Going from Zero to One
The speakers presented lessons learned from their own businesses and outlined tools that can help business owners to create effective businesses. The presentation was not about how to start a business, but how to get the business to go from $0 of revenue to at least $1 because generating revenues is hard. According to Beyeler, the customers value entrepreneurs to be 100% upfront with them from the beginning. Customers want to purchase products and that can make their lives easier by solving problems. The speakers started by giving examples of generating revenues from a website that provides solar certification study guide and a service that helps companies to save time ordering snacks. For example, big companies are willing to pay for a service that helps them to deliver snacks on time to their employees. The managers are willing to pay for the snack services because they don’t mind spending some extra money in exchange for more time. During the saved time, big companies can focus on more important responsibilities that are aligned with their missions to bring in more sales.
According to Williams, entrepreneurs should be willing to add value to potential customers before they expect to generate sales from them. In order to find out the market segment of a business, entrepreneurs can host an event and see who shows up in the community. The prototype should not be perfect because if the potential customers really want it, they will provide feedback for the next version.
Once the customers are interested in the products or services, the entrepreneurs should calculate the numbers and ask them to purchase as soon as possible. In another example that Williams provided, he encouraged entrepreneurs to not worry too much about the pre-sale attrition because it does not make or break the business. Williams emphasized that only two numbers are important: 1000 unique visitors or emails entered into the landing page or 100 free consultations sign ups from the potential customers. These numbers represent the fact that entrepreneurs need to reach out to many customers through emails, PDF, phone contacts, free consultation, meet-ups, etc. in order to make sales.
Some of the tools that Beyeler and Williams have used in creating their businesses include:
Using some of the tools provided above, entrepreneurs can create a simple and free website to test their ideas. However, some of the key takeaways from this presentation are that entrepreneurs should not feel too discouraged if their pre-sale attrition is not what they expected to be because it does not make or break a business. It is more important to reach out to potential customers to collect 1000 emails and provide 100 free consultations.