Get to Market Sooner

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Ep. #661 - Get to Market Sooner

In this episode of Startup Hustle, tune in to Part 29 of “How to Start a Tech Company” as Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson discuss how to get to market sooner.

Covered In This Episode

Why is it imperative for founders to get to market as soon as they can? For startups, especially tech startups, it is better to present their products to their customers quickly. By doing so, they can learn what’s working and what needs to be improved faster. To understand why it is critical, listen to Matt and Matt talk about how to get to market sooner and what founders need to pay attention to.

Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson explain why it is more beneficial for tech startups to get to market sooner. As the saying go, “If you’re not embarrassed by your first MVP, you waited too long to go to market.” The Matts also share the importance of listening to feedback, having a clear go-to-market strategy, and more.

Get Started with Full Scale

Tune in to gain a clear understanding of why startups need to get to market sooner in this Startup Hustle episode.

Missed the previous episode? Click here to listen to the 28th episode of the “How to Start a Tech Company” series. Or join the Matts in the 30th episode here.

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  • Introduction to Get to Market Sooner episode  (0:30)
  • The first to market often wins (2:19)
  • The psychological benefits of finally getting to market fast (6:22)
  • Finding the crack (8:11)
  • Figure out your selling process (11:42)
  • Can you handle it when everything goes well? (14:26)
  • Go-to-market Strategies and Sales Reps (16:23)
  • Getting to market sooner helps you refine your message (18:59)
  • Make it easy to give feedback (23:09)
  • Product onboarding is really important (24:39)
  • Don’t argue with your feedback (27:47)
  • Reduce the static or interference (33:31)
  • Founder’s freestyle (38:12)
  • Wrapping up (42:40)

Key Quotes

If you’re building a tech business, the faster you have something to get in front of a customer, the better off you’re because the faster you can learn, the faster you can iterate. The faster you can actually get a viable product that you can sell, the faster you can get to market, right? It’s all about speed and urgency.

Matt Watson

Patience when it comes to being an entrepreneur is your best friend or your worst enemy. And being overly patient with getting something out to market is problematic. In some cases, it’s deadly. Like sometimes, the first to market wins. And that’s where you see a lot, a whole lot of stuff. When new solutions come out, it’s often a race.

Matt DeCoursey

Spend a few dollars to save yourself time. And I know early on, like dollars may be really precious, but your time is really precious, you got to figure out like, you don’t want to become the expert at like ten different things because you’re trying to save so much money. Just use those services to get you to market faster.

Matt Watson

Be open, be ready to pivot. Be ready to change lanes because you never know where that opportunity is going to come up. I guarantee you that there’s a lot more of it than you have managed to consider at this point. So I mean, overall, that’s important stuff, and then, in the end, just do it. Do it. Launch it.

Matt DeCoursey

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Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey, here, with Matt Watson. Hi, Matt.

Matt Watson 0:06
We need to get this podcast started sooner.

Matt DeCoursey 0:09
Well, you know, it’s funny because as I was hitting the record button, you literally said what the hell are we talking about in this episode? So yeah, I was willing

Matt Watson 0:19
To get it started sooner. You’re like, let’s go.

Matt DeCoursey 0:23
Well, I have appointments now I have a lot of people in recording this end of the day.

Matt Watson 0:27
We need to get this podcast to market. Let’s go.

Matt DeCoursey 0:30
Well, that’s also what I’m excited about. Because man don’t wait get shit for sale. Now people. Alright, look, here we are. We’re back 29th of fifth? No. Are you going to ask that every five seconds? Because if you are just don’t, I could see that look on your face. Dude, I know you’re too well, no, we’re not there yet. I’ll let you know when we are. All right. So look, not getting to market soon. And sooner is important. We have talked a whole lot about building stuff in this series, everything is technical that talking about raising capital, buyer build, blah, blah, blah, really, in the end, you did all that. So you could go out and generate money, you could generate sales, you got to get it to market. And this is a key component. Now look. Before I get into too much of the secrets that I should remind you that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by Helping you build a software team quickly and affordably. That’s a company that Matt and I own together. We help companies like yours build teams of expert developers. And we’re really good at it. Go to fill out the contact form. Let’s set up a call. Let’s talk it out. Matt, when it comes to getting to market sooner, well, part of where working with a company like Full Scale will help you is you don’t have to spend time recruiting and finding top talent, you can focus on creating some some sales and revenues and customer adoption, any of it. Because the end goal is to get to market sooner. This is a big problem. Dude, this is a big problem for everyone. It’s the is it time to launch? Is it time to launch? Are we there yet? We build more stuff.

Matt Watson 2:19
We talked about building an MVP, right? And so if you’re building a tech business, this kind of goes back to that, right like, the faster you have something to get in front of a customer, the better off you’re because the faster you can learn the faster you can iterate, the faster you can actually get a viable product that you can sell, the faster you can get to market, right. It’s all about speed and urgency. And I work at Netreo now that has over 100 employees on the CTO and and the thing that kills me every day is when people talk about how many weeks it’s going to take to do something kills me inside. I think in hours and days or minutes. The weeks thing kills me. Right? It’s about speed and urgency getting shit done. I like live there. And people probably hate me because I’m always like, now now now now. But the weeks kills me. I hate talking about weeks.

