Founder Development Program

Founder Development Program

What is Founder Development? And why do I need a program?

Here’s an outline of the program:

Month One – Ideation, Research, and Markets

What makes a good idea anyway? Passion is important but not sufficient if you’re looking to scale your idea into something that is fundable or can create a lifestyle to support you and your family. There is a lot you can learn about what makes both good and bad ideas – and don’t believe the quote, “Ideas don’t matter, only execution matters.” That implies that you have a good idea in the first place.

Research – How do you do research to see which companies have come before you, where have they had success and/or failure, and what you can learn from it?

How should you think about your target customer and target market? Is it big enough? How will you get to it and do you have the runway to make it successfully?

Note about fundraising. People think they want to raise VC, but only a small % actually do…

Month Two – Customer Development, Competitive and Awkward Co-Founder Discussions

Customer Development is the process of systematically interviewing potential customers for feedback that will inform your product priorities and decisions. When you complete this section, this will be a method you take forward and use in every idea and company that you launch. You will learn to be an expert in Customer Development.

How do you look at the competition – Bezos is right, you should focus on your customer first, and before you start your company you need to know what current features meet or exceed the market’s needs as well as the current pain your customer is feeling.

Awkward Co-Founder Discussions is the talk about commitment, equity and contribution of time and capital that you need to have before you incorporate. It will never get easier to have these discussions.

Month Three – Value Propositions, Testing your Hypothesis, Product Features, and Benefits

Now that you have some customer feedback, you should start to get your Value Propositions clearly laid out. What is the “lead of your story,” how do you tell your story and get “the first things” to be the first thing? For Starters, we tend to clutter up all of the current and potential value propositions in our head and it’s tough to be clear to our target customer – we’ll help with that process

Testing, testing, testing – it’s good that you have a hypothesis, but it’s just that until you have actual data. We’ll outline a process for you to test messaging, advertising and conversion ratios to get DATA to inform your theory.

It’s time to begin to identify the features and benefits of your product for both the Launch and the Scale of your startup. Scale and vision are great, but you have to survive long enough to get to scale. Narrowing your focus for launch is key – you only have so much in terms of resources, time, engineering, and capital. Remember, constraints are actually a good thing.

Month Four – Making Money, Revenue Models, Pricing and Product Market Fit

You have the cost to build your product, the cost of selling the product and a need to return a profit to you or your shareholders – many products can be made, but this helps answer the question “should I make it?”

There are 13 tech revenue models – this will confirm how you make money. We’ll outline them in order of difficulty. Your startup is unique, but your revenue model isn’t unique!

What is Product Market Fit and how do you know you have it? Product market fit is when you have mapped your minimum viable product to the customer needs that you have discovered and you have fulfilled that value promise.

Month Five – MVPs, Product Development & Specifications, Marketing 101

Minimum VIABLE Product or MVP has the emphasis on Viable not minimum! What are you required to ship to provide a useful solution to your customer? What one thing do you want to prove with your MVP? If the product was going to fail, why would it fail?

Product Development and Specifications are what’s required for an engineering team or offshore development company to build your MVP. This will include design. It may be as simple as a powerpoint deck that looks like a mobile app or website and it may be an enterprise software solution.

Marketing 101 – you need to start building a customer list and target customer(s) before you ship your product. This month you’ll nail down the basic tasks required even if you’ve never been schooled in the dark arts of marketing.

Month Six – LAUNCH, Revenue, Scaling Up or Turning Off

Product Launch represents the previous five months of work to get something in front of your customers. Based on the complexity of your product, this may be as simple version 1.0 of a more complex product offering. In any case, you’ll have a roadmap to launch and to follow based on customer feedback.

Revenue – will your customers pay for your product? What other key metrics should you be tracking? Don’t get lost in vanity metrics, there is a set of Key Metrics that matter for each of the revenue models. You’ll need to know how to get traffic to the site, registered users and people who will give you $$ for your product. These are the same metrics that investors will be asking you for when you ask for cash.

Scaling Up or Turning Off is the point of decision – should you pursue this idea and project, should you pivot in another direction with the same market or should you put this idea to rest and go after a new idea?