It has been 2.5+ years now, that we have been working on Townscript – a self serve event ticketing platform.
One thing which we have learnt with time is that a startup in the very initial days is all about surviving and at the same time fighting for growth.
Though, I still consider Townscript as an early stage startup and we are still fighting for “survival” but I think now we have come a long way as we have been able to survive for more than 2 years. Don’t know about the future! :)
I don’t know about your case but in our case we were quickly able to change our business model by taking customer feedback and by figuring out the product market fit.
I won’t go in detail about the product market fit but my suggestion to you is that please find the product market fit as soon as possible. I have seen people lazing around and wasting time in finding the revenue model. You always need to be on your toes.
Assuming you have figured out the product market fit, now the journey begins. According to me the initial days are the hardest, many people break down within the first year and go back to their usual work.
– Majority of the people will reject you and your idea
– It’s obvious that you won’t have a beautifully designed bug free product from day one and should be ready for a good aggressive feedback
– Your potential customers don’t trust your product
– Google doesn’t support you as your domain is very new
Honestly, it’s very hard initially.
Here’s a popular graph of valley of death :
Sharing our experience of survival in first few years.
– My partner Sachin and me were lucky to have infinite wavelength and trust
– We were lucky to have a person like Mohit Garg as our first investor
– We quickly figured out that event ticketing is what we have to do and we stuck to it. Our revenue model was very clear from the beginning.
– We believed in ourselves and focussed only on one thing that is our customers.
– We didn’t waste time running behind funding and we received the angel seed funding at the right time
Customer is God:
If startup is Religion then customer is God.
In our case it was a B2B acquisition and we focussed on only one thing – sales sales sales to acquire customers. Don’t expect inbound acquisitions from day one.
Initially there were lot of rejections. Being the only person in the team who was doing business development, honestly, I personally found it very difficult to sell in initial days. I still remember, one of our potential customers asking me
“What if you run away with our money? We have never heard your name. There will be transactions worth of multiple lakhs. Sorry, we can’t go ahead”
“A potential customer asked me to meet him in Mumbai. I took a bus from Pune (we are Pune based) and went to Mumbai. We were supposed to meet at the scheduled time. I called him after reaching there and he never picked up my call. Had to come back without conducting the meeting. “
But then after trying hard with perseverance you will always find few people who will believe in you.
How we have been serving our customers?
From product team of 2 people to business team of 1 person, we all lived for our customers. We made sure that we have been there for them 24*7. It’s still the same today. Honestly the main moto has been to serve the customers and delight them.
We got lot of new customers, because of current customers. They have been referring new customers. Most of our current customers are our mentors and friends. We love them!
Pro Tip: Leave the ego aside, and serve them selflessly.
— E-Cell, IIT Bombay (@ecell_iitb) January 31, 2015
— akhila deshpande (@akhiladeshpande) July 22, 2015
Developing the product:
Our whole team has been very customer centric and product team developed only those features that are important to customers. I am sure it has been very challenging for the product team to develop features quickly but it’s been a great team effort.
Prioritise! Prioritise! Prioritise!
We worked impatiently but we waited for the results very patiently!
It takes time to build a brand! So, we never gave up!
One attitude which has really worked for us is that “Irrespective of how the situation is, we won’t leave till we make it successful”. We understand that success of a company depends on number of variables and the most important one being the market.
We focussed on building revenue on our scalable business model and it worked!
Today we have served more than 5000 events, have grown 6x comparing to last year and we have to go a long way. Yes! you need to fight for the survival patiently.