Hiten Shah – How to Grow Your Self-Funded Business Faster (Microconf 2014)

Speaker: Hiten Shah (@hnshah)

Hiten’s talk focuses on the different stages of a self-funded companies and on how to make them grow.

We need to decide early if we want to be explorers or pirates. Explorers want to build something new and want to do revolutionary things, and solve problems in a unique way. Pirates are fast followers, market centric and are very focused on building the solution. If you start a company one way, it’s difficult to make it the other way. We want to be pirates.

Main Takeaways

There are three stages in a company. In each stage you shall focus very closely on what you need to do to move as fast as possible.

Start

  • Find the pain: you need to figure out the customer pain. Many people start companies based on personal pain (if I have this problem, other people probably have it as well).
  • How to find the pain using the lean startup approach:
  • Size matters: market size is important. You need to ensure that you can get enough customers otherwise scaling the business will be impossible.
  • Charge people early: having paying customers (even before the solution is built) is a good indicator that you are doing something that people want.
  • You need to get to product-market fit
  • Pain + product = fit

Scale

  • At this stage, your business feels like a house with the money all around. You need to find a way to bring the money in
  • System + optimization = repeatable
  • You can’t drive your business blindly: you need to measure as much as possible
  • Don’t over optimize. You are trying to learn as much and as fast as possible
  • What gets measured, gets managed
  • How do I make things repeatable?

Grow

  • Traffic + iteration = growth
  • Growth comes from obsessing about your customers. You need to get information directly from your customers
  • You need to continuously make improvements
  • Focus + sequence = speed: figure out what you shall do and the proper sequence of things and you’ll get speed
  • When everything else is working you want to fill the top of the funnel (traffic) as much as possible so that you can interact. If you don’t have traffic you cannot go fast enough.
  • Time is your scarcest resource. And you want to use it wisely.

Read notes of all the other talks in the Microconf 2014 Hub page.