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The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

Updated 1 day ago

Rank #106 in Careers category

Business
Technology
Careers
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Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life.

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Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life.

iTunes Ratings

188 Ratings
Average Ratings
177
6
2
1
2

Fun and informative

By Lydander300 - Jun 05 2019
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Love the short bursts of great info and the transparency of the hosts. Would really be 5 stars, but I’m put off every time I hear the intro. Way too bro-y. Please consider recording something new.

Excellent and entertaining insight and truth

By ewewedd r55 - Jun 04 2019
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These guys offer unfiltered and entertaining truth and insights about pretty much any aspect of starting or running your own business. This podcast will add value whether you've been in business for years or only a few months. Listen to them, take notes, and take action. I've been listening to them for only a few months now and my only regret is not hearing about them before now.

iTunes Ratings

188 Ratings
Average Ratings
177
6
2
1
2

Fun and informative

By Lydander300 - Jun 05 2019
Read more
Love the short bursts of great info and the transparency of the hosts. Would really be 5 stars, but I’m put off every time I hear the intro. Way too bro-y. Please consider recording something new.

Excellent and entertaining insight and truth

By ewewedd r55 - Jun 04 2019
Read more
These guys offer unfiltered and entertaining truth and insights about pretty much any aspect of starting or running your own business. This podcast will add value whether you've been in business for years or only a few months. Listen to them, take notes, and take action. I've been listening to them for only a few months now and my only regret is not hearing about them before now.
Cover image of The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

Updated 1 day ago

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Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life.

Rank #1: 399: How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile?

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to create an ideal customer profile.

Creating an ideal customer profile for your business is super important. It can help you build a better product, market it better and ultimately help you serve your customers better. But how detailed should you be when creating one of these?

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what an ideal client profile is, why you should create one for your business, tips on how to create a good one and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:24 Why this topic was chosen.

01:18 what is an ideal customer profile?

01:58 The goal of identifying your ideal client.

02:58 If you should pick an ideal client.

04:36 How understanding your ideal client can help you serve them better.

05:10 How companies sometimes misuse this concept.

06:10 How companies can use a customer profile.

07:15 If you should ignore a customer that doesn’t fit your profile.

07:37 Tips to help you create an ideal client profile for your business.

3 Key Points:

Identify what segment of the market can get the most value out of your software.
The goal of identifying your ideal client is to help you do better marketing.
If you don’t know who your customer is, you won’t know what to build, sell or market.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we may or may not tell you to create an ideal customer profile or not to create an ideal customer profile, but-

[0:00:12]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, we don't know yet.

[0:00:14]

Steli Efti: But either way we are going to talk about the concept of an ICP, ideal customer profile. It's a very popular idea and it's one of those surprising topics that sometimes I can't believe that we haven't talked about something in almost 400 episodes. But we have not talked about this very specific topic, so I thought it would be fun to tackle this. Well, Hiten, maybe first we explain first to people what the concept is, like what is an ideal customer profile, why do companies do it? And then we might want to talk about why it's overused or misused and how we really feel about this topic in 2019.

[0:00:55]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, why don't you start. Why don't you define it, at least in the classic sense, because I think that will help.

[0:00:59]

Steli Efti: Yeah, so I think the broad idea is not that complicated. The broad idea is to ask yourself as a company ... There might be many, many different types of people or organizations that decided to purchase your software, but not all of them are created equal and I think the the idea with an ideal customer profile is to identify what type of customer, what segment of the market can get the most value out of our software? Who is the most ideal customer that exists out there, and what do they have in common? And the goal of defining and writing down an ideal customer profile is to help you do better marketing, do better segmentation, do better product development, because you're not taking on a broad group of people in terms of the feedback they give you, or a broad group of potential customers in terms of what channels would be most effective in terms of acquiring them. But you segment it down and you focus yourself and the entire company and team on the best 'customer,' the ideal 'customer.' You define it, you write it down so everybody in the company and the team understands it, and then you go after those customers above all others. Does that make sense? Is that a definition that you would agree with?

[0:02:23]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, I mean if you don't know who your customer is, you won't know what to build.

Mar 26 2019

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Rank #2: 385: Firing People Too Slow Will Kill Your Startup

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about holding on to people who aren’t working out too long.

One of the biggest mistakes founders make is holding on to a non-performing team member for too long. Doing so can be bad for the business, the team and for the non-performing team member as well. So it’s important to let people go if it’s not working out and do it at the right time.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why hanging on to a non-performing team member is a bad idea, when the right time is to let them go, consequences of hanging on to a non-performing team member and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:39 Why this topic was chosen.

02:36 What made Hiten tweet about this topic.

02:46 Why it’s bad to wait too long to let go of a team member.

03:04 How Hiten started the tweetstorm.

03:17 Consequences of hanging on to a non performing team member.

04:48 Why you should speak to team members about issues.

05:07 Why it’s bad for the non-performing team member.

06:34 About giving people second chances.

07:36 How to handle non-performing team members.

08:00 Why it’s important that the non-performing team members knows the situation.

3 Key Points:

Sometimes we keep hoping that someone who’s not working out is gonna work out
Your company sucks more for it.
If you’re basically talking shit about a team member and they’re not in the room, get them in the room.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about a tweetstorm that I did, I guess, right?

[0:00:10]

Steli Efti: Yes, yes, a tweetstorm that I think every entrepreneur, every founder should read, every person that works in a startup. I retweeted it telling everybody to fucking read it, but I'm like, not everybody's following us on Twitter. This is such an important topic, I thought we needed to touch on this on the podcast. It's the topic of one of the biggest mistakes companies make are holding on to people that aren't working out too long, which means you have made the determination or you're seeing that this person isn't working out. They're not successful within the company. They're not performing the way that you expected them to. The moment you realize that, you're not taking action instantly. You do what I would say almost every founder and every person that has hiring and firing power does. You postpone that. You try to rationalize things. You kick the can down the road, think, "Well, maybe if we give this one more month, maybe if I help them with more training, maybe I change my management style, maybe with this new campaign, it's a fresh start and they can show themselves now." Your just keep postponing, trying to rationalize, trying to give people more and more chances. Then once you make the decision, there's all kinds of other reasons for not firing them. "Oh, it's the Christmas season. It's New Years. We have this big project. This would be bad news and would be bad for morale." There's all these reasons why to keep postponing that. I just ran through a shit ton of them really quickly. Now I want to pass on the ball to you, Hiten, which is why is it so bad to do this? Why giving people a bit more chances is bad. Why maybe waiting for the perfect time to part ways or fire somebody is that bad. Why is postponing letting go of somebody that isn't' working out, why is that such a bad thing? What triggered you to even tweet about this in a little tweetstorm?

[0:02:19]

Hiten Shah: I don't know. I think it's just one of the things that people keep doing over, and over, and over, and over again. They keep basically hoping that someone who's not working out is going to work o...

Feb 05 2019

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Rank #3: 425: The Value of Overcommunicating

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the value of overcommunicating.

Communicating effectively in a startup is super important to the success of not just your startup, but also the businesses of those you serve. And it’s up to the leadership of a startup to communicate effectively.

In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you need to be incredibly disciplined about how you communicate, why overcommunication is usually the reason projects succeed, the most powerful thing about “beating the drum” and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:33 Why this topic was chosen.

