In this case, the pebble is learning and the grasshopper is you/me, the entrepreneur.
There is nothing more important to an early-stage company/entrepreneur than learning. Learning about the market, learning about the customer, and ultimately, learning about whether you have a problem worth solving. All before you build anything!
The key questions are: a) speed – can you learn quickly enough so you get to positive cash flow before you run out of money?, and b) focus – can you avoid all of those other things that look like opportunities but are really only distractions?
Here’s what we’ve learned in the last 30 days testing out Worksody.com:
Problem Hypothesis: (Restated) It’s difficult to become “investment pitch-ready” because it’s seemingly a Catch-22: you need capital and/or specific skills and access to customers to achieve the traction investors are looking for to even get in front of them.
Customer Segment 1: Early-stage entrepreneurs
Customer Segment 2: Early-stage investors
What we’ve learned so far:
- Investors are interested in quality deals / entrepreneurs but will not pay for the lead.
- The “waste” or inefficiency in the process today is a cost investors have already baked into their model.
- The lean startup/product development process is still relatively new to people, especially those outside of web app development and outside of lean “hotspots” like Austin.
- Coworking places like ours, Cospace, are also a relatively new concept but catching on quickly in the investment community (see Founderscoop.com).
- Most entrepreneurs have not planned their exit in any meaningful detail.
- Most entrepreneurs’ view of their prospective customer channels is limited due to time constraints and by the access afforded them from their business/social network.
- Leaders of larger small businesses (50-499 employees plus) also have a need to learn and solve problems but have the same time and access challenges facing entrepreneurs.
- A vast majority of early-stage investments happen outside of angel groups / angel networks (e.g. there is significant “quiet money” available).
What are we doing with this learning? We’re framing up a solution to test with problem interviewees and other select entrepreneurs and investors we are working with at Cospace and in our startups (GroupCharger and ShareOnce).
Expect another update in 30 days and please follow us on Twitter @Worksody, @KirtusDixon and @JamesWeddle.