Derek goes live with Startup Village 2020 to discuss a series of lessons from 17 years of experience in Silicon Valley. Here are some key takeaways.
The first thing every entrepreneur should know: Don’t start a company to get rich. When things get really difficult, you won’t stay committed.
Start a company because you are obsessed with solving a problem. Fall in love with the pain, not just the solution. Don’t sell what you can make, make what you can sell. And if you don’t enjoy serving your customers or users, you’re in the wrong business.”
What are the roles of a Successful CEO?
The role of the CEO is to set the mission, vision, and values, recruit the main talent and keep the company funded, and most importantly, alive.
FOMO: What is it?
FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out. You need to tell a story about why investors should invest NOW. There are a lot of opportunities and quality startups out there.
“To rise above the competition you have to create momentum so that it’s like an investor is pouring gasoline on a fire you already started.”
There is a lot of ambiguity in startups, so you don’t always know what is next and you have to be comfortable with that. You have to have the confidence to succeed because you will have to raise funds every 6, 12 or 18 months.
The challenges of working in Silicon Valley is that everyone is running really fast and making decisions with 60-70% of the information.
There is always a chance of failure because someone is moving faster than you. However, this is nothing you should fear, because there are no overnight successes.
7 Ways to Get Your First 1000 Users
It is in your best interest to focus on 1-2 strategies but remembering that there is no silver bullet, just lots of hard work.
Go to your users, offline.
Go to your users, online.
Invite your friends
Build a Community
The other thing startups don’t talk about enough when raising money or during team meetings, is how their marketing, sales, and operations all intertwine. What marketing efforts are you going to do to drive traffic, which then drives leads? Leads drive demos then offers and then sales. High net promoter score which leads to more referrals. That needs to align with financials.
“You’ll need to do scenario planning - worst case, best case, middle case. Have a game plan for all 3 based on economy and industry changes, product direction, headcount, revenue and what your runway is for all 3 use cases. Everyone is doing this planning in Silicon Valley.”
Is there a negative attitude towards Russian entrepreneurs in the US?
Political and cultural dynamics exist between Russia and the US. Everyone knows Russia and the entire CIS region has top technical talent. Regardless of the country you’re entering, you want to have local sales partners on the ground to help you navigate those dynamics. The United States is still a great place to start a company.
Where do we start with promotion in the US market?
In order to attract Silicon Valley investors you must deploy these simultaneously:
Develop a good product.
Engineer a sales and marketing program that appeals to a global audience with the right people on the ground selling it.
Key advisors or influencers that will put their name on your product that will help you validate and promote it.
A fundraising strategy and logistics that intertwine with your sales and marketing strategies.
Watch the full presentation here: https://startupvillage.ru/en/live/107