01:10 Why you need to be incredibly disciplined about how you communicate.

01:59 Why overcommunication is usually the reason projects succeed.

03:13 Why you need to learn how to overcommunicate.

04:56 How Hiten writes more of his ideas down than share it with people.

06:37 How Hiten continues to beat the drum.

06:59 The most powerful thing about beating the drum.

07:40 An example of beating the drum.

08:33 Why you want to guide people to beat the right drum.

3 Key Points:

You need to be incredibly disciplined about how you communicate.Whenever I see someone managing a team or project properly, it usually means they are doing one thing very well - overcommunicatingWhen people overcommunicate in projects, those projects always do well.

[0:00:01]
Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.
[0:00:03]
Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.
[0:00:04]
Steli: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the value of over communicating or how to over communicate and why you want to do it all or maybe why you want to avoid it. So here's the setup for this topic, Hiten. So there's two sides to this, two reasons why I wanted to talk about this with you and why I felt this could be really valuable to our listeners. Number one, a lot of times when people ask me I get this question asked a lot, and I know you do too. Which is, how do you run a remote company? How do you run a fully distributed team? Isn't it really challenging? Is it possible to do it well? And one of the core things I hear myself talking about again and again and again and again, is that I'll say a lot of things that are important about running a distributed team or remote company with a great culture. But one of the things that I keep repeating when it comes to that is. You just need to be incredibly disciplined about how you communicate, you actually have to constantly over communicate, right? And I think that that's just a muscle that's good in any company, in any team. I don't think this is just for remote companies. But then remote company, you can't be lazy with it at all. You can't get away with anything. If there's any kind of lack of communication, things break down instantly. So I'm just keep repeating this theme a lot. And then the other thing that I notice is that there are people, whenever I see somebody do really well in managing a team or managing a project or championing something. It always goes back to them doing one thing particularly well, and that is that they over communicate. They state what needs to happen in a very clear way. They communicated in different channels and they keep repeating the message to keep everybody aligned and keep everybody on the same page as well as everybody remembering this thing that we're trying to accomplish, the deadline that we have, the date, the reason why we're doing things. And when people over communicate in projects, those projects always do well. They always do well. And whenever I see somebody managing a project, or a team, and I wonder well, I don't hear much, there's not much communication going on. They said big goals last quarter, but nobody ever repeated them. I don't even remember what they are anymore.

Jun 25 2019

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Rank #4: 406: Mistakes Startup Founders Make When Asking for Advice

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about mistakes people make when they ask for advice.

Asking for advice can be a tricky thing. Often times, when asking someone is struggling with something, that person might not know exactly how to ask for it. Other times, that person might not be seeking new ideas but is rather looking for validation or an affirmation of a choice they’ve already made.

In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about some common mistakes people make when they ask for advice, how to ask people the right questions, why you shouldn’t give unsolicited advice and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic

00:33 Why this topic was chosen.

01:43 The first mistake people make when asking for advice.

01:56 The second mistake people make when asking for advice.

03:48 Why you should always take negative advice gracefully.

05:16 Why observations from other people are really valuable.

06:14 How to ask people the right questions.

07:02 The importance of meditating on a piece of advice before acting on it.

07:43 Why you shouldn’t give unsolicited advice.

3 Key Points:

The first mistake you can make is not knowing that you should ask for advice.When you’re struggling with something, it’s really important to ask for help.Observations from other people are really valuable.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.
[0:00:03]
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Start Up Chat we're going to talk about mistakes when asking for advice and we're just going to do a relatively quick episode going back and forth. I think the first mistake I'm going to share is probably not obvious and that mistake is not knowing that you should ask for advice in the first place. Right? So we're assuming people are asking for advice. I think one that I'm bad at and you might be too I don't know, but I think we've talked about this in the past is that you just don't ask. I think it goes beyond just work or business. It's a life thing where like if you're dealing with something, there are people that will just talk to you. You know and go talk to them and ask. When you're struggling or suffering, even worse, it's really important to do that. It might even be people you don't even know that well. It doesn't really matter. It's not a humility, it's like the opposite of humility but there's like a vulnerability that we might not be willing to go to certain people or anybody when we have a problem. I would just say if you have a problem and you don't know anyone else to call, call the A team. I'm going to leave it at that 'cause I think that sums up one of them for me.
[0:01:25]
Steli Efti: All right, I love that. Yeah I didn't see that coming. I already was in that mind frame of people have already asked for advice so I love that. Two things that come to my mind instantly, one is making sure that when you ask for advice you ask from a place of curiosity instead of from a place of trying to confirm that your idea, your opinion is right. Not that it's bad if somebody confirms that the direction you are going towards is one they think as well is the right direction to take, but I always find that people make that mistake where sometimes they come into a conversation, they are seeking advice, but what they really seek is confirmation. All that we really want to hear is that they're right and what they're doing is correct. They're not there to truly here what this other person or this group of people has to say. So that closes you up to all the value you might be able to receive if you're totally open minded in that conversation so make sure when you ask for advice, you truly want to hear everything the other party has to say, even and especially if it contradicts what you think the right thing to do would be here, or the tendency,

Apr 19 2019

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Rank #5: 417: Building the Content Muscle

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about building your content muscle.

As founders, sometimes we want to create content, but we talk ourselves out of it. And this could be due to many reasons, and one of those is that we overthink it and strive for perfection in version 1, and then when you start doing it, it feels wrong and this takes all the sails out of your wind.

In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how to get comfortable at creating content, why you shouldn’t over think your content strategy, the importance of understanding that you might suck in the beginning and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic

00:28 Why this topic was chosen.

01:52 Why you shouldn’t over think your content strategy.

04:05 Why you should start with whatever comes easiest for you.

05:16 Why you should find the form factor that’s easy for you and start there.

05:50 The importance of understanding that you might suck in the beginning.

07:05 How consistency can help you be great at creating content.

07:56 How to get comfortable at creating content.

09:30 Why self-criticism can make you self conscious.

3 Key Points:

You’re over thinking it and trying to be to perfect at it.Whatever comes easiest for you, start there.You don’t have to be perfect when you get startYou can either progress, or you can look great. You can’t be both at the same time.

[0:00:01]
Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.
[0:00:03]
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.
[0:00:04]
Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we want to talk about building your content muscle. So, here's why I wanted to talk to you about this and why I wanted to share it with The Startup Chat Nation and the listeners, I've had this experience many, many times but it's happened again more recently where a good friend of mine who is charismatic as hell, very wise, smart person, big heart, lots of unique and interesting experiences as an entrepreneur, has done super small bootstrap things, has done big venture funded things, has failed, has succeeded, but is just overall a beautiful human being with lots and lots of funky experiences and lots of life energy to him. He has been having the desire and has been communicating the desire to create content, start creating more content probably for the last year to me. And he has been somebody that I've heavily encouraged and I know we have a lot of common friends and a lot of people encourage him heavily to create content because he's such an entertaining storyteller. He's such a great personality. And so he's been talking about starting doing content for a long time, but he has been struggling in really getting into a groove, and the struggle is always the same. I'm sure this is the same for you, but and maybe there's some listeners out there, I'm pretty sure there are, that have been thinking about starting a podcast or YouTube channel or blog more or just tweet more, whatever the hell it is, and have not been finding success with it or getting really into it. I always find it happens for the same reason which is you're overthinking it and you're trying to be too perfect. In version one, hence, where you're never really getting into it and when you start doing it, it always feels wrong because you're not as great at it as you think you should, which then takes all the wind out of your sails, all the momentum out of the whole thing. He is a perfect example because he's such a charismatic storyteller, but the moment he puts, the few times I was traveling with him through Thailand, we were doing Muay Thai Camps and training together, with [Ramine] together. Big shout out to Ramine who is a big part of this podcast and behind the scenes. And so we're nagging him on to start recording and not overthinking, and you could tell the moment he would click on record on his l...