Matt DeCoursey 3:15
Well, here’s the thing, you’ll sell more stuff with that attitude. You know, overall, it’s funny because in life, people in my opinion, overvalue Patience, patience when it comes to being an entrepreneur is your best friend or your worst enemy. And being overly patient with getting something out to market is problematic. In some cases, it’s deadly. Like sometimes the first to market wins. And that’s where you see a lot, a whole lot of stuff. When new solutions come out, it’s often a race.

Matt Watson 3:52
It’s a race to capture market share, market,

Matt DeCoursey 3:54
Capture, market, share, get out there, get adoption, whatever, because some things are sticky, while you look at like Facebook and MySpace. It’s funny because I remember when both of those came out, I was thinking about the other day because you know, back in 2008, I my MySpace page was just badass dude, I didn’t want to get away from it. I didn’t want to go to Facebook, they were really in the end wasn’t going to be enough room for a similar product like that, that everyone would adopt. It would be one or the other. Now, Myspace made it to market faster. But Facebook did. I mean realistically better. And you know some of that it’s not always the first that wins. It’s the it’s the one with the most strategy and sometimes the ability. Well, sometimes the fighter that wins is the one that can make it to the end of the fight.

Matt Watson 4:42
Well, especially. Yeah, especially if you’re going into a market or industry that’s new, say like, electric cars or like 5G, like, okay, everybody’s gonna buy a 5G cell phone over the next five years. We know that right? And then it’s like how do we capture the market share and the adoption of that thing, but a lot of times sort of startup were little bitty and we’re trying to get, you know, a fraction of percentage of the market. So it’s not necessarily about, you’re not gonna, nobody’s necessarily gonna win the whole market, there’s gonna be a lot of players in the market, and there’s lots of room for all of us little fish to survive, right? A lot of times, that depends on the industry we’re talking about. But the other big risks that you have around time is strictly your runway and running out of cash. I mean, that’s the other huge part of this, especially if you’re venture-backed, or you just don’t make no damn money. Even if you don’t have, you didn’t take venture, but you’re not making any money, you quit your job to do this, and you make no money. And every month, you know, every month, your significant other reminds you of the fact that you’re not making any money, right? And so you’re burning money every month, and that just can’t go on forever. And I always you hear me talk about this a lot. When you raise VC money, too, you’re kind of playing the game of chicken and you’re running against a brick wall, you took the money, you have to achieve certain goals by some certain time, or you run out of money, and you have to hope and pray, they’re gonna give you more money. And so if you don’t get to that certain spot that you need to get, you’re screwed. And you hit the brick wall, right, like, and so for a lot of startups, urgency is is really important, and getting things done getting it to market and getting to those next stages.

Matt DeCoursey 6:22
And sometimes, you mentioned a lot of like, tangible structural things. Sometimes psychologically. That’s the key. I mean, you’ve you know, we’ve both launched software businesses in the past and by the time you finally like, collect $1 It’s like Praise be Halloween a year later this day would never but but psychologically that can be that can be a real shot in the arm, it can be real boost.

Matt Watson 6:49
Can you hear me talk about this a lot?

Matt DeCoursey 6:51
Well, you mentioned it’s like that. It’s like that spend, spend spend, am I going broke mentality? Hey, look, if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, especially tech entrepreneur, there’s a couple things that I can tell you’re guaranteed to occur. It starts with waking up at 230 in the morning with anxiety, wondering if you’re gonna go broke, if every decision you made is wrong. And if you’re going crazy, those are guaranteed to happen. And those happen to you, Matt. You’re laughing because it still happens.

Matt Watson 7:18
Or are you Matt DeCoursey?

Matt DeCoursey 7:22
Walks through raindrops it just makes money. I just, that’s never happened to me, Matt. When it rains, I literally walked through the raindrops and the ones that touched me turn into little drops of gold. Not true. Not true. But no, but the getting to market thing that was like I mentioned, like some of the psychological components.

Matt Watson 7:41
You just seen a win. Yes, the team needs a win, right? That’s the win is a win.

Matt DeCoursey 7:47
We need a win is a win. Yeah. Speaking of which, I my wife yesterday was asking me about my daughter’s future soccer practice, which I found time to bring up that old Allen Iverson video where he’s like practice. We talking about practice, not a game, but practice. Like the greatest video ever is like, yeah, so yeah,

Matt Watson 8:07
Four year olds need practice.

