Six exhausting work days are behind startup entrepreneurs that received the SK75 investment from the Slovene enterprise fund in the spring batch. Eleven thematic lectures constantly faced the teams with two perspectives: the grand picture of a year-long plan of priorities and key goals, and operational weekly plans, that will bring the teams to the end goal. The program covered key business functions, like managing a startup company, validating key assumptions of the business model, sales processes, product management, finance, accounting, human resources, business metrics, digital marketing and building an international sales network. To realize this program, Start:up Slovenia Initiative partnered with the best and experienced partners: Business angels of Slovenia, D·Labs, 30Lean, Red Orbit, CEED Slovenija and Matija Jamnik. The end result was, along with tired heads, an operative executable plan, that will enable entrepreneurs to use the next 12 months for maximum progress on their business ideas.
With Tilen Travnik about effective product development
The spring batch of the recipients of the SK75 investment is composed of an industry as well as by product and experiences very different teams. The company Arch Vitalis is developing super energy efficient mobile houses, Pel3o is producing high quality and user-friendly 3D printers, 4D PRINT offers a wholesome system for production optimization, that includes 3D printing, supporting production process and supplying entry materials, and finally team Omisli.si is presenting an online web platform and entry point for purchasing different local services that enable the service seeker to send an inquiry through an online form and receive free of charge at least five offers from different providers. All teams created a simple operative plan of key milestones, activities, and metrics for the next 12 months at the boot camp. This plan will enable them to efficiently lead their startup company through the steps of validating key assumptions of their business model and reach the first major milestone on their paths - product market fit.
An important element is socializing and exchaning tips of companies, organizers and lecturers.
In the light of searching for product market fit, we at Initiative Start:up Slovenia in cooperation with the most active shareholders of the Slovenian startup ecosystem, developed an intense boot camp program for them. In six days of intense work, experienced experts covered all the key business functions in the early stages of startups:
Planning removes subjective estimates of startup success and enables entrepreneurs and financiers to timely and objectively act in terms of changing a business model or stopping a project. This is why planning is an inevitable condition for a successful startup launch, emphasized Branko Drobnak from Business angels of Slovenia, who also presented entrepreneurs how they should map their ideas and how to set a view, to see the trees nearby as well as the forest they are currently in.
Branko Drobnak from Business angels of Slovenia about planning a forest and trees
Tilen Travnik, a partner at D.Labs says that when deciding which activities to do, you can follow the 80/20 rule. This rule tells that I can work on something for 20% of my users, but that brings me 80% of my revenue or the other way around. Another rule is also that every so often you sit down and write what you plan to achieve in the next half a year or other time period. It's not good enough to have this in your head. You should put it down on paper. Furthermore, it is important to set the focus of your product development by constantly checking with your users. This user feedback is key to the success of your startup.
When doing our digital strategy, we have to "juggle" between three key elements of content marketing, positioning, marketing and online analytics, says digital strategist Andraž Štalec from the company Red Orbit. These things are important to do because users nowadays are more curious than ever and they do a lot of research online before they commit to a purchase. We have to make sure that our digital presence informs our users about our services. It is the job of marketing to promote that content to users that have an actual need to consume this content. This is done to ensure that content doesn't get forgotten in some dark alley of the internet and to raise user loyalty and our brand awareness. Finally, it is important to measure and test our websites and then iterate accordingly.
”Control your expenses! When a company is small, you usually have it all under control, however, when fast growth happens and you abandon their exact monitoring and planning, it can be fatal. Since you are in a race against time, I advise you to just keep an eye on the big, sudden or atypical expenses from different contracts, major deals,... For liquidation and payment of those smaller, always the same and repeating expenses or bills, you can hire somebody to help you. Last but not least important - monitor and actively manage your cash flow. Cash flow is as important in a company as blood flow is in a human body, and unfortunately many startups fail not because they make a loss, but because they have a negative cash flow, which means that they have too little money on their bank account to regularly pay their obligations," said Alenka Brozovič from the accounting firm ZEUS, to the startups.
Matt Mayfield from the network CEED Slovenija, an expert for sales and entering foreign markets presents in the video key mistakes of startups by creating opportunity, solving pain, optimization, and focus.
Lojze Bertincelj, 30Lean, notices that the easiest thing to do is to develop one's own ideas. It is, however, much harder to set worthy experiments and deal with real insights, problems and customer needs and submit your own development to them. There are two big mistakes startups do. First is that they set the easiest experiments that don't give useful and valuable data. The second one is that they poorly plan their experiments. All experiments should deal with numbers. We have to predict the numbers we expect and then through the experiment either confirm or refute those numbers. Go "out of the building" and start developing your business the right way.
Establishing business processes is what Andrej Guštin from the company CREA pro, lectured about and consulted to SK200 startups. He emphasized that startups, in the beginning, should define seven key business processes, among them, choose the ones with the highest priority and set a person responsible for each of them:
For all key processes, the entrepreneurs should set KPIs (key performance index) so that for every key process they set two key KPIs and set measures if there is a discrepancy from the wanted value.
Andrej Guštin also advised, that after every big project, the managerial team should make an analysis of what went well and what didn't and communicate the results transparently. Success or failure has to be shared with all so that each individual feels their pulse and added value to the process,as well as the pulse and result of the whole company.
Many times experienced startup mentors answer the question how to build a good team with a short - good luck! However, HR expert Nika Sebič Koračin, presented five key tips for successful HR in dynamic startup companies:
Organizational culture + profile of a candidate = successful selection of a startup team member says Nika Sebič from the company HRM
Matija Jamnik from the company JK Group emphasized four important legal areas that most startups don't put enough attention: putting together collective contracts, using a contract as a record of agreement of business partnership, traps of employing and hiring coworkers through a contract of civil law and a regime for management and protection of personal information.
Aleksandra Bohorč, expert for entrepreneurial finances from the company Abundia, emphasized among other things an interesting statement that it is very important for an entrepreneur, for his vision to be reflected in key financial indicators or indicators of success, that are not necessarily connected to money. She also mentioned that money in a company has to be managed every single day. In the beginning of a company's life cash flow is the most important thing to deal with.
Peter Rižnar, director of Arch Vitalis summarized his thoughts after the six intense days and said that he is very happy that he was a part of this learning process. The most important realization of the last few days was that the market is always king. Even though the product is very good, the market gives them valuable information in what way they should change it, so they can sell it.
A piece of advice I'd give to other startups is that the team cannot be self-sufficient and that it is imperative to look for advice from outside experts and widen your knowledge and horizons.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 12:11
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 09:00
Saturday, November 26, 2016 - 09:44
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 09:30
Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 10:00