May 29 2019

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Rank #6: 188: How to Create a Killer Pitch Deck

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In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the bones of what makes a great pitch deck and how to use it to wow possible investors. Steli and Hiten give you tips based on real life stories and pitches that got their attention. Tune in to find out the importance of knowing and communicating your “WHY”, turning your pitch deck into a story, and how you can connect with your audience. Hiten also gives the inside scoop about his new pitch deck product to listeners for the FIRST time—this will definitely help you with your next pitch.
Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:05 – Today’s episode is about creating a killer pitch deck
00:41 – Steli spills that Hiten is launching a pitch deck product very soon

01:25 – People send pitch decks to Steli to be critiqued
01:53 – Where should people start?
02:22 – Pitch decks are the new business plan
03:10 – The common method today is creating and using a pitch deck so that you can raise money through angel investors
03:53 – Those who join Y Combinator already have a product to talk about
04:15 – There are still traditional people who do not understand how to get money without a business plan
04:47 – The biggest mistake people make is making the numbers up
05:01 – A pitch deck is a story of what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you’ll be doing in the future
05:17 – Investors are investing in the future
05:48 – The data and numbers should be used to support your story
06:14 – Investors need to buy into the storyline and be able to see that it has value in the future
06:55 – Tell a compelling story and stimulate the imagination and fantasy of the audience
07:25 – Hiten has worked with a lot of people in making pitch decks and storytelling
08:16 – Steli asks Hiten how useful is it when adversity is included in the storytelling

09:18 – Hiten says investors just want to invest in a great business
09:33 – Your whole pitch and whole story should show how great your business is
10:00 – Hiten talks about Close.Io—how it addresses the needs of people and how it has a compelling pitch
11:22 – Steli’s Close.Io story is awesome because he made it happen

12:20 – The investors do not care so much about the details, they care about the essence and how true it is
13:13 – Steli is surprised by how people have difficulty finding what is compelling about their story
13:26 – Steli shares a story about a meeting he had with a startup company
14:20 – There was a lot of traction in the company, but the guy he was speaking to had a  backstory that was even more interesting

14:34 – The guy had an older sister who was an overachiever whereas he did not get into a great school and wasn’t offer the same opportunities for work
14:51 – The guy had to work hard to get a job in finance and this backstory explained his overall business concept

15:33 – The WHY connects with many people
16:09 – Steli advised the guy to tell the story about his sister, instead of just saying it as a side comment
16:41 – The amount of businesses that start every year are increasing and investors are seeing a LOT; they are also able to discern what idea/company is good
17:06 – The investors need something they can remember you by
17:44 – If this guy starts with the story of his sister, he will get passionate about the rest of the pitch
18:25 – Start your story with your WHY
18:41 – To learn more about storytelling, listen to Episode 60
18:52 – Steli and Hiten’s entrepreneurial stories are found in Episode 15
19:30 – Pitch decks from Google search are already old
20:07 – Hiten shares for the first time the name of the pitch deck product and it is Dogo
20:33 – If the site is not live yet, email Hiten and he will give you access

Mar 14 2017

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Rank #7: 398: How to Use Documentation to Get the Right Things Done in a Remote Business

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to use documentation to get the right things done in a remote business.

For your startup to run smoothly with no hiccups, it is crucial to document all your processes and have them followed by your team members. The importance of documentation is even more crucial in fully remote companies, as a lot can go wrong when everyone is not physically present.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on why documentation of your process is super important, best practices and things to avoid when running a remote business and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About the topic of today’s episode

00:35 Why this topic was chosen.

01:26 What inspired Steli to come up with this topic.

02:24 Best practices and things to avoid when running a remote business.

03:22 How FYI is solving a huge problem for remote companies

03:36 Why becoming disciplined in your writing efforts is a good idea.

05:50 How companies sometimes make the mistakes of coming up with different versions of the same document.

07:54 The importance of having rules in your organization.

08:36 Why you should make your rules simple to follow.

10:14 The importance of having a philosophy in your business.

3 Key Points:

It’s very rarely the tool, but the humans and how they use those tools.
The more complex the rules are, the less likely people are going to follow them
In a remote company, you need to get really good at documentation.

[0:00:00]

Steli: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to manage process and documentation at a remote team inspired by the FYI twitter account 'cause that's what Steli said this is about.

[0:00:18]

Steli: Yeah.

[0:00:19]

Hiten: Which is one of my businesses. And the twitter account is @usefyi in case you want to follow along. And what we've been doing is we've been talking a lot about documents, document tools as well as productivity. And then I think one of people's favorite topics today which is remote work and how to do it well. So I think Steli and I have a lot of thoughts on this considering our businesses are remote as well as we have faced a lot of these kind of challenges in the past with doing this right, doing this wrong etc. So what's on your mind? What inspired you? I know what inspired you which was our Twitter account and all the sharing we've been doing. We're committed to sharing more and more now. But what really is on your mind about this that you think people need to hear?

[0:01:08]

Steli: Yeah, I get asked often, "What tools do I use? What tools does my team use to be productive and aligned as a fully remote company, fully distributed company?" And I often find myself going back to some of the basic principles that we share so often Hiten which are that yes, I have some tools I use, and I have tools that I can recommend, but it's very rarely the tools, right? It's always the humans and how they use those tools that really make a difference. And so I oftentimes find myself just sharing with people certain principles on how we communicate as a remote company and how we think about certain things. Now, one of the biggest problems that ... So I thought it will be fun for us to go back and forth, ping pong a little bit on this episode and just share some best practices or mistakes to avoid for people that are thinking about organizing and managing their remote company especially from a point of view in terms of how do we organize our different projects? How do we organize our work? How do we share information online? And since I've been following the FYI twitter account, you guys post all this kind of super neat insights in document sharing software and what comp...

Mar 22 2019

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Rank #8: 268: Encore Episode – How to Get Your First 10 Customers

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Today Steli and Hiten talk about how to get those first few customers when your business is just getting off the ground.  The key to that initial traction is to connect with potential customers as soon as possible.

Hiten’s first course of action is to set up a landing page that allows you to collect email addresses.  There are a bunch of tools out there that allow you to do this well.  Pick the one that’s easiest for you to set up today and start getting those email addresses.

If you don’t already have an audience or traffic to the site, start blogging about what you’re doing.  Driving traffic to the site this way is a great way to start getting interest in your project.

Steli used a tactic that is actually one of Hiten’s favorite approaches:  doing consulting around the problem you’re trying to solve, then build tools to solve the problem that your consulting did initially.  In Elastic Sales Steli’s team they validated the concept of on demand sales teams, and within two weeks they had a pipeline 7 potential customers, and 2 that were actually paying.  Check out the script for Steli’s initial cold call.