Matt DeCoursey 8:10
The point was, the point is, though, is like, you get tired of talking about practice. It’s yeah, when’s the game? I want to put I want to score baskets. And yeah, that that that really can be a big shot in the arm. Now, in our last episode, we talked about building an MVP. So the purpose of building an MVP, and what rolls right into this episode is let’s get it out to market. Now we’ll get things out to market back to the back half of last week’s episode, which just go back to last week and listen to that if you want want some of the keys is about building a startup MVP as you’re trying to answer questions. So like, you don’t have to move fast and break things people. It’s okay. Like really bull in china shop kind of shit when you get out there. Because you want to see what’s standing what isn’t what’s good, what isn’t. In the end, I will give you one simple bit of strategy, you are trying to find a crack. And when you find that crack, your next goal is to shove an elephant through it. That’s what you’re doing. You’re looking for the frickin crack. When you find that you’re gonna shove that damn elephant however it goes but when you but if you don’t find the crack to shove the elephant through, you’re just gonna you’re gonna keep spinning your wheels, you’re gonna be losing market share, you’re gonna be burning capital, so on and so forth. No matter what the tech business, is it realistic to think that you’re getting a even an MVP product to market super fast. And by super fast. I mean, like in a month or two.

Matt Watson 9:35
I think it depends on what you’re trying to do. I mean, at Stackify, we were building something pretty complicated that did a lot of things and it took us 12, 18 months to really get a MVP out the door that we could charge money for. And if it’s a pretty small product, I would say three to six months maybe to get an MVP to really get it to market you know, maybe another three months or whatever working out the kinks and all that stuff. But a lot of times I’d say six to 12 have months is probably a reasonable timeframe. But it really depends on how complicated it is.

Matt DeCoursey 10:05
So and I just brought that up because you do want to get your stuff out to market correctly. But we talked a little bit during the MVP episode about like having some reasonable expectations. You know, just meaning like you don’t need if you’re really trying to launch a software platform, you shouldn’t probably be beating yourself up that it’s not at market in two weeks. And yeah, they’re like, all software businesses are like snowflakes. They’re all different, like, oh, yeah, it was highly comp, highly complex and needed to do a lot of different stuff. Where the flip side of that, like, you know, we’ve been talking about GigaBook and things like what Calendly was a comparison because it was simple. It did one thing like, you should expect something like a one-trick-pony to be at market faster. That’s the reason that you are writing or buying or betting on the one-trick-pony.

Matt Watson 10:54
Right? Absolutely. All right.

Matt DeCoursey 10:56
So there I mentioned in the last episode, as well, I recently asked a question in the Startup Hustle, Facebook chat can come join us people just go to Facebook, type in Startup Hustle and Come Come join our chat group. But what are three words that you would give it advice that to someone that started a new business? Now, here’s the thing. First off, you had the best answer Startup Hustle podcast. But I think Nike, of all of all places, gives the best advice, just do it. Just do it. Do it. Jump, build wings, see what happens. Like, the worst thing that’s gonna happen is you aren’t going to sell shit.

Matt Watson 11:34
They just say no.

Matt DeCoursey 11:37
That happens. By the way, they’re gonna say no more than they say.

Matt Watson 11:41
Yes, absolutely.

Matt DeCoursey 11:42
So yeah, there’s something that we haven’t talked about much up up to this episode, now that you’ve openly admitted over the last 650 episodes of this show in three and a half years that you’re more of a product guy. Yeah, the sales guy on a lot of days. But here’s the thing is, do you even know how to sell stuff. So sell anything, get out there, get reps, you have to figure out your process for selling stuff. And you’re never gonna do that by not selling stuff.

Matt Watson 12:19
And that’s the feedback loop you need, right? Like you’re trying to sell it and people keep telling you, I’m not going to buy it because of XYZ. And until you keep hearing that echo, you’re not going to solve the problem.

Matt DeCoursey 12:32
But what do you do when you do sell something?

Matt Watson 12:34
You fix that shit now!

Matt DeCoursey 12:36
But what if I just say what you sell it what happens when I get an order? You know, cuz here’s the thing, in almost every business rang, true. Nothing really happens until you until something is sold. Like you look at like a puzzle. Okay, I used to work for a musical instrument manufacturer until I sold stuff. People in the warehouse didn’t deliver. They didn’t they didn’t sit accounting didn’t send invoices. Like a whole bunch of different shit didn’t occur. But wait a second do when you sell stuff. So you got to get better at selling you’re probably suck at it at first. What?

Matt Watson 13:11
When you sold one of those expensive pianos at rolling? Did you play like a little tune on the piano?

Matt DeCoursey 13:17
Yeah, totally. I you know, I have such a I have a large repertoire. No, you know, it’s amazing, Matt is I really don’t even play the piano. But I’ve sold millions of dollars worth of them because I understood the benefits of what it was that I was selling, and the quality and I’m a good salesperson. And I had to figure that out over time. But you know, and yeah, I played a couple things. I figured I figured I could I could play like three songs and about 10 Different instruments. And then if I’m away from a guitar, it doesn’t go too much further than that. But why did you have a request?

