productive plus for us from the first days on, even before the official founding. We also kick-off any workday with short standing meetings.
This was a lot of work, but: during the free beta period, we reached out to hundreds of potential customers and experts in our field directly with calls and emails written by the founders themselves. We provided a lot of individual support and learned from their feedback.
Make your pitch as short and concise as possible plus easy to understand. Especially investors have to remember you from the huge amount of startups they come across every day – and they won’t remember a complicated long sentence full of technical terms, I believe.
Since two of the Tame founders are journalists, we started a lot of PR activities to drive user growth.
We had to make some pretty tough decisions when cutting down our preliminary product vision into a minimum viable product that we could launch as soon as possible.
Be open for funding alternatives: public grants, crowdinvesting, stipends. It will help you to get your startup off the ground in early stage without losing too much or even any equity.
Focus and persistence. Focus as in building a minimum viable product and seconding a lot of other great ideas or other projects. Persistence as in not giving up in the middle of the way, even if you’re for example fighting a horde of bureaucrats to secure funding.
We’ve already changed the name of our company three times. The ultimate lesson is: communicating different names for the startup and the product causes a lot of brand confusion. Simple, not easily-misspelled names are helpful too.
Remember why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. Maybe thinking about your last job as an employee and your last boss works. If your idea didn’t convert into a successful business, change it, refine it, or team up with new people.