As I grow as an entrepreneur I inevitably learn, develop and change my view on the world.
During the past weekend I had a wonderful trip to the countryside with my family. As it usually happens, a new startup idea was born in my brain while my body was busy enjoying the nature, chasing my daughter around and providing food. But this time, instead of spending too much energy and money building it, I wanted to first test the concept and check if there is anyone out there who thought it was a good idea.
Here is the story how I created a startup this morning.
1. What is the idea?
My newest startup will provide a dashboard for tracking SaaS metrics like churn and growth. I have GDoc with everything I want to build here. Including API, visualizations, people I want to get in touch with and even pricing. I did all of that yesterday. I thought it all made sense so that’s why I decided to take the next step(s) explained here.
2. Is this startup solving a problem?
Many startups end up building tools and dashboards internally to track their growth, churn and other metrics. Making data driven decisions is the only way for you and your investors to make good business decisions. In fact for my other startup, ManageWP, we built like 7 different dashboards and I know every other successful startup does the similar thing. So there is obviously a need for the product of this kind.
At least I know it is solving my problem, and I would be able to use the tool for any new startup I will be creating in the future. That’s usually good enough reason for me to venture into something, even it fails as a commercial product on its own.
3. Does competition suck?
Yes. Well at least in my mind. Check them out:
Also having competitors is a sign of a healthy, developing market. Game on!
4. Do I have a decent name? Is the domain free?
I think I do. I decided to call it Churn Bee. It it a combination of one of the most important SaaS metrics (Churn) and one of the most hardworking animals (Bee) and I thought it sounds good. You tell me.
Luckily the domain is also free. ChurnBee.com is now mine and live, for only $24 for three years. Yeee. Just in case I also got saasdashboard.com, perhaps as a helper site later to drive traffic to the service.
5. Create a landing page to collect emails of people interested in what I am about to build
This was actually the most time consuming bit but I still did it in under a two hours. I did not want to build the page in HTML, as I know that nowadays there are services that do this.
I heard about launchrock before so what I do when I want to find what’s out there is type in the keyword followed by “vs” in Google and then I usually get the best.
Couple of Quora and Blog articles later I decided to use KickOffLabs.
It’s free for first 14 days, but they did collect my CC upfront which sucks. I never like that. It has a number of templates and I went for the simple one.
I don’t want to make any mockups of the service or other images at this time, so I decided to keep the page minimal and text only. No logo at this time either, it’s too early and I would probably change it later anyway.
I did use a hexagon tile in the background, just for a bit of bee spice.
Writing content for the page was easy as I have a very good vision for the product and who will use it.
I am not too worried that I do not have fancy graphics, because people who sign up for the graphics are probably not going to pay later. Those who sign up with the crappy look as it is are highly likely to convert.
6. Add analytics
KickOffLabs supports Google Analytics so I went it and created a GA profile and added the code. I want to be able to see how many people visited it.
7. Host it on my domain
Branding is important from day one so next thing I did was move the landing page to my domain.
8. Spread the word
I will tweet and promote this on Facebook. I will ask couple of friends to share it. Will ask couple of LinkedIN connections for feedback. Engage on a few threads on Quora. I submitted the site to Betali.st and Feedmyapp.com for just a bit more traction.
I wrote this blog post. I added it to my Angel List profile.
9. What next?
If I get signups and initial positive feedback I will consider paying AdWords (for keywords like ‘saas dashboard’ or ‘saas metrics’) to get even more signups and also explore this potential channel for acquiring new customers in the future.
If I get more than 1,000 signups I will contact a couple of smart people in the market to join the startup as advisors. I know a lot about product development and metrics, but there are people who outclass my startups knowledge by far, especially investors.
And then I will actually start building this puppy, err bee.
10. Hoorah! I am done.
Just in time for the lunch!
That wasn’t too hard. I spent $24 and about three hours of my time, including writing this post.
If it takes off as planned, I will write a follow up post on what happened next.
Update: Got 33 signups so far (day after), with about 10% conversion. Got positive comments from people who signed up, with tons of ideas and suggestions of what they’d like to see. So far it seems encouraging and that people actually need this. Going to wait a few more days and then launch an Adwords campaign.
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