Matt Watson 13:55
Well, I just think in like, you know, we’re talking about celebrating wins, I would have thought that would have been you’re in a music store. I mean, there’s got to be some like awesome music that plays so

Matt DeCoursey 14:04
Totally, every time I would sell something there. You remember Showbiz Pizza, the rock of fire, or explosion, the curtains would open back and forth. And you know.

Matt Watson 14:16
I knew there was something I knew.

Matt DeCoursey 14:20
Yeah. It was always drops of Jupiter by Train was always okay, fortunately.

Matt Watson 14:25
Now we figured it out.

Matt DeCoursey 14:26
At that point where, I got to the point where I didn’t want to sell stuff because I just didn’t want to hear that song. No, but but selling, look, this is, this is, this is important. Because you know, because if your product centric and you haven’t launched anything, like you really don’t know what you’re doing or how to handle it or deal with it. So I think when it you know, I one of the most unlooked overlooked scenarios to consider is most people in businesses we’ve talked a lot about, hey, don’t run out of money. Don’t hang on to it too long. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Those are how that what how to either prevent or what to do when the sky is falling? What happens when everything goes well? Are you prepared to handle that because you can grow out of business faster than you can go out of business in some regards, like you can buck and blow it all up,

Matt Watson 15:13
Can make all of your customers unhappy, and they all cancel.

Matt DeCoursey 15:17

Matt Watson 15:18
You don’t support them,

Matt DeCoursey 15:19
Reputation tarnished people pissed off, depending on what you’re doing like that occurring could just enter the business. Especially if you’re nice. There’s oftentimes no coming back on that. So when it comes to selling, like sell anything, and like you, there’s some, okay, let’s talk about Sam Walton and Walmart. Dude, he wasn’t selling anything new wasn’t even selling a product they made. They were just trying to do it better, faster, cheaper. And they had to get a whole process with that now businesses like Walmart or especially Amazon, they don’t do well or make money if they don’t have that process. Stupid stupidly refined, like, Yeah, I’m talking like exact stuff. So it’s just easier to do it when you have reps, just reps man by n. So sell something. So yeah. All right. So what are some obstacles you’ve run into in the different businesses where you’ve brought things to market? Like what are what are some of the things that that it’s fair to warn people they’re going to climb over or have to walk around?

Matt Watson 16:23
The biggest challenge is usually the go-to-market strategy, right? I mean, smart people can build a product that solves a problem. And hopefully you can differentiate yourself and all that, right. But the hardest part becomes the go-to-market strategy. How do we actually sell this thing? How do we find people to care? I mean, we’re not going to sell everyone we talked to right? It’s a numbers game, we get that. But how do we get in front of the people? How do we find who our target audience is? And then how do we refine it down to a small enough audience? So I’ll tell you a couple of stories. So in the VinSolutions days, it was easy. We knew who our customers were, they were frigging car dealers. And when you call them, what do they do? They answer the phone. You can get them on the phone, and you can tell them like, I’ve got something that’s gonna blow your mind is gonna help you sell more cars. I just want 10 minutes of your time next week for a demo, right? And a lot of times, they would say, yes, it was easy. But trying to sell stuff to software developers at Stakify, holy shit, they don’t have phones. They don’t answer the phone told different go-to-market strategy, right? And so the key is you have to understand who your audience is and how to reach them. And it is very, very different from one to another. And that’s one of the most important things about your business, like the product you create is one thing, as we talked about, execution is always the key, right? And so much about execution is about to go-to-market strategy and the delivery of the product.

Matt DeCoursey 17:46
Yeah, and then that’s then still, that’s all part of that sales process. And yeah, you don’t without reps, without reps, you don’t get good at it. I mean, that’s really the key ingredient. And depending on what you’re doing, so you look at like, I don’t know, like a software-as-a-service or a true tech company, like you need to get this refined to the point where you don’t have every time you get another 100 users, you don’t have to hire another person.

Matt Watson 18:10

Matt DeCoursey 18:10
To get to get around to that and that’s scalability defined right there. So but you don’t understand you don’t see your own inefficiencies. If there’s not enough stuff coming down the assembly line, you don’t ever really see where it pauses or stacks up, or log jams or any of that. And then the reps are just it. That’s how you respond to it. Like you will, if you hang out with me and talk to me about sales, I’ll say, hey, look, I don’t mind having to clean up a mess, because we sold way too much stuff way too fast. But at some point, but at some point, though, that doesn’t that isn’t sustainable, because you have to figure out what happens afterward. Otherwise, you’re just living in a pile of your own trash well, and it becomes pretty shitty, because your customer service, your delivery, all that other stuff are gonna suck.