The reason this was successful is that Steli was able to leverage his unique advantage.  Whether it’s sales, content marketing, or some other specific consulting knowledge, use your Authentic Competitive Advantage as the way you can overcome objections in sales situations.

Stop the recording right now:  Write down what your Authentic Competitive Advantage is and how it can help you get your first few customers.  If you need help figuring this out, send Steli and Hiten an email.

When you get that Authentic Competitive Advantage down, start doing customer development to better understand what the problem really is.  Don’t lead people down a specific path with this and let them freely tell you what their problem is.  Then you’ll need to figure out how to best solve that problem.

Next step is to get people to actually pay you money.  How much to charge?  Steli says charge 3x what your initial instinct tells you.  Get paid what you’re worth.  Offering lifetimes discounts for initial customers is a great way to get people on the line early.  What you charge can easily be changed later.  This is just an indication that the problem you’re solving is actually one that people are willing to pay for.

Today’s Tips:

Steli: In the next 24 hours, ask 10 people to be your customer.  Doing this will get you over the mental hurdle of asking people for their business.

Hiten: Stop thinking about how to do this and go do it.  Take action today and start trying to get customers.

Join our Facebook group to be able to talk with each other.  This is an exclusive group for our listeners and a place to build a community around.

As always, you can hit us up on Twitter @Steli or @hnshah, #thestartupchat. Let us know where you get your motivation.

The post 268: Encore Episode – How to Get Your First 10 Customers appeared first on The Startup Chat with Steli & Hiten.

Dec 22 2017

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Rank #9: 426: How to Create a Successful Pilot Program for Your Startup

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to create a successful pilot program for your startup.

In the startup world, running a pilot program for your startup is a great way to fine-tune your solution and get in some early customers. Sadly, many pilots end up failing due to mistakes made during them, and this is something that Steli and Hiten explore in this episode.  

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to do pilot programs correctly, why you need to be clear about KPIs, why you need to be as hands-on as possible during the pilot and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:46 Why this topic was chosen.

02:36 Why you need to be clear about KPIs.

04:46 Why clarity is super important.

04:16 Why you need to be as hands-on as possible during the pilot.

05:13 How you need to babysit the pilot.

06:36 How to get more advice about your pilot.

06:41 How to handle contracts and timelines.

06:50 Why want to learn from your customers past.

06:33 A question you can ask your customer during a pilot.

3 Key Points:

Find out from your customer what you’d need to do to get them to purchase your product.You need to babysit the pilot.You wanna learn from your customer’s past.

[0:00:01]
Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti
[0:00:04]
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today we're going to talk about sales but what we're going to talk about sales is how to do pilots correctly so that they lead to successful outcomes and basically close deals.
[0:00:19]
Steli Efti: Yeah, this is one of the biggest heartbreakers. Whenever I talk to startups that have A, pilot or multiple pilots going on usually with either larger customers or maybe if it's very early in their development phase where the product maybe doesn't work yet or is very rudimentary. Startups like to do pilots, right? It's these agreed upon times where a potential customer in a startup will come together and they'll agree that they're going to run a certain amount of tests. They're going to try to use the product or implement it or integrate it and if it goes well the idea is at the end of pilot, once we've tested this out, we would buy. The company would become a customer. The heartbreaker is that a lot, the vast majority of the time, especially startups that are not super experienced in sales, they'll put these pilots together in a way that's destined to fail and they will work so hard and have such high hopes. Then at the end of a one month or three month period when they were hell bent on needing this pilot to turn into a successful customer relationship, it doesn't, right, and it doesn't just crush the morale. It doesn't just deplete the funds and the money but it's also wasting the biggest resource the startups have which is time. So let's unpack a little bit of the mistakes that startups do, how to do avoid them and how to do this well in order to save some people a lot of trouble and a lot of wasted time.
[0:01:49]
Hiten Shah: Yeah, pilots are so key, especially to get the kind of deals that you're looking for. They also help companies get really comfortable with your product and your technology and help you actually sort out how to make something that actually provides something that they actually need and want and help them get ramped up on something. I'm going to let you lead the way because I'm sure you have more tips than I do on this.
[0:02:12]
Steli Efti: I have a million of them. All right.
[0:02:13]
Hiten Shah: Go for it.
[0:02:15]
Steli Efti: After all, a few simple things and I know you'll pepper and salt it with your wisdom around it. One of the most important things when you set up a pilot is to create clarity on what the key KPIs are that will indicate that this is going well.

Jun 28 2019

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Rank #10: 203: Productivity Tips for Remote Workers

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In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to be productive when you are working on a remote team. Steli and Hiten share their thoughts about the importance of discipline and motivation for individuals working in remote teams as well as the importance of building a positive company culture. They also tackle the systems that need to be improved to make remote work more efficient and the future potential of companies opting in for the remote work environment in the future.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:05 – Today’s episode is about how to be productive when you are working on a remote team

00:42 – Episode 92 was about how to build your remote team
00:53 – Today’s episode is about the individual remote worker

01:44 – Steli asks Hiten, what are the best practices you’ve seen with remote teams?

02:25 – In a physical office, there is a lot of structure and this can lead to productivity
02:56 – Those working remotely have more choices and there is no norm you have to follow
03:44 – Remote workers need more discipline to put in the time to work
04:07 – Remote workers also need to stay motivated

04:20 – Steli shares a quote: “People would never associate discipline with freedom, but the only way to freedom is discipline”

05:11 – Without discipline, you won’t be able to do the things that you want to do in life
05:52 – The immense freedom that comes with remote work can only be done through exercising discipline   

06:10 – Hiten says discipline and motivation go together

06:48 – If you can’t manage your own time by yourself, working in a remote team is impossible

07:18 – If you want to learn how to manage your time, do a timebox, plan it into your calendar and create your own structure

08:07 – Use alarms or write a to-do list early in the morning
09:24 – The list can also help you become more productive

09:34 – Interaction is not the same with remote and office teams

10:37 – There are people who might feel down without the human interaction at work
11:12 – As a company, you have to create your own culture
11:39 – Over time, a collective personality will develop
11:55 – It is not just about the individual, but the whole company
12:36 – The secret that will help you feel included is the company personality
13:10 – There is a joy in not needing to be physically present with somebody to create a connection

13:29 – “If you had to write down the personality of the company, what would it be?”
14:37 – Steli asks Hiten if companies have gotten better at remote work and fostering a great remote, work environment

15:28 – Hiten says it is still too early to say as it was only a year ago that tools were created specifically for remote teams
16:23 – Zoom is a good example of a tool for video conferencing that is used by remote teams
17:44 – The systems of work teams are still inefficient
18:38 – There is huge growth in people choosing to work as freelancers and having side gigs
18:48 – At some point, companies will begin as a remote team
19:41 – Remote work is still NOT being done well even though there have been improvements, but the research and psychology regarding remote work is still lacking
20:19 – Hiten has an engineer that he has been working with for 12 years that he has only met 10 times in person

21:27 – How does office politics work in remote teams?

