THREE LESSONS OF STARTING YOUR COMPANY, OR JOINING A NEWLY FOUNDED ONE

THREE LESSONS OF STARTING YOUR COMPANY, OR JOINING A NEWLY FOUNDED ONE

– from GetListed founder Linda Sevelius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been involved in a couple of startups before founding GetListed, a global market research service. These experiences have taught me valuable lessons that should be heard by others thinking of starting their own companies or joining newly founded ones.

 

Lesson 1: Do your research and collect first leads. Get out of the building!

The minimal thing to do is to actually talk to people – this is called customer discovery. First start by defining educated hypothesis for your possible solution, who are the customers, their buying behaviour, what kind of the market demand, etc. Use possible resources to figure out some key facts, there might be research done already – or then not.
Second, go for those people, find them and ask to talk with them. Ask them about their pains, gains and everyday life so you can understand for what are you offering them solutions for.
Third, If they find your solution interesting and are willing to buy it, you might have your first customers there. These first early adopter contacts are important when you start to test your idea with web shop or what ever solution you are developing.

Customer discovery is pretty tough work and should be done always when entering a new market or launching a new product. Moreover, the key is to connect with customers and understand them. GetListed can help your company with this internationally.

 

Lesson 2. Don’t build anything yourself before you have the first paying customers (and maybe not even then)

This is a well-known fact, but it still happens. At GetListed we made the mistake that we spent many months building a platform for our service – even though we had not really validated 1) who were our customers 2) what they really needed. However, you probably in this phase have some idea of who your customers are, so you can test the demand.

  • Create a landing page to collect leads. Spend a little money on AdWords, Facebook, Instagram or wherever to test if your idea could be interesting for the possible target market.
  • Before building anything, here is a list of services to use to test if some ideas work. For market place ideas: Sharetribe platform. For selling anything, service, product – almost whatever: web shop services like Holvi (you can easily combine banking and web shop), Shopify or Etsy.
  • Mockups that almost work – delivers the easiest fixed solution.
  • Search for possible facebook groups for niche service – and ask if you can manually test your idea.

 

Lesson 3. Ideas are pretty much worth nothing, it is all about execution.This topic is repeated in almost everywhere in startup literature, but it is quite common that in practise founders and first joiners tend to forget to keep it cool while dividing the shares. For example, I started GetListed with my dear friend and a couple of external people joined in a few months later. My co-founder and I thought that we had tested the service enough to prove that it is working and so we divided shares in a manner that we, both original founders, got right away vested 10% of the company. Well, the truth was that we were at the very beginning of everything, and we put a way too much weight on those early achievements. As you might guess, things fell apart only a couple of months later. The other co-founder was offered a full-time job, left the company and there were 10 % of shares somewhere else.As a result, this kind of situation could really pull down team’s motivation and it is extremely risky. Possible solutions and things to make sure:

  • Shareholders Agreement – making right from the beginning.
  • Remember restrained vesting, different leaver conditions and cliffs.
  • Founding or joining – make sure that the only having the idea or having donevery early phase work isn’t the reason to get vested a big bunch of shares from the beginning. Be fair for your partners and for yourself. If you own a bunch of vested shares and leave the company, it isn’t most probably going to bloom anyway – better to have a little if you have to leave and still you can benefit from the little ownership something.
  • If you missed these lessons and you have a situation like described above, here are other solutions: you can increase the number of total shares (so the percentage of the leaver’s shares will drop) or found a new company and leave the old one.

Read more about GetListed, and meet Linda and her team at CBS Entrepreneurial Day 2017!

 

MEET THE STARTUP: GETLISTED

MEET THE STARTUP: GETLISTED


GetListed is a service for master level business students to get relevant work experience in a flexible manner by doing market research and customer discovery projects for companies globally.
 
We have a dream of helping students to get relevant work experience from early on, that’s why we founded GetListed. Probably you are willing to join us as well. To put it simply, GetListed offers market research and customer discovery projects for business students for a reward. Our customers are mostly startups, small and medium sized companies worldwide, that are looking for expand their business to other countries. You will get ready made forms to search information and share your knowledge as a local – for a fair reward.

In Denmark, there are numerous non-paid internships available for business students – they offer a great experience for many, but we at GetListed believe that students deserve to be paid and also learn by being freelancers. Working with projects occasionally will generate income for you as well as keep you still flexible for doing your projects at Copenhagen Business School. As a student in CBS you can find many great projects, whether you are from abroad, you might find cases to do about your home city or country.

As we are students and recent graduates ourselves, we know the struggle. Especially at CBS and in Copenhagen, not only does the students have very high rents to pay, but also in general, life in CPH is expensive.

Students are doing already a lot of valuable and free work for case companies in the courses at universities, what really raised a question in our minds – why not students could actually earn money from those kinds of projects as well? So in 2016, we founded GetListed, to connect startups and small companies to future top talents worldwide to get economy growing solutions done in a flexible manner and for a good reward.

So to get your hands dirty with real life projects -> GetListed now!