Matt Watson 18:59
Well, and when you’re selling a technology product, especially if it’s at a lower price point, it’s an enterprise sale, the product has to sell itself, right? Like that’s super critical to this. And you talked about learning from that thing about something like GigaBook, right, it’s one thing to drive people to the site and they sign up for it. The product has to sell itself, they have to figure out how to use it, how to get value out of it, all of those things are really important. And you’ve got to really focus on those things and meet people and make sure people get through that journey. And then hopefully when you try to call them or email them and actually get them to buy it, they actually have used it and had a good experience and will talk to you and we’ll buy it and all those things right and hopefully they just buy it and you don’t have to talk to him this with their credit card. But so much about a technology product is the product has to sell itself and you’ve got to figure out how to optimize that process and figure out where they’re dropping off and I know in the GigaBook, you know history of this you found like Oh, for certain types of clients, that configuration was too complicated and whatever right and over time figured out like okay, we can streamline this with Got the wizard. We automated this now they get to value quicker, like, those are things you don’t figure out as you’re going through the MVP until you start getting some reps. Like you said, You got to get people going through the process. You’ve got to talk to them, get their feedback, get them to say, Oh, well, no, it was easy to set up, or I got too hung up here, or all those things, right? And you’ve got to, it’s easy to overlook that stuff. You just think like, well, I, I’m paying for marketing, and people come to the site and only 1% Buy, and that’s good. Well, a whole shitload of them are dying on the vine, because they just don’t understand how to use the product. And you got to stay focused on how to improve that.

Matt DeCoursey 20:34
So and that’s, and that’s where getting to market sooner helps you refine that message as well, because like you just mentioned, so you get 1% of visitors to actually accomplish whatever it is you need to accomplish. That could be a sign up a purchase or whatever. It’s quite possible that by getting to market sooner, and understanding and refining that messaging the way alright, so GigaBook is a good example again. So we, when we first launched, we had a lot of people they would get are the software’s the service in general was still early, and it was young, and people would look at $8 per user. And they would think, Oh, wow, is that so is that $8 for every client that I have, and they’re like, I have 500 clients, then that would be $4,000. Now here’s the thing, it’s just because now that would be a little more maybe a little more understandable now, but that this software as a service is still pretty young as a concept. I mean, when we started gigging, but people were still you were still getting discs, to install Adobe, or whatever the fuck, you know, well, I like that. And well, so with that, we put a little calculator right up top one want to know how much this costs? How many? How many service providers do you have? How many things do you want to take bookings for, and then it just showed them. And then like, and also, so we did a video, and we did the calculator, the we were getting like 10 to 15 inquiries a day about that. And the moment we put those two things on there, we went weeks before anyone asked again. And here’s a perfect example of the problem. Very effective change. So with that the same amount of traffic turn into a dramatically higher conversion rate. You didn’t have to spend more money, we just had to get smarter about it. But But and then when you mark it, yeah,

Matt Watson 22:24
You look back, you’re like, man, we were wasting a lot of marketing dollars and energy trying to sell this product because nobody was signing up for it. Because we needed to fix this one little thing and in the process, right? And sometimes it can be as simple as a few words like you say, Oh, it’s $8 a user? Well, that was confusing to them. $8 per their users who are their customers are $8 per user of GigaBook, who logs into GigaBook, right? So sometimes it’s just terminology and little things that when people are going through the, you know, your lead your lead generation forms, and your website, your marketing materials and the products, sometimes it’s the littlest tweaks, right, that make a big difference. And you got to get a little sciency on some of it early on, and figure out how to improve that and figure out where you’re leaking people out of the process.

Matt DeCoursey 23:09
Yeah, and you know, and the thing is, is so well, first off, no one wanted to reply to those tickets all day. That was, that was probably the first time where I really realized that that listening for the echo part of feedback, and just like experience in general, was so valuable, because the thing is, is like, if we hadn’t addressed that, well, how many people weren’t asking? That’s the real question. Because just realistically when you get when you get like, and that you built a whole business around solving this, so Stackify was application performance management and monitoring. And the whole concept was is how many people click the button that doesn’t work? Before one kind person actually takes a moment to tell you it’s not working. Because the thing is, is like and the most heartbreaking thing about entrepreneurship is sometimes when you find those things out. Going, oh my god.

Matt Watson 24:06
I wasted so much money for so long.

Matt DeCoursey 24:09
How I mean, like, wow, like, wow. And I mean, it could be big, it could be really big and that, but that’s important. So, you know, I think another important thing we should probably throw out there is make it really easy to give feedback or get input or understand some of that, like ask, like, just ask ask for the feedback asked for the input. And, you know, there’s, you’ll find a lot of luck, you’re gonna get a lot more out of everything in life that you want if you just ask for it.

Matt Watson 24:39
And there are some and we talked about so product onboarding is really important. That’s kind of what we’re talking about. And there are tools that will do screen capture and recording and stuff you can use to like hot jar and like Lucky Orange and all these different things. You can install them on your website, they’re really cheap, and they’ll record the screens and you can see where people click and where they mouse over and See, we’re like, oh, they get this a certain stage and they all drop off or whatever. And those things can be really helpful.

