Building a startup (2/3): finding an issue worth solving

When there is a fit between the team and the theme, as described in the previous article in this series, it is important to find a problem that is large enough and solved by the team. This is done as quickly as possible, supported by own data.

Build, measure, learn

Working on the basis of your own data means entering the field and discussing the bottleneck with existing potential customers. For example, interview a few dozen retailers for a challenge within retail. In order to build up a customer profile.

A startup receives support in developing fast learning processes. The crux is easy to understand assumptions in order to take it a step further: build, measure, learn. So different than in the academic world. Therefore, there is a sharp focus on time and priorities. That sometimes takes time to getting used to, but adding a routine to that process makes it second nature to validate assumptions as quickly and economically as possible.

Collaboration in a team

Understanding the market is crucial. That means listening well and filtering what is essential. After all, it is human to want to see your assumption confirmed, while it is useful that your target group disproves it.

At the same time, there is continuous coaching on teamwork. Because one founder mainly works internally (product development) and the other externally (sales / marketing), they want to avoid growing away from each other. Where they increasingly follow their own vision, but avoid conflicts. Entering into those conflicts early is particularly important for sharpening the common vision. "It is tempting to avoid conflicts, but setting boundaries at the start is crucial to success," said Anne-Jean de Vries, personal coach at Holland Startup.

For all this, Anne-Jean and other Holland Startup coaches speak to the teams every week. In short, it is a feedback on the experiments done, the results and a look at what the next experiment will look like.

Proof of concept

After a few months it becomes clear that there is a clear problem and a customer, a team delivers a proof of concept. Where it shows that there is a clear demand for their solution. In the form of a number of customers on a waiting list, for example. This is followed by a pitch to the representatives of the Holland Startup fund. And, at a go, a pitch to the investment committee. If this is also assessed positively, an investment and a new phase will follow.

If the proposition is not convincing enough, the team will step back into the process.

In this series of articles we explain how Holland Startup builds talented companies step by step, in its own way. Klik hier om door te gaan naar het laatste deel van deze serie.

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