22:53 – Hiten says office politics are reduced in a remote environment
23:26 – With remote teams, you are always guessing if someone is doing well or not
23:52 – Listening and talking with each other is different than typing conversations
24:40 – We should pay attention to people, especially those in remote teams
25:10 – Rumors can still spread on remote teams

May 05 2017

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Rank #11: 282: The Most Common Product Mistakes Startups Make

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In this episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the most common product mistakes startups make when developing new products.

Tons of new products are being developed all the time. While some products may end up being great, it’s inevitable that bad ones will get developed. What may seem like a brilliant idea on paper, often turns out to be a terrible idea when introduced in the real world.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about some common mistakes they see that can kill a product, the best way to avoid them and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 - About today’s topic

00:55 - Why this topic was chosen

01:34 - Hiten gives a background about a blog post he made on the subject.

03:13 - Hiten talks about the first mistake he and his team made when they developed a product that failed.

04:20 - Hiten talks about the second mistake made in developing that product.

05:13 - The third mistake that was made in developing that product.

07:56 - Steli highlights a mistakes he’s made in developing a product.

12:15 - Hiten talks about his biggest challenge in developing a product.

13:33 - Things Steli is looking to change this year in how they develop new products.

14:18 - 4 main mistakes startups make when developing new products.

Quotes:

Developing a product is actually very challenging today.
When developing a product, make sure to do user research.
Do competitor research when developing a product.

[0:00:01]

Steli: Hey, this Steli.

[0:00:03]

Hiten: This is Hiten, and today on the startup chat, what are we gonna talk about today, Steli? This was your choice.

[0:00:08]

Steli: This was my choice, yes. (chuckles) We're gonna talk about the most common product mistakes people make, startups make, and even some fucking mistakes that you made last year when it comes to building products, which you only did five of, right? So this is based on a talk that you and Marie gave at SaaSFest a few weeks ago, but also based on the I think most recent product habits e-mail. Again, quick shout-out for those that are listening to the podcast. Probably everybody has already subscribed, but for the new listeners, if you're not on the e-mail list, make sure to go to producthabits.com and get on the e-mail list. Some of the most valuable stuff on the interwebs, and definitely one of my favorite e-mails I get from Heton. So the last e-mail two days was kind of an e-mail where you write in detail, in depth about the most common product mistakes you've observed other people make and other startups make. Those are some of those that you made, and I thought, "We should talk about this, because it's gonna be super valuable to people," so yeah, that's what we're talking about.

[0:01:18]

Hiten: Yeah, I'll give the background. We know everyone builds products, you know? Even if you're not on a product team, we just know that, like, whether it's software, hardware, even if you're a services business, we consider you someone who builds product, and we consider the service a product. So what Marie and did was we got really excited this year as the year started to actually ask people on our list what their biggest product mistake was. And so we asked that question last week on Monday, and then -- was that last week? No, it was this week. Holy crap.

[0:01:56]

Steli: (laughs)

[0:01:56]

Hiten: So we asked that question this on Monday, and we got a whole bunch of responses. They came in super fast, and people were telling us their stories -- very elaborate stories, some of them -- about the mistakes that they made 'cause we asked them to. And we said we'd share them. We even said, you know, we might use your name, if you want us to or not, let us know. We ended up not using anyone's name,

Feb 09 2018

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Rank #12: 444: How to Increase Your Productivity

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to increase your productivity.

If there's one thing founders struggle with a lot, it's being productive. With all the distractions of social media, mobile gaming, and the internet, in general, staying productive at work can be a challenge, and this can have a negative impact on your startup.

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what it means to be productive, how to define productivity for the role you’re in, tips for being more productive. and much more. 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:35 Why this topic was chosen.

01:50 How being productive makes Steli happy.

03:42 Why it’s a good idea to consciously review your day, week or month.

04:10 What some of Hiten’s most productive days look like.

05:00 How to define productivity for the role you’re in.

05:35 Why Hiten works a lot on weekends.

06:01 The different angles to productivity.

06:37 Tips for being more productive.

07:14 How to measure productivity as a manager.

3 Key Points:

Productivity is a human desire.The feeling of productivity is really high up on the list of things that make me happy.Some of my most productive days are the most random days ever.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti`.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to increase your productivity and there's a really good reason we're talking about this. We've been wanting to talk about this. We know that this is something that is on most of your minds, whether you're working in a company or working on your own company or in a really large company of some kind. It doesn't matter. Productivity is something that's almost like a human desire, especially at work.

[0:00:34]

Steli Efti: Okay?

[0:00:34]

Hiten Shah: That's where I'll start. I'm like, hey Steli, I think it's a human desire.

[0:00:37]

Steli Efti: That is not what I thought you would say. So like my mind was wandering off in a specific direction and you took a left turn while I was still going straight and eventually I was like, where is he? He must have taken a left turn. I kind of lost it over there.

[0:00:55]

Hiten Shah: There we go.

[0:00:57]

Steli Efti: What did you say? Human desire?

[0:00:59]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, we want to achieve. We want to be productive. We want to get stuff done. I also want to be happy. Don't get me wrong.

[0:01:07]

Steli Efti: No, but you know what I mean. I fucking love this because that is actually one of the, I'm sure it's the same with you. I'm sure it's the same with most people that listen to us. If I have to identify a very big contributor to either my happiness or my lack of happiness. Productivity, the feeling of productivity is really high up the list. So even when everything is going well, like I could have a great day with lots or a week where lots of good things happen, where there's a lot of reasons to be happy. But if I personally didn't feel productive that week, I guarantee you I'll be unhappy. It's feeling productive is kind of a crucial, fundamental thing I need to be feeling kind of good in my own skin, right? To feel comfortable, feel it.

[0:02:03]

Hiten Shah: When you reviewed, you actually think of it like that?

[0:02:06]

Steli Efti: Yeah. But you know what it is? The crazy thing is it is not a mental thing. It's not a, wow, I had so much fun this week. Everything went well. Let me review the week. Let me think, what is everything that happened then? Shit, I wasn't as productive. God and then I start mentally making myself feel bad about it. It is literally like not showering the entire week, right? If you told me we're going to have an amazing week.

Aug 30 2019

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Rank #13: 281: How to Use Process to Grow Your Startup

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why startups are allergic to processes and what they can do about it.

A lot of startups have “process allergies” and this can be a hindrance to growth. The thought of building and setting up business  processes also adds pressure on founders. However, what they don’t realize is that every business activity is done through a process.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about “process allergy”, what it is, why most startups have it, and what founders can do to eliminate it. Listen until the end and get a chance to win a surprise from The Startup Chat!
Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:28 – The reason we’re talking about today’s topic.
01:01 – What “process allergy” is and why startups have it.
02:23 – Hiten talks about what inexperience leads to.
03:07 – The general mantra processes.
03:59 – What a process really is.
05:17 – Why realizing you have a process is a powerful thing.
07:21 – The worst thing about creating processes.
08:54 – Hiten’s suggestion on how to develop processes.
11:17 – Steli talks about how to eliminate “processes allergies”.
15:26 – Steli suggests using Process Street and Asana

Quotes:

Every business has a process even if you don’t think you do.
Repetition doesn’t happen without process.
The way you do things is your process.

We want to help you become more process oriented. For the first five listeners who reach out to Steli by email at Steli@close.io we will pay for a business pro plan upgrade at Process St.

