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Entrepreneurial Battle Scars 2

This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Bill Kenney has founded 6 companies and currently leads two growing ventures. MEET (My Expo & Event Team) specializes in helping growth companies and economic development agencies effectively exhibit at trade shows. Test My Pitch is an online platform helps students, entrepreneurs and professionals develop their communication skills quickly in a safe and collegial environment. Bill entertains audiences frequently and speaks on a variety of topics, including entrepreneurship, networking, revenue generation, and community building. He also leads several community building efforts in his home state, Connecticut, USA. 

As a guest speaker at Startup Turkey 2019, Bill Kenney’s speech was focused on sharing some of the toughest experiences’ entrepreneurs face through their journey. He started out by citing 5 thoughts which are basically the center of what these entrepreneurs face. These 5 thoughts are:

  1. Winning
  2. Investment
  3. Revenue
  4. Prospects
  5. BMC (Business Model Canvas)

Many times, we often confuse the lack of investments to mean bad business. The same applies with the way failure is perceived, while some ecosystems embrace failure and see it as a way to get better, others see failure as a major setback in business. Not having venture capital in your business does not mean your business is bad.

There’s a huge risk in trying to get investment before validating your business or finding product-market-fit. Revenue is the best way to be sure you have product-market-fit. Founders get a lot of verbal validation and this is simply not enough. It’s better when you find ways to extract cash from your startup by asking your customers to pay for stuff.

Revenue provides quite a number of things for your business, including:

  1. Fuel for your business
  2. Validation
  3. Customer engagement
  4. Team confidence
  5. De-risk for next customers and investment

As a business, identifying your Prospects is really important. Your prospect in this context, means who you sell to. You need to be accurate in finding who you are aiming for. Your prospects allow you to test your business practically because in the early stages, your business is more like a hypothesis. When you know who your prospect is, you can go ahead to draw up messages to attract them.

There are 3 prospect attributes, which are:

  1. Need
  2. Money
  3. Urgency

Bill likened the process of finding prospects to the processes involved in fishing. The first question to ask when you go fishing is “what do I want to catch?”. Once you decide the type of fish to catch, the next question to ask is “Where are they?”. The third question after this “What bait will I put in the water?”. Replicating this process in your business is not as easy as it seems, but it will surly put you on the right pedestal. Companies with good traction spend a lot of money trying to attract people that are not prospects. This comes up to be a major problem.

─ April 9, 2020