Monday, March 28, 2022

Top startup mistakes part 2

Launch without a promotion budget

It would seem that this is obvious. Law of the film industry: half of the budget is allocated to the creation of the film, the rest - to promotion. The fees did not cover the creation and promotion - the film failed at the box office.

Gone are the 2010s when app stores promoted new products. As of July 2020, there were 4.37 million apps published on the Apple App Store. After publication, yours will be 4,370,001 and on the lowest shelf of the store. This is huge competition. And it needs the means to break through to the surface.

For any software product, be it a B2B service or a B2C application for a healthy lifestyle, you need a lot of expensive experiments with promotion channels, target audience, subscription costs, application screens.

Well, what to do, we all love a rake. In our case, the mistake was that we had a very modest budget for development. Therefore, 90% went to "shooting".

So, the product is there, there is no money for promotion. What to do? He comes to the rescue ... *drum roll *

Guerrilla Marketing!

The dream and sweet dream of any young app developer is organic from the App Store. We were lucky, I wrote to Apple, filled out an application on their website and they began to promote us as Favorite Apps of the Week.

It was like magic. I completely forgot about the application, woke up in the morning, went to App Store Connect, and we have hundreds of downloads in a couple of days! At the end of the month there were already several thousand. Together with Telegram and Litres we are in one collection. Miracle and more.

A month later, we were almost in the top 100 Health apps. If I had a fatter promotion budget left, we would be higher in keyword searches and, as a result, get more organic downloads and profits.

Allocate half of the budget for promotion. Throw out everything superfluous from the product and check everything that can be checked. The resulting data and growth will be more important to investors than the implemented features.

Okay, we've got the organics sorted out. But you won't get far with it. Most of the downloaders were students. Sales conversion is small. So it's time to launch Facebook! There is no money, but you hold on. Where to find an advertising budget when there is no budget?

Did I mention that I have a degree in Computer Science? Not? So, he is (cheers). And this means that I have many smart classmates and good comrades, whom the hardship has thrown to different parts of the planet. For example, Sasha, my classmate and part-time Software Engineer at Facebook in Seattle, USA. For this, he is given $250 free of charge for advertising campaigns for his friends. Thanks Sasha!

So, together with Tanya, the best digital marketer in the world (according to Igor Tsybin), we launched Facebook ads using Facebook money.

We are waiting, sir.

Top startup mistakes part 1

Startup in one

“One is not a warrior in the field,” my grandmother told me, but I did not believe her. How many dead nerve cells of entrepreneurs are in this saying.

The product must be made - Product Director, hire engineers - Technical Director, look for investments and clients - Operational, but a professional investor should give money: a studio, an accelerator, an angel, a fund.

Only in this case, everyone is minding their own business: the investor takes a risk, the COO burns out, and the CTO gets the hair that has fallen out.

Not all at once to one person!

A combination of three roles in a team is considered ideal. The so-called HHH:

  • Hacker (C.T.O.),
  • Hustler (CEO/COO),
  • Hipster (CPO/CMO)

Two founders is also great, it is already two more than one. Look for partners, then go to the field (make a product).

Starting with a non-target market

I communicate with entrepreneurs and, as it turned out, I'm not the only one. Perhaps you are now sitting and thinking: I will start with Russia, and then I will go, for example, to the United States. I have a lot of acquaintances in my homeland, an understandable market, language, cultural environment, now I will try out a business model, make a cool product, join YC and sell myself to Google for billions. No, it doesn't work that way, and if it does, it's extremely rare. In short, it didn't work for me.

If your target market is *slash* investors *slash* partners, for example, in the USA, then do traction right there. By the time you launch a product in Russia, try out the business model here, find Product Market Fit, you will run out of money. To enter another country, you will have to do 80% of what you have already done to the Russian market. The rules of the game can differ significantly from market to market.

But this is half the trouble. Now foreign investors really do not like to fit into startups that are sponsored somewhere in Russia. And they can be understood. Would you invest in any early stage Indian startup? I do not think.

To enter the markets of the USA, Great Britain, Europe, investments commensurate with these countries are needed. To raise them, you need a product that has already found its customers in these markets.

But if you, like me, made this mistake, there are foreign accelerators for us, as well as Russian-speaking angels / representatives of foreign funds. But, as you understand, the assessment of a startup with Russian metrics will be significantly lower than a startup with, for example, American ones.

It's better to make a crooked oblique product in the target market than a licked one on what's easier

At the moment, I have set the main goal of the business: to check sales in English-speaking countries: Great Britain, USA, Australia. Fortunately, our business model allows us to do this relatively quickly. At the same time, I applied for acceleration in these countries and wrote to a couple of angels on Linkedin.

We are waiting, sir.

Top startup mistakes part 2

Launch without a promotion budget It would seem that this is obvious. Law of the film industry: half of the budget is allocated to the creat...