Matt DeCoursey 25:07
So also in the term of getting to market faster, like, look, this still goes back to last last week’s episode about the, you know, be it, take my advice and be great at like one or two things, and then go to market with them, see what happens, right? Like, that’s going to, like, not fucking around by trying to build what you want in 10 years now is like, seriously the way to do it, like, and, you know, the, I think that as the world progresses and moves forward, the world is a lot more understanding and, and, and, and awesome about, hey, this is new, we want your feedback, like, you know what I mean? Just like just like, I get it, don’t try to fake it in some regards. Like, cuz people are gonna now they’re gonna know that mean, the world. It’s a smart world.

Matt Watson 25:59
And And honestly, that’s where you get some of your biggest raving fans right about you. But I’ve used products before. And I’m like, Man, you so perfectly solve this problem. There’s a lot of hair on this thing. It’s got problems. And I become like, their biggest fan and their biggest critic, like I’m constantly telling them like, you guys need to do this, you need to fix this, you need to fix this, you need to do this. But those are the kinds of customers you want early on that really helped drive the product forward, that become raving fans, right? And a lot of times those raving fans are also the biggest pains in the ass, but that’s okay. Yeah, because they care. And they provide all the feedback, right? And there’s been a couple times I’ve used products, I’m like, Oh my gosh, this really solves a problem that I really am passionate about. And then I’m like, pushing them to like, do better. Like I’m, you know, a cheerleader for them. Right. And, and if you can find those people, there were gold.

Matt DeCoursey 26:53
Yeah, well, it’s, as you were mentioning, that I was thinking back to when we launched gigabit, because, you know, we didn’t have the support. And a lot of that stuff just wasn’t as refined. And we had met, like, there’s probably about 10 of our first users. And I remember us being at the office and be like, God, this lady is such a pain in the ass. Those, they’re all still users. They all still, they’re all still paying customers. We actually had one lady, one lady that we gave her what we called the golden ticket was with like a lifetime free, because she was actually our first paid user. And I reached out and I was like, Hey, I understand there’s, there’s a lot of warts on this frog right now. But talk to me, and let’s see what’s up. And we she gave so much feedback and was so patient with our inadequacy, that later, I was like, you know, we need to just give that lady a free lifetime pass. Because her telling us just little things. And that was that communication. And look, you need to be humble about it, you need to, like, you really think like, do not argue with your feedback to the people that give feedback, like thank them, appreciate it, and

Matt Watson 28:01
then tell you your baby’s ugly and take it.

Matt DeCoursey 28:04
You tell them not only thank you for and you know what, thank you for the feedback on how ugly my baby is, in fact, I want to get this right. I wasn’t planning on having another baby. But I’m going to now to show you that I can get it right. That is that is a bit that’s the thing is like you know, so don’t be combative with it and let people tell you about it. Now, here’s another thing. So all right, so this is this next approach isn’t going to work that that well or be sustainable if you sell a physical product that you have to manufacture. Now, really, in the end on some on many days, software is vapor in the in the the E space, the cloud and whatever. You want to get people to adopt your product and use it and give you the most feedback and the earliest stages. Give it away. Give it away for free. I mean, I, I had a there was a moment I got out voted. I wanted to give GigaBook away for a year I we were at the beginning of the year. And I wanted to put a clock on the homepage and said this is free through the end of the year. So the sooner you sign up, the sooner you’ll be and I and I got talked out of it. And I wish I hadn’t because so many people would have signed up we wouldn’t have a court now. When it came time to pay. Yeah, we would have lost a lot of those users. But we also would have had a very, very, very strong understanding we would have had our heels buried in the sand and knew what we were going where if you can afford it, give it away because the objection of having to pay well if you don’t have something worth paying for. People aren’t going to pay for it.

Matt Watson 29:41
When you’re when you’re starting out. It’s a great way to just get adoption and get feedback. At some point in time. You may have to cut that off or figure out your your product strategy. One thing I will mention though, is the people who pay nothing or pay almost nothing are also the biggest pain in the asses in the world. But when you’re first starting out, you need to be thankful that anybody gives a shit about your little product that you just launched, you just be thankful that anybody cares. Anybody will use it and provide feedback. And you’ve got to take that feedback, and figure out how to improve and get it to scale, right? And it couldn’t be like, hey, at least we have people using it. And now I can see if it performs very well. They’re getting errors in the software, like, we’re improving things in the back end, like you’re just thankful you got people using it to some degree, right?

Matt DeCoursey 30:29
Yep. And that’s that getting that still getting the market is getting down there. Now, look, look, the easiest sales to make are our referrals from your own evangelists are people that like your product. So that’s another, that’s another key component of that, just getting it out there, like just getting people using it, getting them talking about it. Now also, one thing to consider that can help you get a boost. So I’m a big advocate of if you’re gonna give away something for free, you can still ask for something in return. So if you want to get out to market and your your, maybe you’re hesitant about that, or you want to really justify it, say, hey, look, this is free for X amount of time, if you tell five people about it, or something like that, there are viral boosts and ways to nudge your user ship forward, that can be really be mutually beneficial, especially in the beginning. Because you know, really, in the end, if you don’t have users at all, or they’re not adopting anything that you’re doing, you’re not going to make it very far.