[0:00:00]

Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah . And today on the startup chat, we're going to talk about why startups are allergic to process and what you can do about it.

[0:00:12]

Steli: So the reason why I wanted to talk to you about this today is just in a recent episode, you dropped a Hiten bomb, which was saying that lots of startups has process allergy. They're allergic to process. And that can be a hindrance to growth. So I made a mental note when you said that to come back to this. And to talk about it a little bit further in detail. So let's start off the episode with the open ended question. We'll go deep and deep in detail. What do you mean by process allergy? And why do you think startups have it?

[0:00:50]

Hiten: Startups are usually started by inexperienced business people. And I don't mean because of age, I just mean in general. It's inexperienced business people. Maybe people that worked at companies cool, but they're just inexperienced at starting a business. They're inexperienced at thinking through team and structure and even things like how do you grow a business? What are the most important things to do? Even things like how do you raise money? Usually these startups, especially on the tech side are started by people who can build things. And so a lot of times, what I see ... And this has been getting better over the years but is that people just get into it accidentally. And they just do whatever they can to get shit done. And so that's the hustle mentality, the get shit done mentality. And at some point, whatever they're doing starts breaking. And what I mean by breaking is, you have process whether you think you do or not. And that's the key statement I would make, which is if you're getting anything done, you're building product, you're getting customers, you're hiring, there's a process to it. You're just not conscious to it if you think you don't have it. And you probably haven't written it down. And you don't follow the same process necessarily every time. So a lot of times I think what happens is, inexperience leads to this idea that I have, that process is not something startups have. They don't, and it's because they're moving so fast,

Feb 06 2018

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Rank #14: 388: How Do You Define Your Identity

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to define your identity.

Trying to define who you truly are is one of life’s biggest struggles. Often, when we define ourselves, we tend to focus on the negative aspects of our identity or how we compare to other people around us.

In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how to define yourself, why Hiten tweet about this topic in the first place, they share some tips that can help you define yourself and much more.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:27 About today’s topic

00:37 Why this topic was chosen.

01:26 What made Hiten tweet about this topic in the first place.

02:45 Things that shape your identity.

04:05 Why a lot of our titles are mostly just labels.

04:45 How to define yourself.

05:50 A core part of Steli’s identity.

06:53 How Hiten defines his identity.

08:15 How social media makes defining your identity much more difficult.

3 Key Points:

Don’t try to find yourself, just define your self.
There are certain parts of who I am and how I live my life that are core to me.
The core part of my identity is that I am somebody that loves to teach.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to define your identity. Oh man. Identity, what's that? Who are you? Stel who are you?

[0:00:13]

Steli Efti: Well, who the fuck are you? That's a good question. It's not easy to answer. I don't know. It depends. It depends on who I'm talking to, right?

[0:00:22]

Hiten Shah: Oh man, you opened a can of worms.

[0:00:26]

Steli Efti: Well, you tweeted about this, so it's your fault, right?

[0:00:30]

Hiten Shah: Crap, I opened a can of worms. And you just opened, you just put another one next to it and said, "Let's open this one too."

[0:00:36]

Steli Efti: Of course. You tweeted how do you find your identity? And I observed that tweet for a little while and there were all kinds of interesting replies to that. And then I was like, all right, I need to double click on this and we need to go deeper and figure out why did you think about tweeting it? What did you learn from the responses? And what is our answer to this fucking question? Which is obviously a big, can be as big and ambiguous and philosophical as we want it to be or more practical. And I don't know where we're going to go with this. So let's rock and roll, but what made you tweet this in the first place?

[0:01:08]

Hiten Shah: I like really hard questions. This is a hard question. What defines you? How do you define your identity? Who are you? What are you? And is it defined by the people in your life or is it defined by you and what you feel about yourself? Or is it different in every moment? So who do your kids think you are? A father, right? I mean that's the construct they have.

[0:01:42]

Steli Efti: Yeah.

[0:01:43]

Hiten Shah: Right? You're my father, okay. Now, when I think about that, I'm like, "Okay, well how do I identify with my father?" He's my father, but I am his son. And what's the difference between those two? That kind of philosophical question gets really interesting when you think about your relationships and how you're identifying yourself in them and how the other person's identifying you in them. And what dynamic does that create? So that's one aspect of it. Another one is just much simpler, which is who am I and what do I want to be? What do I want to put out in the world? How do I want to carry myself? I mean, all these things shape your identity. Even the most fantastic thing. And I'm going into, I'm basically dropping a bunch of nuggets for you j...

Feb 15 2019

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Rank #15: 204: How to Cultivate a Bias Towards Action

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Do you ever feel that things aren’t moving forward or aren’t moving fast enough? If so, this episode is for you. In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to cultivate a bias towards ACTION. Accomplishing your tasks and learning how to take better and faster action starts from just doing it—just start moving! Listen as Steli and Hiten shares tips on how they became action-oriented people and why Einstein was right when he said “nothing in the universe happens until something moves”.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:05 – Today’s episode is about how to cultivate a bias towards action
00:32 – Feedback from listeners say that Steli and Hiten have a bias towards action in their podcasts
01:15 – Steli was travelling the past two weeks and the one theme that kept coming up was people need to take more action
02:34 – Entrepreneurs in the startup world need to create this bias to take better and faster action
03:08 – Hiten shares the companies that have a bias towards action like Nike’s, “Just Do It”
03:46 – Progress takes action and actually doing things
04:14 – You should understand what motivates you to take action

04:24 – For Hiten, it is a spark or a motivation to do the action
04:55 – Hiten says his motivation for the podcast is Steli’s passion for it

05:54 – Steli knows that he is not the main driver for the action, but has people in his life that can make it happen

06:27 – When travelling, Steli finds friends who will organize the trip so that he can just join in

07:11 – Steli and Hiten have people around them that take care of things and they play the support role
08:19 – Hiten has a priority list of people that he responds to via email
09:31 – Hiten knows someone who responds to emails on the 30-day mark
10:15 – People take action either because they want to get something or want to get away from something

10:38 – Pain is a much stronger motivator than pleasure
11:17 – If fear is your main motivator, you will more likely take less action

12:32 – Steli says there was a time when he did not take action because he was not inspired to do things

13:03 – Steli now has an internal mantra to act even when he does not feel like it, and he has accomplished a lot more because of it

14:13 – People don’t take action because they get paralyzed without even knowing it

14:52 – Steli says the trick is to make sure that you address the problem of why you are resisting doing the important things

15:14 – Steli shares how he was not as action-oriented as he is, today

15:51 – Steli realized that the only way to generate results was by taking action

16:40 – Steli learned that he needs to create results first, and study the data later
17:30 – During meetings, make a decision and get things done rather than adding things to discuss
18:19 – Hiten is driven to take action when he is impatient or bored
19:28 – Hiten is very impatient with business matters and takes this attitude in addressing the issue at hand
20:09 – Action is about impact and impact starts from small steps
21:40 – Know what the end goal is so that you are motivated to take action

21:46 – “You need to know where you need to go”

22:05 – Steli shares Albert Einstein’s quote, “Nothing in the universe happens until something moves”
22:21 – The only way to move things forward is to TAKE the responsibility to take action
22:46 – Do not be afraid of negative results or making mistakes, because it is an opportunity for learning that can help you take faster action in the future
23:17 – End of today’s episode

3 Key Points:

Cultivating a bias towards action starts from actually doing it.
Do the necessary action first, then study the data later.

