Hi guys, how are you? I hope you’re doing well. In this post, I would love to share about what I learned through couple years making passionate tech startup.

In the last 2016, I’ve been asked by one of my mentor in film industry to manage his camera rental company. In, the idea was growing, from making the website for his rental company until making peer to peer rent platform between filmmakers and photographers.

You can check Kitsplit.com to get what I’m talking about. I want to make that kind of thing in Indonesia. My mentor and I have met two different teams until the last I build my own team without my mentor. Eventually, the idea that previously just come up in my mind have been developed, though it wasn’t as good as my expectation.

I joined Jakarta Startup Weekend to discuss about my idea to the mentors. I got many knowledge and insight from that event. You can read the full article here.

After meeting with my last team. I know that we have limited budget, so we build our product as simplest as we can. From our first idea about peer to peer camera rental platform, we minimize our feature which is focus in helping camera rental owner. Making the such as marketplace need extra energy. We need to get the supply and the demand at the right size, at the right time. Because we know that we have limited resources, we chose to focus on the supply side.

What the camera owner needs in digitalization era? Our hypothesis is we can make digital backend dashboard for them to manage their booking system (include scheduling, finance, client list etc).

We’ve built our the beta version of that system. I met with some of camera rental owner (from the company to the individuals). Until I hired officer to pitch our product to many camera rentals. So far, we got less than we expected. So, here are my lesson learned.

1. Do not rely on everyone.

Making dream team is not an easy task. However, it is possible job. Ask someone whom you think capable and passionate about your project. Before talking about the detail benefit (share, salary, and other material matter), discuss with them about your vision. Feel their passion. If they are passionate, simply ask (do not forget to see their capabilities).

Ask the job desc as clear as we can. Set the goal. Breaking down in to actionable steps and do it (even it was not as easy as I write hehe)

Share to them about their point of view about the benefit. As long as we propose fair share or benefit based on contribution, I think it would be good.

Oh ya, I didn’t write any collaboration contract in the first phase. I verbally said the jobdesc, the propotional share, and the first KPI. Then, I said after reaching the KPI we must evaluate our contribution one by one. If we feel our planned contribution and real contribution matched, then we can continue to sign any kind of contract.

There are many people to be asked as your team. Pitch your idea to everyone, maybe one of them will interested or at least they can connect you to your potential partner.

2. Solve the most painful problem

As the founder or startup enthusiast, we often think that we solve the hardest problem in the world or in our community. Yet sometimes, the problem (that we think is problem we need to solve) is not the problem in the costumer.

For instance, I made cloud software for camera rental to simplify their workflow. However, they don’t think digitalize their workflow into cloud software is something they need. It is only nice to have. It’s not something that they need to buy because it can solve their problem. They are still okay using excel, spreadsheet, etc.

3. Do not asked to your friend. Direcly discussed to your potential client

This is something that I recently learned. Forget your friend when you launch a bussiness. Sorry, you need to get the whole context without doing any assumption.

Usually, we are so passionate about our bussiness and tell to our friends to (undirecly) support us. We are so pleased when our friend said “Wowww that’s great bussiness idea”. Sometimes, we need to skip it. It will direct us to confrimation bias.

We often take the conclusion or data that support our hypothesis. Therefore, we live in the society that it is not good being disagree. When our friends tell us about their bussiness, even the bussiness is not that good, we often said “Waaaw that nice”.

Would you imagine, when our friend launch her cake bussiness. When she offers the cake, and the taste is so ordinary, it is hard for us to say the real things. We regularly say “waaaw so delicios and many more”.

When we want to launch the bussiness, if we knew already our target market, ask them directly and offer your bussiness (excluding your friends). Count your friends as bonus.

4. Launch your product as soon as possible.

I read the statement “If you launch good product, it means you are late”. That’s absolutely true. In my case, I spent many days even months to develop the product (even the beta version). I was really enthusiast in developing my first baby and so excite to pitch to our client.

Without finishing the product, we can do market validation and product development paralel. If we wait until the product ready, sometimes the product doesn’t fit the the customer. As soon as you have the concept (event prototype using the power point). Pitch to them ASAP.

5. Market size and bussiness model.

It could be the most important thing. When we want to launch a bussiness. Do market research. How many people googling “Sewa canon 5D”? In these days, we can easily get the data about our market (though must be done using deep research).

If the customer that need your product just two until five customers, that your money, time and evergy worth it to do so? I am in the phase that having conclusion, the size of camera rental industry is not that big. In Indonesia, maybe less than 100 medium to big rental company. From that number, how many company will use your product?

Sometimes, we think niches is great. But we need to see our bussiness model. If our bussiness model is sustain. The niche market but repetitive order is still oke. But if our bussiness is not something that can buy repetitively, I think you shuld think twice.

I think that’s all. These are lesson learned from my startup. Oh ya, one thing. DO IT! Sometimes, we know the theory about developing the bussiness. However, we need to practive our logic and intuitive mindset to develop and grow the bussiness. So, instead of spending many hours doing paperwork, build your team, develop your product and good luck!

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