Joe Natoli • 16 February 2017
It’s amazing how many people dive head first into something that no one wants. Here is some advice to ensure your business has room in the free-market, including some links for diving deeper into the knoweldge.
1 - Setup a free account at launchrock / squarespace / pagecloud / etc. All of these website builders require ZERO coding knowledge, and will allow you to get this page up quickly and beautifully. I would avoid wordpress at this stage.
Note : If you are technical, or want to learn, feel free to set-up a Free-Tier AWS account and host a modified html template page there for this stage, you will need to have purchased a domain for this option.
2 - Mockup your product or service. I always champion SHOWING not TELLING. This is essential to help people understand your business or product fast. In this modern era our attention spans are quickly decreasing; because science. So, use Photoshop or Sketch (free) to build out how you think your service/application will look on the phone, web browser, desktop. If you need some help with photoshop or illustrator I have a post covering this coming soon.
3 - Now that you have your product mockups created, you’ll need to layout your landing page’s design. It doesn’t have to be the most beautiful page ever, but it should follow modern web-design guidelines.
4 - Above the fold on your landing page, you’ll need to place a form to collect email or phone number signups. This way you can follow up with interested users once your product launches.
Pro-tip : use a “fake” checkout-page and google ad-words to find out if people will actually purchase.
5 - Publish your page!
6 - Now you need to get some visitors to your site, but we’ll cover growth hacking in a later post.
7 - Sit back, sip coffee. * pat yo-self on the back *
There’s one thing to remember here: Starting a business whether it’s a Mega Startup that will require venture capital or a side hustle to hopefully have a Four Hour Work Week (READ THIS FUCKING BOOK!), you’ll get invaluable feedback on how interested people are in your business.
There have been multiple accounts of crafty entrepreneurs using these methods to start gaining momentum before ever raising venture capital or striking a nerve so hard that they bootstrapped to a multi-million dollar company. Here is a quick story that greatly illustrates my point :
Tuft-And-Needle : These guys were the first mattress company to ship a mattress to your door in a box that you can unfold in the room of your choice. Back in 2011 they hated the service and process of trying to buy a new mattress, so they set-out to change that. The first thing that the founders did was set up a fake website that offered mattresses to your door for bargain prices. The website had a buy now button, but didn’t actually finish the transaction. They then bought some Google Adwords around mattresses, and ‘launched’ the site. They immediately got hits, and even “sold” some mattresses! There was clearly a demand! So they contacted those people and let them know they were sold out, but added them to a list, and started researching creating to create product. That’s right… they didn’t even have a product yet!
Now it’s your turn. What are you working on? Let me know and stay in contact.
Cool tip: I’ve taught my Pitching Arts class to over 150 students and business professionals in the bay area. Many of them successfully raised money afterwards, but all of them increased their comfort on stage. So, if you are a business or just want to learn, gather up 10 friends (or co-workers) and I’ll come teach you for FREE! Just e-mail me : firstname.lastname@example.org. Can only get 5,8,9 people? Send me an e-mail anyways, and we’ll figure something out.
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