Saturday, April 27, 2019

Startup Challenges And FAQ || Interview Session With NEO

Ever thought of starting a business or building a brand, but you are scared of launching out? Technology has made it easy for anyone to startup and reach their target audience with little or no upfront capital. Below is an interview session carried out on HNG Internship - A remote internship sponsored by hotels.ng - NEO a software engineer answers major startup questions and challenges.

QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH NEO (Co-Founder HNG Internship)



About NEO
Neo Ighodaro is the former CTO of Hotels.ng and currently a senior software engineer in Germany. He is the Founder CreativityKills and cofounder HNG Internship. He is here to provide insight on completing a product, getting them live and commercializing them.

Question
I am from team Dragon Beast, I have two questions
1. How do you make sure everyone is aligned in your company, and all working towards the same goal?
2. My team has a remote job platform, Should we sell subscription for updates on available jobs, or make people pay for us to apply for them?

Answer
1. First, the company needs to have a simple and well laid out goal. Everything else should hinge on this goal. Aligning everyone can be impossible sometimes to rely on the one true source which is the company goal. Keeping everyone facing the one goal will make sure you retain creativity while being goal oriented

2. I think this depends on the market you're selling to. I would say the best one is getting a contract with the job finder to pay a %age finders fee when they get the job. You can also go one step and charge the company also. It all depends. Study the market first.

Question
When you think of a product and the ideas are all in your head..what should you factor in before setting up the product?

Answer
A goal. This is one of the first few things I outline. One simple goal the product solves. Do this well and *fast* and get the product out. After this, you can use feedback to understand if it's a good idea of what you can improve or remove.

Question
In launching a product, you have certain assumptions about a market need and the value you are bringing. What is the best way to test those assumptions and achieve product-market fit without burning too much cash and time?

Answer
The best way to validate any idea go is by building an MVP. A true MVP. With this, you can measure interest and also get reasonable feedback. Before getting started you might also want to do light market research. In my experience, however, there is always a market for any idea you have. You just need to find it and check if it's big enough

Question
Hi @Neo what is the best way to sell a product-in-progress to your potential customers?

Answer
Lmao. Give them what they need from your product first. The dream you sold to them.

Question
how do you know when the timing for a product is right. I.e you know that the product you're building will be useful to users at that time so they'll actually want to
pay for it?

Answer
Well, you can't really know this. But like I said in the previous question, having an MVP out there will answer most of your questions regarding the product and its viability for the market.

Question
So I have this great idea that I think will sell But I find it difficult to join its pieces together and come up with a working prototype. How should I go about building up this process at the beginning stage?

Answer
• Write.
• Take a pen and paper and write out the problem you're solving in one short sentence. Then write out the solution in another sentence.
• Write out the barest minimum you need to bring THAT solution to life.
• Work.

Question
1. How do you carefully sustain a career change in tech?
2. What measurement yardsticks do you use to dictate the lifespan and sustainability of a product in the market, during the pre-launch and launched stage?

Answer
1. I'm not sure what the real question is. But I have changed careers in tech many times. It's just about what you want at that time. Having the flexibility to accept and focus may be key. But always stay in sync with whatever career you changed from.

2. There's nothing to measure sustainability pre-launch. Except maybe how much you have and how much it costs to get a customer. When the product has launched, you can already know how long it'll last from measuring how much it takes to get and keep one customer. Most businesses die eventually because of no money and bad management. To avoid that, you should have a sustainable product. Profit is another thing though

Question
I am from team DragonBeast. I have two questions.
1. How do I make my product stand-out even if there are several products out there that are related to my product? 2. how do I keep the customer service for the product after a long period of time?

Answer
1. If there are products that do what yours do then it's not only about features anymore. I think to stand out you just need to do it stably. I mean to keep the product doing what it says it'll do, faster, better, quicker. Then add the niceties.
2. Not sure what you mean but I think you'll have to hire people innit.

Question
Is content writing a very effective tool in selling a product with very high competitors Or please, what is the most effective tool to get it famous in the market in this situation?

Answer
It has its place and it can be effective. I think user generated content around your product (if applicable) is a far stronger tool. If people talk about your product you're
sitting on a gold

Question
good afternoon, am from DragonLegend. When do you start thinking about product scaling? Do I have to wait till I have reached some number of users?

Answer
You'll know when your servers start going down intermittently. You can start to preemptively scale but it's going to be a waste of time better spent on improving the MVP

Question
is it advisable to start up a new product selling to users especially in Nigeria when there are other big competitors giving it out for free?

Answer
No. Nigeria as a market likes free. If you can model your business differently by not selling to them directly maybe there'll be a bigger chance of success. But again there's no manual. Some people prefer paying to get their money's worth.

Final Words From NEO
Thanks all for the short session. Eventually, I think the most important thing you need to note out of everything is this: MVP is the answer to all your questions. Get it out there. No one really knows what they are doing. Try it yourself and try often. You have a better chance of getting a product successful from 100 decent tries than getting one successful from 1 very good try.

Those are key challenges start-ups face in early stages. To get the full interview session, download the PDF version through this link

Do you plan on starting a business or already running one, share your thoughts and challenges with us via comment session.

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