May 09 2017

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Rank #16: 410: The Value of Generating Hype for Your Startup

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the value of hype in your marketing campaign.

In the startup world, it is common for a business to try to build some hype around a product that they are about to launch. However, this can leave a sour taste in the mouth of users, if the product doesn’t meet expectations, and it can hurt a brand

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how some companies are really good at being out there, the good and the bad kind of hype, how to separate hype from the quality of a product, and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:24 Why this topic was created.

02:00 Hiten’s thoughts on hyping your product.

02:40 How some companies are really good at being out there.

02:54 The bad kind of hype.

03:46 How to separate hype from the quality of a product.

03:59 How a great product will sell itself.

04:54 How there’s no perfect product.

05:40 There’s no such thing as a product that everybody loves.

06:39 How hyping is a balancing act.

3 Key Points:

I think there’s good hype and bad hype. There are many reasons why a product might not work for your company.If people are sharing things about a product, unsolicited, you’ll see it

[0:00:00]
Hiten Shah: Ask me. This is when it started.
[0:00:05]
Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.
[0:00:08]
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.
[0:00:09]
Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about the value of hype in your marketing, or for your company. Here's what I want to talk about Hiten. Hyping things. I think maybe the tech industry this has been a discipline that's been practiced quite a lot. Some companies had mastered that. Some companies were really, really great at hyping the next big thing they're launching. The thing they're launching, why it's the most amazing thing and will change everything forever, and then there was, I think, a counter trend to that where companies became much more, or startups specifically became much more engineering driven, so much closer to being truthful. The truthiness factor went up a lot and it was just like, "Let's just tell people what the product does and what the features are and functionalities." We're going back and forth, I feel like between how much tech companies and startups are hyping what they're doing, versus how much they're understated, but I recently in B2B SaaS I recently see a resurgence. There's a bunch of companies out there that, to me, seem to be particularly good at hyping. Creating hype around their brand. Creating hype around their product launches, and then when you look under the hood, they're shit is not that exceptional. Their technology is not that crazy. Their things break. A lot of when you dig a bit deeper, there's a lot of disappointment for people that look really deep, but what I realize is that the vast market doesn't look that deep. They just buy into the hype. I wanted to ask your opinion on is hype good or bad? Should hype be a thing that you excel at as a company or not? What are the dangers? Let's just digest this, or dissect this a tiny bit.
[0:01:57]
Hiten Shah: I think there's good hype and bad hype. Immediately when you started asking about this topic and wanting to talk about it, which I think is a really important topic. My first thought was, "Well, what is hype? Do we need to worry about that? I don't know." Because in a way, hype implies smoke and mirrors or something that has no substance. It implies that maybe. I want to get away from that though. I want to talk about the fact that I think what you were really getting at is some companies are really good at being out there, and basically building out a brand for themselves. We can call that hype. They're hyped up. They have hype, and things like that.

May 03 2019

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Rank #17: 436: Due Diligence During Fundraising

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about due diligence during fundraising.

The fact is, no investor in their right mind is going to invest money in a startup that has sketchy numbers. Investors will want to know everything about how your business is doing and if you can give them the answers they need then that can kill the deal. 

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what due diligence is, how it can happen, what fundraising is about and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:36 Why this topic was chosen.

01:41 How due diligence can happen.

02:10 The problem with due diligence.

03:00 What fundraising is about.

04:07 How due scrambling during the due diligence process can ruin your confidence.

05:06 Why your emotional state is the most important thing to manage during the process.

05:44 Why trust is super important.

06:19 How problems can arise when you scale.

06:55 The number one thing that founders tend to neglect.

3 Key Points:

This is a place where, if you’re looking to raise funds, things can go wrong.If at any time you scramble during the due diligence process, it ruins your confidenceThe most important thing to manage during that time is your emotional state.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah, and today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about due diligence during fundraising. One of the reasons we're talking about this, the main reason, is because this is a place where your fundraising, if you're looking to fundraise, can go wrong. It goes wrong because what happens is, you get into your fundraise, and it could be any stage, it could be a pre-seed round, a seed round, series A round, later on. You've got you know your term sheet and now you're like, okay, I'm going to sign this thing. You sign this thing, and then what everybody calls due diligence starts. That typically happens for most rounds. I think pre-seed, seed round, sometimes it doesn't happen unless you have a lead investor. During this period, basically your company is getting assessed almost in a different way. Again around everything that's going on in the business, whether it's some of the metrics that you have, if you have those, the money and how you've been managing it, and the cash flow and what's going on there, and whether the numbers that they heard from you a pre-diligence, or not even pre-diligence, but during the fundraise process, is actually true. Are those things actually what's going on in the business? Now, another aspect of due diligence is oftentimes, you have a data room, and you have a bunch of your financials there, you have a bunch of your case studies from customers, and you have a lot of your data there about your business, whether it's your retention or your growth or your engagement. That is already being shared with folks during the fundraising process even before term sheet sign. So there's a bunch of different ways due diligence can happen. Now, the problem... And then, Steli, I want to hear your take on some of this, because I think there's a lot of problems with diligence and where things can go wrong. One of the biggest problems is you just don't have that material all together. You're not ready. You're not actually ready to raise money if you're not ready for due diligence.

[0:02:11]

Steli Efti: Yeah, that's probably what's probably a really big problem, because what happens is, focus all your energy on fundraising. You focus all your energy on the story, on relationship. You start the process, and then when due diligence starts, you scramble. One of the things that needs to be kept in mind here is that fundraising, to a big degree, is about communicating confidently the story of your company, outlining the future of it,

Aug 02 2019

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Rank #18: 254: How to Launch Your Product

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In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten discuss the best practices to launch your product. Hiten uses his own launch of Draftsend as the basis of this discussion—a new platform that allows users to create and share their interactive presentations. Listen as Hiten gives listeners a behind-the-scenes take on a very unique and successful product launch where he leveraged social media and invited customers to take part in the launch itself. Tune-in to hear Hiten’s process firsthand and to learn how you can adopt these extremely wise strategies.
Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:27 – Today’s topic: how to launch your product
00:34 – Hiten recently launched Draftsend
01:47 – Steli congratulates HIten for Draftsend’s launch success
03:01 – Draftsend’s launch was all over social media
03:13 – Draftsend is a platform that allows you to create and share interactive presentations; you upload a pdf and audio and Draftsend acts a viewer

03:23 – “It feels like a video, and people are able to listen to a presentation”
03:33 – For those creating , you can record right on your browser on top of the pdf while going through your slides

03:45 – One key feature of Draftsend: all presentations are public

03:51 – Draftsend can feature your presentation right on their website
04:01 – “If you’re building a CRM, you don’t have the same opportunity to be all over social media, because your product should be shared on social media all the time”

04:32 – We had 20 people share their presentations for our launch day; we tweeted and promoted their content throughout the launch day
04:48 – Take advantage of the opportunity to share your content
05:07 – Having a definitive launch date encouraged those 20 customers to finish their presentations in time
06:04 – Our goal by having these 20 initial customers was to demonstrate what our product could do so that people could get inspired

