My beliefs below may seem a bit bold. Yet, I think they are fundamental
startup principles expressed in a personal way. Enjoy.
If you can dream it, you can build it!
.. was an idea we clinged to at Fitdo for a long time. Building kick-ass
products is great, but it doesn’t get you very far unless you are solving a
real problem (Note: I believe it’s important to build kick-ass products, as
its a prerequisite for survival in the long haul).
Most great products, create a rather big shift in paradigm to the
customers. Customers are prone to hate products that dramatically
change aspects of their life. Building the product and trying to convince
customers how genius it is will not work.
Henry Ford said: “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to
Customers want bang for the buck now! You must ensure that you deliver
the product in a way so it immediately fits into the customers life. If that
wasnt enough, you will need to convince them too. Henry Ford knew
people wanted faster horses (or at least some did), so he gave them
something that was faster, yet still affordable -cars.
Suppliers and YOUR willpower
Being a two-sided platform, Fitdo has experienced the typical chicken/egg
problem from the very beginning. We simply didn’t get enough suppliers
(chickens) on board.
At the time I didn’t even have the domain fitdo.com, only fit-do.com and
some very basicmock-ups (to put it gently). I decided to leave my former
office in order to go out and speak with potential suppliers, whom I
pitched my “project” to (I had no CVR).
Do you think they were hesitant about joining? You bet!
How did I get out of that pickle? I aimed for action. I decided to hire a
former tech start-up CEO to coach me and bring a couple of developers
into play. We managed to develop the concept further, we went to Silicon
Valley with the ScaleIT program to pitch the idea in the states, get all the
feedback we could get and learn faster. Nothing was planned down to
detail, we just focused on pure execution.
All of these actions combined made it easier for us to get attention from
potential suppliers. Momentum was rising and I was able to get interns to
join and hire people to work for free or cheaper, since the project and the
founder was now perceived as cool (yes I am).
As I developed as a founder and I quickly became better at conveying
people. Working hard is one thing, but taking the right decisions is
another. In order to succeed you have to find a way to balance the two.
Pre-launch, launch and big-LAUNCH
While we are indeed building amazing software (that is our big-LAUNCH)
within health, apps and publishing, we have also come to realize the
importance of preparing years ahead.
In our case, first launching an ecommerce webshop and selling tangible
Fitness plans, Lifestyle guides, Nutrition plans, E-books etc.. The current
shop allows us to work and build trust both with our customers and
suppliers long before we introduce our software.
All in all, our journey has taught us three things: Start talking to
customers as soon as possible! (I cannot stress the importance of this),
take the necessary precautions that will help you take the right
forthcoming steps and start thinking long-term from the get go.