Could you resist?!

Some products are magnet-like: you feel attracted and can’t resist. It feels they fulfill you deeply… because they do!

The holy grail for entrepreneurs is finding product-market fit, where the product delivers perfectly for its core users. Many entrepreneurs build prototypes with a CVP (customer value proposition) in mind. But usually that CVP is focused on functional benefits (faster, cheaper, better, stronger, etc) rather than emotional benefit (how it makes your customers feel). To be successful, your product -and your brand- needs to deliver on BOTH levels.

The basis for emotional benefits is delivering against human needs. is…

eDM (electronic direct mails, aka email marketing) is often a key part of a company’s digital marketing strategy, but having a list of prospects and great content is only just the beginning, and if you’re managing your CRM yourself, chances are you’re making some rooky mistakes and your emails are not being opened.

Indeed, if you have a new domain, your IP will have no history of previously sending email. …

Photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon

Established companies tend to take last year’s budget and increase it by inflation to get to next year’s: not a great process in any case, and useless for a new venture without any precedent…!

Take a percentage of sales maybe? why not. 5%? 10%? That top down approach might give you a (fairly random) overall number but no clue whether it is the right amount or how to spend it, so let’s skip that one as well.

In my experience, there are only a couple of useful methods to set up a marketing budget from scratch:

  • zero-based budgeting (aka ZBB)…

you also need a bit of luck…!

Talking to many successful entrepreneurs and investors, here is an overview of what they say is needed to start a successful business. We’ll look at the skills required in a new venture, how to gage whether the idea will work, what resources are needed and… getting started!

A successful venture will require key skills from you and your co-founders. You don’t need to be an expert at everything in a new venture (that’s what your team is for!) but you need to be able to see the whole management picture, and you need to be able to sell your story…

photo credit — Clark Tibbs

You want to start-up a venture but have no idea how to get started? Here are the main steps on the road to success!

We’ll go from what to do when you don’t have an idea yet, to validating your new idea, building proofs of concepts and MVP (minimum viable product), and eventually reaching product-market fit and getting traction.

1. Let’s start at the beginning: ideation.

The ideation part is probably the most tricky one because it’s all about creativity. Make sure you start by identifying a need, ie a problem worth solving, preferably one that someone somewhere would be happy to pay for! Then you can…

Startup founders have a tendency to pick the best numbers, so investors have a tendency to check them…!

Congratulations, you just got your first seed round covered… or do you? Getting the first “yes” is an amazing feeling, but it’s still a long way until the money is in the bank. And in that way stands the due diligence, especially technical, financial and commercial due diligence.

Commercial due diligence covers 3 main points:

  • your (total addressable market) and assumptions behind the TAM. This is about how big you can be and how fast you can get there. Investors love…

Coming up with a fair valuation is always difficult, even more so for startups; customer-unit economics can help.

Photo Credit: Michael Longmire — Unsplash

Customer-driven investment methodologies use customer metrics to assess a startup underlying value. Simply put, can you -the startup team- acquire customers profitably and retain them for many years, therefore having a longer-term profit potential larger than the revenue growth to date had implied?

Whether you have recurring (subscription-based) or discretionary revenue stream, customer-unit economics can shed light on your fair value by making projections from the bottom up, looking at how individual customer behaviour drives the top line.

Investors prefer businesses with…

Photo credit: Jason Leung

The COVID-19 is not just a health hazard, it’s also a terrifying economic catastrophe, likely to take many businesses under all over the worlds. Let’s assume you’ve reacted quickly and pivoted your business model to become more digital than ever, you’re not out of the woods!

Marketing will play a critical role in getting your business to survive the crisis, especially as your customers will be poorer or feel poorer and stop buying many things, including potentially yours. The longer the crisis last, the more scared and the less willing to spend they will be. They will be more frugal…

Picture credit: CDC

Covid is destroying many startups and scaring all of us.

As a founder, it’s both your dream and your livelihood at stake. You’ve probably already taken drastic steps to save cash and extend your runway: stop any non-essential operating expense, called investors for some more cash, discussed with your suppliers and other creditors, maybe had to resort to decrease the days and hours of your staff, and obviously asked your customers for their support.

The questions every startup or small business CEO needs to ask now are:

  • What’s my new Burn Rate and Runway?
  • What does your new business model…

Photo credit:

I was just reading an interesting article by Gary Aitchison about startup risk assessment (available on Medium ) but thought he’s missing half the story: the rewards part!

I think his “phi measure” is an interesting way to visualise a startup risk profile and make sure any addition to the portfolio doesn’t increase a specific risk factor, or help mitigate some of the risks if you’re bringing skills in addition to cash.

The 11 risk factors he considers are:

  • technology risk
  • MVP edge case risk
  • market timing risk
  • monolithic customer risk
  • scale risk
  • execution risk
  • gorilla incumbent risk
  • legal risk

Max Bonpain

Helping startups and scale-ups hack growth. I love tech! Reach me on

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