06:18 – If it wasn’t just Hiten’s content that was displayed by Draftsend, he knew others would be more apt to share it

06:36 – Draftsend was launched in Product Hunt
07:14 – This product was so unique they wanted to access Product Hunt’s audience as opposed to just launching to their own existing audience
08:09 – Steli cannot believe a product like Draftsend did not exist before Hiten launched it
08:53 – Product Hunt has a very positive community
10:11 – Product Hunt gives tons of exposure; and people really care about giving their feedback
10:46 – Draftsend initially had 110-113 comments in Product Hunt
11:29 – “Launch when you know the thing will NOT fall down”
11:51 – Solicit feedback in your community and engage with the audience
12:43 – The launch date is not the birth of your product
13:59 – Product Hunt has an upcoming feature where you can set-up a “coming soon” page for your product
14:38 – The launch went well because Hiten and his team kept adjusting and learning thru the feedback they received prior to its actual launch
15:51 – Hiten already had hundreds of people suing Draftsend before they launched it on Product Hunt
16:16 – A launch is not just a launch where you can expect to just sit back and collect—it’s a small event that encourages you to refine your product, create growth loops, gain more users etc.

17:01 – Some people think they’re work is done after a launch, it’s just beginning and it’s NOT the hardest part of the process
17:33 – Your launch is like the beginning of business

19:25 – The number one goal for Draftsend’s launch was to get as much feedback as possible
20:07 – The second goal for the launch was to do everything Hiten can to maximize what happens—make adjustments on the fly during the launch to maximize user experience
22:13 – They were deliberate in asking for feedback

Oct 31 2017

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Rank #19: 306: How to Find Product Market Fit

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Product-Market Fit. They guide you on the path to identifying if your product is well placed to succeed in its target market and how to define what it means for you and your business.  

Perfect Product-Market Fit is the dream of every startup, imagine your product flying off the shelves and into the arms of a crowd of satisfied customers. To define and achieve  Product-Market Fit you have to have a deep understanding of your audience. Integrating the compelling value triggers to solve a key pain point for your target market.

Tune into this week’s episode of The Startup Chat to learn how to develop your own perfect  Product-Market Fit for your startup and how to do it the right way so that your customers cannot get enough of your products. Steli and Hiten also share their top tips to getting you started on the path to successful product placement.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

01:12 Product-Market Fit defined.

01:34 How can you achieve Product-Market Fit?

02:04 Three ways to find Product-Market Fit.

03:41 Important things you must be aware of.  

04:54 Being honest about product performance.

06:00 The difference between growth and Product-Market Fit.

07:18 The difference between marketing and Product-Market Fit.

07:33 Product-Market Fit equation.

09:10 Top tips for finding Product-Market Fit.   

10:16 Top strategy to get genuine confirmation from your market.

3 Key Points:

If a customer gives lots of their time, money and if they can not stop talking about the product. Chances are you have found Product-Market Fit.
When you think about your product, what will cause them to keep coming back?
Go out and try to prove yourself wrong.

[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today I think we're going to talk about one of my favorite topics, which is How to Get to Product Market Fit. I think there's lots of different ways. Steli, what's your deal with this topic? Do you like this topic?

[0:00:16]

Steli Efti: I love this topic. You know why?

[0:00:17]

Hiten Shah: All right. Yeah.

[0:00:19]

Steli Efti: You know why? I was talking to somebody, I think it was even an email exchange of a listener sending us an email asking us about how to prioritize certain things, and product market fit, and then not being sure they have it and all that and that clicked. That made me realize, "Is it possible that we've never, in 300 episodes we've never talked about product market fit as the topic of the episode?" I did a bit of a search and boom. I was like, "Oh shit." I mean we've talked about it many, many times within another episode but we've never gotten a full episode dedicated to it. So it was like, "Fuck. We need to talk about this."

[0:00:54]

Hiten Shah: All right. Product market fit, let me start by defining it. It's when your product fits in a market. What that means is that people love your product and they want to use it and they're telling everybody they know about it. I know that might set a really high bar, but that's product market fit.

[0:01:14]

Steli Efti: I love it. I wish I could disagree, but I won't. All right?

[0:01:17]

Hiten Shah: Oh shit. How do you get to product market fit? Well you build something people absolutely love and love so much that they want to share it with other people. Love so much that when you're on a sales call with them ... Again I'm preempting your answer probably, they're just like, "Where can I sign," like, "Let me just pay you." That means that you could have a verbal product market fit where you're on a sales call and people are just ready to buy it based on how you're describing it ...

May 04 2018

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Rank #20: 455: Doing What Scares You

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about doing what scares you.

When trying to accomplish something, the fear of the unknown can prevent you from taking action and completing your goals. Whatever it is that scares you, overcoming that fear and completing your goal can only be beneficial to you.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how doing things that scare you can help you grow, situations where being scared can be a good thing, some business situations that scared them in the past and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About the topic of today’s episode

00:27 Why this topic was chosen.

01:50 How doing things that scare you can help you grow.

02:01 How doing something that you’re scared usually leads to something valuable.

03:06 Situations where being scared can be a good thing.

04:02 How listing out things that scare you can be beneficial.

05:23 Why you should feed the fear in a positive way.

06:39 How everyone, including founders, has something that scares them.

07:21 How a lot of founders are driven by fear.

09:09 Business situations that scared Steli and Hiten. 

3 Key Points:

We grow by doing things that we’re not comfortable with.There’s something valuable at the end of fear.I would like to see more people list out the things that scare them.

[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about doing what scares you. The reason I want to talk about this is because recently my FYI co-founder Marie decided to go on a camping trip alone, but not quite alone because she was with her dog, which is probably even more scary in some ways. And in a bunch of private chats she was talking about bears and being scared of bears, and we're in California and apparently there's bears. And then on Twitter she was talking about how she was doing it. And what was really cool is a lot of other people chimed in about going on solo camping trips and dealing with the fears and things like that, making a fire and all that good stuff. So yeah, just wanted to talk about doing what scares you because it can extend to anything, personal life or work or whatever. Really just, I think something that we tend to sort of as humans, we grow by doing things that we're not comfortable with, doing things that might scare us. And at the same time we also kind of don't do them. So we lose out on growth and on opportunities like that. And personally I think there are things that I'm thinking through right now myself that probably scare me a little bit and but yet I know that they're going to help me grow. And I know that I want that and I want that experience. So yeah, just wanted to chat with you about this because I think it's a very common thing and something that a lot of people can get a bunch of value from.

[0:01:41]

Steli Efti: I love it. So I think that, I've said this many, many times that I do think that fear is the compass, fear points usually to a direction ... There's something valuable at the end of fear. There's something, either it's outside your comfort or ... It's always outside of your comfort if it's associated with fear, I guess. But doing something that you're afraid of usually will lead to something valuable, a valuable experience, a valuable skill or quite a valuable thing that you accomplish. But because there's fear in between you and that thing or that experience, it's what's holding most of us back. But I wonder, I recently wondered if that's always good advice. First, maybe and this is funky, I don't know if this is going to lead to any place worthwhile going or exploring, but are there exceptions to this? When is it right to let your fear hold you back or to let what scares you define what you do or you don't do?

Oct 08 2019

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