Just by going to StartupWeekend you win.
But just by participating in StartupWeekend you win. You will learn the latest and greatest methods and tools from experienced mentors.
And most important. You will meet other skilled likeminded people. Have your facebook account ready and invite everyone you meet. Expand your network.
Pick a team
There will be pitches on friday. It will seem a bit chaotic if you are there the first time.
The crowd will select what ideas they like by sticker democracy. You offer your skills to the team you want to work with. If they need you, then you join the team. No need to bring your CV, no time for that :)
How to select the team is up to you. Whether its the idea you like, the people or the chance to learn from the people on the team – up to you.
Socialize with the team
You will work hectic with the team the whole weekend. Spend time and get to know them as well. Friday is the day everyone go to the bar and continue discussions on the idea over a beer.
Get up early saturday morning
If you haven’t already worked on your business model. Now is the time.
Attend the business model workshop and learn why and how to make a business model using a Business Model Canvas.
Get your team on the same page
Everyone should understand what you are trying to make, what customers you have and how you will get those customers.
So continue working on your canvas with your team ( yes, even developers ;)
We call this the “brainstorming canvas”. It will have lots of stickers and it will look like a mess and that is the point since you are in “Yes” mode. Do it asap and everyone needs to be a part of it.
Refine your canvas page
You will now take the “brainstorming canvas” and decide what to concentrate on. The “brainstorming canvas” has many customer segments / value propositions. Select the customer segment you think is best and make a new canvas with the value propositions you believe in the most.
It´s ok to make more than one canvas. Eg. one for each customer segment.
This refined canvas you can do in your team.
You are just guessing anyway :)
Validate your idea
To validate your guessing you need to do some #customerdevelopment That means talking to real customers.
There are several ways to validate your canvas. And we point out some tools and techniques to do it.
DO THE LEARNING LOOP UNTIL YOU HAVE FOUND PRODUCT/MARKET FIT
Get out of the building and talk to the customers
Getting hold of the early adopters. The ones that will be your ambassadors, the ones that will help you understand the problem from the customer perspective. Remember that you at this point is not selling – you are LISTENING.
A trick is when you approach someone is to say something like:
“we are making this <solution> for <segment> and I think that you are one of the ones that really know this <pain, segment,?>. Therefore I would like your input on what we are trying to do.”
You are talking to the persons EGO, you recognize him/her as a specialist. You want her to tell you exactly what she want and how she think the solution should be.
If you are good then you make her think for herself after you have left “I´m glad I was able to help them. If they succeed it was because of the insight I gave them”. Read Steve Blank "Get the Heck Out of the Building" – he invented customer development
How to make a pitch is a useful lesson. In many cases you will have different pitches for different customer segments. There should be a pitch lesson at StartupWeekend – go there.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
What is the smallest thing you can create to see if customers are interested in what you are trying to solve.
If you are developing something. Then dont worry about whether the solution will scale when you get 10.000 users. Go for the quick and if necessary dirty solutions. Dropbox founder made a video faking what he was going to make!
Surveys / landing pages and other electronic warfare stuff
You can put up a landing page and see if you can get people to sign up. You can ask other StartupWeekend participants to answer your survey.
Update your canvas with what you have learned
You will learn by talking to potential customers. They will tell you if you are solving something they want. And if you do the LISTENING part good they will tell you exactly what they want.
Make a new canvas. Remove the stickers the customers did not want. Keep the ones they want. And add the stickers they told you they want.
(Ab)use the mentors: There will be specialists there to help you. Use them, that is why they are there. You are an entrepreneur – nothing is impossible.
If you see that you need to talk to customers and the time is late saturday evening. Remember then that there are more timezones on this planet !
END LEARNING LOOP
The presentation on sunday
You should start work on your presentation quite early. The presentation can be your MVP when talking to customers so it can also be used in the learning loop.
Assume that the jury knows nothing about if there is a market for your idea. You need to prove it to them that you have found customers that wants your product.
The number of people:
- signed up on your landing page
- gave their your email address
- took your survey
- gave you real money
The jury has an opinion, but it´s just a opinion. You have facts – that is what matters.
If you want to read more about judging. Read the blog post about How Investors Make Better Decisions: The Investment Readiness Level
StartupWeekend resource page – Great collection of tools and learnings
Good luck and have fun :)