Five lessons Sergey Kotlov learned from THINK
There are multiple ways one can have an experience. What differentiates individuals from each other is the magical way of exploring things and the thought process that comes with.
An accelerator is an experience and for some an adventure. Being thrown into a funnel of business models and new startup terms can be intense but also rewarding. Experiences triggers new learnings and lessons, for some it iterates the business idea and for others it is another life lesson.
Sergey Kotlov, founder of Workshop Butler*, wrote in a blog post about the five lessons that had the biggest impact on his business idea. Sergey mentions that the program made him accelerate in his learning, push him to experiment faster and allow himself to fail. He states that even if it was not always the most pleasant experience, he is very grateful that he had it.
Below you’ll find the five lessons that Sergey learned:
1. Concentrate on one type of client only
Sergey recommend that when you’re alone or have a small team, select one type of clients and make them happy. Try to descale as much as possible. If it’s possible to divide customers from the selected type even more, divide it. If it’s not possible to divide, you’re probably not trying hard enough. For example, nowadays Workshop Butler concentrate only on freelance agile and IT trainers who charge participants through invoices and have their own websites.
2. Take it one customer at a time
“Concentrate on onboarding your first customer. You will learn from that customer more than from dozens of prospect interviews.”
Sergey mentions a phase in the program when the company was to focused on following to many leads at one, resulting in missing the window opportunity of testing and working with those clients that were considered most valuable. He states the importance of onboarding the customers one at a time. Or else you’ll find yourself spending several days wasting time that could have been better well spent.
3. Different pricing models for different types of clients
Sergey mentions the decision they made about their pricing models. How they choose to use the same pricing model for every type of client, a decision that cost them several weeks of redoing the price model and losing money. Sergey writes the fact that they, as of today, have a functional pricing model. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. It is important that you take time and try different solutions before making any harsh decisions.
“Don’t repeat our mistake, make sure you have different pricing models tailored to your different clients.”
4. Don’t scale too early
Sergey states the importance of prioritising the right things. Perhaps you don’t need to fix payment details and waste time on finding different solutions. Perhaps you need to focus on finding the customers first.
“Any decision related to your company and product should go through a scaling check. Hiring, team salary, billing, customer support, etc. Most scalable solutions require additional time, costs and effort you don’t have in the beginning. Think twice if you need a solution that scales right now.”
5. Believe in yourself
Sergey writes that you should always be prepared that your experiments could fail. Probably more times than they succeed. This is normal and everyone does it. He also mentions that it takes a hundred experiments in order for one to succeed and compares it to when an investor choose to invest in multiple startups at once and only one make a good return on investment. When failure happens it is important that you don’t lose belief in yourself.
“When you feel you don’t believe in yourself anymore, drop everything and find an activity that distracts your brain for a while. Go and meet friends or family. Open a book or do some physical training. And remember: experiments fail, not you.”
Read the full blog post about Sergeys 5 lessons here!
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*Workshop Butler is an integration tool that helps trainers and teachers to manage workshops and classes. By using a more structured and responsive calendar that enables an easier management of events and workshops. More information about Workshop butler here!