Matt Watson 31:30
You know, we talked about how we, we do these topics, and we’re not sure we’re gonna have 40 minutes worth to get through. And now we’re like 30 minutes in and we have not gotten through most of our list.

Matt DeCoursey 31:41
It’s kind of like get in the market, man. And you know, and we decided to record a couple of days in a row, my earbuds even ran out of ran out of battery. And I joke about that, because theoretically, they should certainly have enough battery to couple of cover couple, cover a couple of episodes. Speaking of covering a couple of episodes. Now today’s episode, Startup Hustle is brought to you by, helping you build a software team quickly and affordably. Now look, I want to actually talk about that a little bit. So you’re a young company, you got to decide about what you’re going to focus on. And what’s important. So like, you know, we’re going to use Full Scale as an example here, but not for purposes of advertisement for purposes of it just being useful. So Full Scale, we help we help people build teams of developers quickly and affordably. Now the thing is, is, is if you’re an early-stage company, and you’re in a race to get to market, there’s companies like Full Scale that’ll help you find vetted talented people faster, maybe even cheaper, and deploy it quicker, which is going to help you get to market. These are other things too. Like for example, like, like a payroll processor, like gusto is a great example. So Gusto, it’s like makes it quick and easy. You don’t have to focus on that kind of stuff in your business. So you can focus on getting to market get that get the MVP done, get it out to market and then learn from it. As a business owner, you’re gonna find pretty quickly, if you haven’t done it before, that there’s a whole lot of shit that you’re going to have to do or figure out how to do that gets in the way of all the stuff you really want to do like now on most days, as a business owner, what percentage of your day was populated by the things you wanted to do, as opposed to the things you had?

Matt Watson 33:31
Maybe 10 or 20%, I actually had time to do really things I wanted to do. And, and honestly, a lot of times that might have been or nine o’clock at night after my kids were in bed.

Matt DeCoursey 33:43
Yeah, and that’s the thing is, so anything you can do to reduce that static or interference that gets around you. And you know, like I use Full Scale as an example. There’s a bunch of examples, there’s just a bunch of things that you can, especially in the early stages that you can you can offload, like contractors, micro contractors, like gusto is that good example and they’ve been a, they’ve been a sponsor of the show before but like you could spend a lot of time on payroll and stuff like that for like a tiny, tiny monthly charge someone else deals with that for you. And, you know, there’s other things too and you know, I think that we’d probably be remiss to not mention, there’s things like Stackify like Matt, like how to stack How would Stackify help a software product get to market faster? Like where are the efficiencies

Matt Watson 34:33
That yes, finding bugs and performance issues and problems in your code and, and all that kind of stuff. And I think part of part of you know, good example of what you’re talking about is like different different things where instead of us spend a lot of time to to like learn how to do something, like bring in some expertise, right, like Pay Per Click advertising or marketing or things like that, like say that you’re trying to be an expert on Pay Per Click advertising go sign up for some like cheap service. That does it for a couple of 100 bucks a month and let them do that. So you can go focus on like sales or something else, right? And spend a few dollars to save yourself time. And I know early on, like dollars may be really precious, but your time is really precious, you got to figure out like, you don’t want to become the expert at like 10 different things because you’re trying to save so much money, like how to do payroll shit, like screw that sign up for payroll service, right, like, sort of figuring out the laws and how to collect taxes and like, oh my god, that would be terrible. Just use those services to get you to to market faster.

Matt DeCoursey 35:33
And, you know, I mean, another point with with contractors or, you know, folks like that is like, what Full Scale, you don’t have to onboard an employee, you may have to onboard a product or project or a product. And another thing too, you don’t have to spend money, like all of our people have equipment, they have a support structure. That’s capital cost upfront. Yeah. And another thing too is like if you have to go through the whole recruiting and hiring, vetting, or how, like

Matt Watson 36:02
You just described my week. Hiring people, man.

Matt DeCoursey 36:08
Well, I can I can help you find some solutions with that.

Matt Watson 36:11
Yeah. And that’s true. I mean, we’re hiring lots of people all over the place lots of things it’s and hiring people sucks. You know, the it’s way easy to hit the easy button be like Full Scale, somebody start tomorrow, like that’s way better.

Matt DeCoursey 36:23
I think you’ve hit that button before they’re so few times. You know, the thing is, is you need to ask yourself as I as a business owner, and really even even if you’re not a business owner, if you’re a leader in a company at all, is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time when it comes to the company because it is just super duper easy to mess this stuff up and just to get off track. And another thing too is like, you know, what I find is, is even just little blips, little things little tiny distractions are still moving you away from that core thing you need to be doing and that’s a really dangerous thing because it piles up and it just pushes things it keeps you out of market faster. I know that much.

