This week, there was progress in validating our market. For the longest time, my co-founder and I had been wracking our brains over which industry and sector to enter.
Which market has the lowest barriers to entry? Which one is the least competitive? Will there be enough customers? What’s the market size? Which one do we enter first?
At the back of my head, I had an inkling that the best way to obtain answers to these questions, or any question in entrepreneurship really, is by talking to the very people we were interested in helping.
By now, we had already worked on the project for a sizeable amount of time. When our track instructor heard that we were doing this for at least six months without much progress, he was stunned to learn we had only talked to two companies and in only a single market.
That was when I got shaken out of my trance. What had we been doing for the past few months? Thinking and making so many plans without much form of action was going to be futile, surely we should have known.
Yet, we had been oblivious to the fact that we were sunk into the very trap our instructor Mike calls “not getting out of the building” — not getting out there and doing legwork such as validating our assumptions by talking to stakeholders and customers.
After that in half a week alone we had gone on two field trips and spoken to three potential stakeholders. It was tiring, but felt so productive. Now I understand what our professor and mentor, Prof Teoh, meant as he egged us on to make contact for the longest time.
I had come to realise: one of the most important things we can do is to keep moving; create and sustain momentum. Tyla-Simone Crayton, 17-year-old founder of Sienna Sauce, formulated her sauce when she was 8 and started selling at 14.
Her company now rakes in six-figures in revenue.
She gave two keys to success in a recent interview with CNBC:
- Never be afraid to ask questions
- Listen to our customers.
While actually pretty simple, these actions have somehow been so easily underrated by us adult entrepreneurs. No amount of hypothesizing and guessing can beat asking and listening. We need to get back to the basics, and get out of the building.