Small market: curse or opportunity?
In my opinion, frequent mistake for founders is aim for very big market immediately. While prominent tech figures champion approach "go big or fail", I argue that each startup has some growth stages which it needs to complete before it can proceed to the another step.
Your goal should be to become monopoly, as otherwise it is a very tough space to be as startup and become 10x better than other existing solutions. Therefore, initially you should define your market as narrow as possible - the strategy which may sound counterintuitive.
For example, our product CityNow.org - real estate map - quickly became a leading platform to find new construction home in Vilnius. The market is restrained, since 30% of transactions are in new primary market (new construction) and 80% in Lithuanian sales in its capital, Vilnius. Such strategy allowed us to win and we can now expand to other markets.
So many startups tried to compete with major listing real estate portal and failed, since they were doing exactly the same thing for same large market.
When you are a monopoly, good things start to happen - word of mouth, referals, negotiating and pricing power. My advice to all other founders would be to redefine and narrow your market until you become a monopoly and stay here as long as possible. Good luck :)
Justas from Qoorio asks:
“How does the life of a founder differ from an engineer’s life?”
Given that my role was highly specialized at Facebook, I would say the biggest change is the range of responsibilities: as a founder you need to to wear multiple hats - coder, sales rep, content writer, recruiter. It is sometimes tricky to prioritize on what things will actually move a needle. My first focus is helping clients, improving product and collecting customer feedback.
One other practical aspect is motivation. At Facebook, It was healthy mix of internal and external motivation, such as salary. As a startup founder, you are mostly accountable to yourself for your decisions and results, while the rocket growth phase usually does not come in first few years of startup. Thus you need to find your way to feel motivated: whether its celebrating milestones, appreciating positive feedback from customers, inspirational podcasts or smth else - whatever works for you.
Finally, after getting used to cozy comfortable life at Facebook with all benefits, now I am back to making down to earth decisions - what do I eat today (no Facebook cafeteria)? Where is the closest gym? Where do I pay my phone utility bill? Can I drop off my laundry and pick up tomorrow? These small things add up and take my time, and I didn’t appreciate enough when I had this taken care of.
Sales and Social Selling
I got into Social Selling and Selling in general in the last 2 years and now I am still learning but also advicing others on selling via your social channels.
As a serial entrepreneur and investor, I have seen thousands business ideas, some of them turned out to a very successful companies, others - failed. I am happy to bounce ideas with you and give you my honest and independent feedback.
Buying Groups -
Typically, a buying group attracts membership from independent retailers, cooperative groups and even branded chains. In South Africa, a new(ish) act outlaws discounting & rebates based on sheer volume. Discounts (incl. by any other name) need to be provable that they're derivded from efficiencies.
Ron BaselOffroad 4x4
I can help you with the following
Sales 101 & where to start
staying authentic, finding your own style
books & recommended resources for further reading
Konstantin KrausWorld Economic Forum Global Shaper teaching soft skills