I understand this situation. You want to help, but you don’t know what to do.
Or you are doing your best, but the effort or value of your work seems small compared to what the developers are doing.
In this post, you will find 8 ideas on what you can do to make things easy when the product is ready.
This is by far not a definitive guide. It is a list of ideas that you can start with. If you have anything to add or any suggestions, you can add them in the comment.
I promise to quote you and probably add it to the main post.
Is there a business person you admire, respect, and trust? A mentor?
It’s time to pick up your phone, call the person, tell them what the problem is, and let them help.
This action will be more helpful because the person probably knows you and has a better experience. In addition, their guidance can be more specific to you than picking random advice from strangers.
Do you know what the best decision would be right now?
Closing this tab and making that call. This can wait.
Validating your product idea helps you refine your product features or improve on its weaknesses. In addition, it can help you understand what you’re doing wrong.
Without validating your ideas in the market, you're probably creating something no one wants to buy. Or something only a very few people might consider interesting.
Validating an idea is a continuous process. So you have to do it repeatedly until you have enough data to make your product remarkable.
According to Harvard Business School, you can start validating your ideas by asking these essential questions:
Source: Market Validation, Harvard Business School.
You can check the link to see the complete explanation.
Marketing creates awareness and grows a business. No one will hear about you or your product if you’re not actively marketing it or if people aren’t recommending it to other people.
Learning marketing as a co-founder doesn’t mean you’ll become the head of marketing when the product finally launches. Instead, it will help with things like cold-calling and investing in marketing. You’ll start understanding things from the perspective of a marketer.
It also means you won’t give some of us a lot of explanation to do when we tell you what we need.
Studying marketing can help product development because you start to ask yourself, “how can we sell this?”
And marketing is a broad topic on its own. You can start learning about a little aspect of it. You can learn:
“Cold-call selling teaches you the most unbelievable life skills. It teaches you how to get your foot in the door or win somebody over in 30 seconds or less. It teaches you perseverance and to keep going, especially when people aren’t necessarily kind or friendly to you. A lot of people ripped up my business card in my face.”
I’m a freelance content writer, and one of the best opportunities I’ve gotten was because someone referred me. Someone in my network found the job and sent the link to me.
"Instead of better glasses, your network gives you better eyes." -- Ronald Burt
Your network can serve as the first people to validate or test your ideas before launching. Many of them, who are outside your company or field, can bring a new perspective, especially user-oriented views.
They are your extra pair of eyes or ears because you can’t see every opportunity or be your own critique.
I think Brianne Brown captures the perfect answer in this quote:
"Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen."
But “being seen” is subjective. You don’t want people to see you painting your brand or reputation with mud. So it is essential to be seen (but not as an asshole.)
First, I'll let you figure out what an asshole means on your own. Then, later, I'll give suggestions on how to not be one.
These are the things you can do to network:
I said I would tell you how to keep people around, so here you go:
Personal development is a broad topic. It’s like saying, “do something that improves your life.”
There are thousands of things that fit that description.
Everything we have discussed to this point fits into the definition.
I mean, you’re an entrepreneur.
“Entrepreneurship is a personal growth engine disguised as a business pursuit.”
These are other things you can as related to Personal Development:
The list goes on and on.
I think it's cool to ask yourself this one question every day:
“...if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, (or building a startup) and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”
James Clear, Atomic Habits
“Communication isn’t as simple as saying what you mean. How you say what you mean is crucial, and differs from one person to the next, because using language is learned social behavior: How we talk and listen is deeply influenced by cultural experience. Although we might think that our ways of saying what we mean are natural, we can run into trouble if we interpret and evaluate others as if they necessarily felt the same way we’d feel if we spoke the way they did.”
The Power Talk, Harvard Business Review
This one can fit under the last point about personal development, but it needs to be discussed differently.
In the world, the way you express your visions or business aspirations is through words. And speaking is the most typical way to do that. As a co-founder, you have to speak to employees, investors, delegates, or government personnel. It can be a meeting of just ten people or a crowd at a convention.
Sadly, many of us are not blessed with the oratory skills of Martin Luther King, so we have to learn.
So, if you're a co-founder and you aim to scale your business, you might have to speak in public one day.
You can skip to the next step if you have this figured out.
But if you haven't, it is time to perfect your oratory skills.
These are things you can do:
Building an audience is hard. People don't follow you because you are on the internet. They follow you because you have something to offer them.
But, hold on? Why do you need to build an audience as a co-founder?
One, you can market your product to your audience.
I wrote about affordable ways to market your product. There are 9 of them in the post, and they all circle around building an audience.
As a founder, you build trust, loyalty, or awareness with an active audience.
There is a popular article about having 1000 true fans. According to its content, all you need to make a good living as a creator is 1000 people that will travel to see you or pay you, say, $100 for a product ($100,000 from 1000).
You can use this as leverage. 1000 true fans will tell the world about your product when it launches. They will share your posts, attend your event or product launch live, and probably invite others to see it.
If your 1000 true fans should show up at the event you host, that's a hall filled with 1000 people.
I don't know about you, but that's impressive (mainly because the world will see thousands of pictures of the event on Instagram).
It makes sense, right?
But it's hard to have those kinds of fans. 1000 true fans have been misinterpreted as having a large following on social media. The reality is that having many followers on Twitter or LinkedIn doesn't mean you have 1000 people that care that much about you or your product. Most of those followers are there for the entertainment you provide and aren't ready to give anything back to you.
Having 100 true fans is a good place to start. In the beginning,100 true fans and a large audience who will show little interest can be enough for a start.
You can influence an entire industry.
Have you seen Elon Musk’s Tweets?
He's a big guy, and his tweets usually lead to conversations that sometimes last for weeks or days? Moreover, big organizations or government officials generally respond directly or indirectly to his content.
Some news said his tweet influenced an entire market.
Extent of Elon Musk Influence on cryptocurrency; where it is headed — Economic Times
This is extreme, but you understand how this can help your business if you focus on the small scale.
Building an audience on social media can be difficult. It is attention-driven. It is designed to share content that people are interested in or give more attention to. And the algorithm can only tell if the content is fascinating by how many engagements it has.
So if you're new to the whole idea of building an audience, or you have a few followers, you won't get many engagements.
However, I won't leave you without giving tips.
If you don't know how to go about it, hire someone to do it. There are tons of social media managers and content writers or agencies on Upwork and Fiverr who will help with content creation for a fee.
The channels to use for building an audience:
By the way, I found this guide by Copyblogger very impressive. You can learn how to build an audience with it.
Understanding your audience is a continuous process. As long as your business exists, you must continue learning about your audience.
Think of a place where your ideal clients hang out. Listen to their problems, ask questions, and read between the lines. You can join them by participating in activities or helping them with answers.
You can do this offline or online.
These are the other ways to understand your audience:
Now I will leave you to go ahead and do your thing. It's a journey, after all, and no one can linearly predict the progress of a business. So start with something and figure the rest out along the line. The world is waiting for your product to make it a better place.
And if there's something that has helped you in the process, don't hesitate to share in the comment. I will add it to the main post.