Matt Watson 37:11
Yep. Absolutely. All right.

Matt DeCoursey 37:15
So, we are at the end of our getting to market sooner and you know, we like to end episodes. I like to end my episodes with a quick founders freestyle. I say my episodes make sure you tune in on Tuesdays to join Andrew Morgans, the CEO and founder of Mark Knology talks all about e commerce, and Amazon brand stuff and the two Thursdays for join Lauren Conaway, the founder of innovate her, and she tackles some really tough episodes. Now you’re going to notice a slight change that starts on August 30, because we’re handing the show over to Melissa Denson, a pipeline entrepreneurs for five straight days, where she’s going to talk with some of the fellows and the the men and women that are involved in one of our region’s top entrepreneur mentoring programs. And also, hopefully, you’ve been listening on Fridays and joining Heather steppy. Who is the See, I mean, it’s funny, I believe the CMO should know that I really should know that. The KC hemp company, she’s doing an eight part series about the cannabusiness, which is a different twist. Heather is one of our cow, fellow cast members on Startup Hustle TV. So go over to the YouTube, go to the search box.

Matt Watson 38:33
That sounds really interesting to me.

Matt DeCoursey 38:35
I think it is because and that’s it was me that pushed for that whole. That whole series is it’s just, it’s just so interesting. How formative and my god one thing that Startup Hustle TV really taught me is what a pain in the ass. It’s got to be to be a cannabis entrepreneur, because they like get kicked off of Facebook and Instagram or do credit card. They’ve had the bank, they got a call from their bank one day that was like, Hey, come pick up the check. We’re closing your account, like, shit, just crazy. And that’s because we’re in Kansas, not Colorado. But even those same problems exist for people. And yeah, it’s just very interesting. I think it’s not often or regular that you get to see in just like mega industries in that kind of infancy and adolescent stage. It’s very interesting. And, you know, we’re going to be doing more guest host series. So reach out and let us know what you want to hear about. So Matt, I mean when it comes to getting to market sooner, and what’s your what’s your freestyle here at the end of today’s episode,

Matt Watson 39:38
so one thing we haven’t talked about is you know about getting like your first customers and stuff, right. And one thing I wanted to mention is just the power of networking, and when when you’re trying to find those first customers, one of the first things you can do is just network with everybody you know, and the thing is when you meet with people you may know going in Totally okay, they’re not our target audience, but they know a lot of people, right? That’s the thing. Like, there, there’s like five or six degrees of separation of all of us from each other, right? And odds are somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody that could be your customer. And the more you can just network with people get the word out and say, Hey, do you know somebody in this industry or whatever, and your brothers, uncles, cousin, daughters, whatever you never know, and just network with people, and I guarantee you will find some early customers that could be good fans of yours.

Matt DeCoursey 40:29
And that’s, you’re getting to market when you got to do that. Yeah. And that is a version of it. And you know, like the, I think when it comes to getting into market, I think one of the things you want to try to avoid, and I’ve been down this road before, so like, when we were launching GigaBook at first, we were like, Oh, my God, anybody could use this. And then we sat down to with the go-to-market strategy and the launch and we were like, shut, anybody could use this. Same words, completely different feelings. So you need to try to like there’s a couple of ways to do this. If you have a very industry or niche type product, like really try to go with a narrow scope, try to point it exactly who you think or buy. Or if you’re not sure, you still need to do that. But take a number of like 123 or four different groups, and just it’s literally throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks kind of thing. Because you really might surprise yourself, you might think that your target user is X when it is actually Y and there and you also might find and you know, so with those groupings, it’s still okay to have like a general like, you know, like, Hey, this is kind of aimed at a broader group because then leave that in there as one of the samples because you also may find that you get adoption from industries or user types that you didn’t hadn’t even considered. I used the escape room version in the last episode talking about if we had pivoted GigaBook to do that I’d probably we’d be cashing really really big checks. I didn’t even know what an escape room was until I started getting a bunch of inquiries from people that owned it and didn’t have a solution. So these are the things that sometimes like as an entrepreneur you that gives you the ability to be agile and agile is like be ready I think the the last advice I have with this is like be open be ready to pivot be ready to change lanes because you never know where that opportunity is going to come up. I guarantee you that there’s a lot more of it than you have managed to consider at this point. So mean overall like that’s that’s important stuff and then really in the end, just do it. Do it. Launch it. Push send.

Matt Watson 42:40
Are we there yet?

Matt DeCoursey 42:41
Push send.

Matt Watson 42:43
Are we there yet?

Matt DeCoursey 42:45
Yes, we are finally there yet. We are; finally, we’re finally there, Matt. You can; you can pee. You can go, you can go potty now, and I will give you I’ll give you a candy bar if you wash your hands. So I’ll let you go ahead and do that. And I’m going to. I’m gonna get ready to go launch something else and take something else to market. I’ll see you next week, dude.

Matt Watson 43:04
See you.