This thursday, 7th of December 2017, we had the last lecture for our course Open and User Innovation with another very interesting guest lecture by Cristina Gadibadi. The topic was ‘Learning from Failures’ based on Cristina’s experiences as a serial entrepreneur and her last failed startup ‘Get Deals’. In this blog post, I am listing some of the key things I learnt from the presentation.
- Speak the customers’ language: The majority of the Swedish population is good in communicating in English. However, as a Swedish company, when trying to on-board clients it’s important to communicate with them in Swedish. It’s their first language and the one they are most comfortable with. While Cristina talked about language in a specific context, the learning can be applied in a much broader sense. As an entrepreneur, it’s important for clients to truly understand the value proposition and to be able to do this successfully, we have to speak their language. To put it more simply, if customers do not understand, they do not buy.
- Be smart at outsourcing: It’s really cheap but really difficult to manage remotely. There are a lot of operational issues when outsourcing projects to foreign countries. Hence, when outsourcing larger projects, it’s better to approach companies rather than freelancers. While companies are more expensive, they have established procedures and are more likely to meet our demands. Freelancers on the other hand can be really good for shorter projects (e.g., Logo Design, Short Video etc.)
- Bootstrapping is hard: If one does not have enough money to bootstrap a company, it’s best to look for venture capitalists (VCs). VCs provide funds to run a company in exchange for equity or ownership stake. Cristina puts it very well saying ”It’s better to own a part of your dream business than no dream business at all”. Moreover, VCs bring in a lot of valuable experience and knowledge.
- Try Guerilla Marketing: Most startups have zero to little funds to spend on extravagant marketing. As entrepreneurs, we need to be more creative in such a situation. Cristina mentioned ‘guys in the amazon holding a sign for Get Deals’. While this has nothing to do with the product, it’s cheap, different and more memorable for the customer.
— Shivam Verma
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