by • November 24, 2011 • UncategorizedComments (2)175

Obvious first steps and first-step-blindness

If you are starting a business for local merchants, and you live in a city, and you haven’t talked to lots of them, then you are blowing my mind.

It’s difficult to take anything else about the business seriously because there’s a clear first step that hasn’t yet been attempted.

Walk down the high street during the quiet afternoon hours and go into every venue that matches your customer segment.

Imagine if we were meeting in a cafe, and I’m skeptically arguing with part of your local-cafe-tech business model, and you say: “Great question, I was just asking Susan about this and she says…”

That would be amazing! Which is a bit crazy, because it is so basic. It’s an obvious first step.

If you’ve got a new advertising offering and can’t tell me basic comparison stats like CPM and engagement rates, then you need to stop pitching and make a fake campaign hooking into an affiliate offer and measure the performance. Optimise it. Improve it. Establish best practices.

Now you’re equipped.

You’ve completed the obvious first step. You are able to effectively pitch and to ask for meaningful help.

For a lot of businesses, the obvious first step is customer & user conversations. For others, it’s a concierge MVP. Or it might be compelling examples. Check out how awesome this 360° iphone camera can be. I want one! But I didn’t want one when I had only been told about it — it took the interactive video of a crowd of happy people for it to click.

The obvious first step was to show how it can get people excited. And that’s because the obvious first question is: “Why would I bother using this instead of my normal camera?” Putting up a couple technical examples wouldn’t do the trick — the crowd of laughing faces does.

Obvious first steps are cheap and immediate. Failing to resolve them makes whoever you’re talking to incredibly skeptical. I mean, why haven’t you just done that thing already? There’s nothing stopping you, except doing a little work or talking to a few people about your idea. And if you won’t do anything, then the startup is sunk anyway.

So anyway.

Are you suffering from first-step blindness?

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2 Responses to Obvious first steps and first-step-blindness

  1. DoStartup says:

    This post makes a lot of sense. It is so easy to feel lazy about doing this easy but incredibly powerful first step. There is definitely a lot of sense in doing the ground work by talking to people who are already in the industry/business. And to that last question, many may not confess but most start up guys suffer from first-step blindness.

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