Everyone always says that the key to creating a successful company and then monetizing on it is to hustle. Hustle. Hustle. Hustle. But what exactly does that mean? How do you even get the opportunity to hustle to an investor? How do you approach a major company and try to secure a deal with them?
Jesse Rendell is someone who has secured business deals with major whales including Ebay, Annheuser-Busch, and KPMG as his role as Director of Business Development at Scavify. Here are some of the tips he provides to entrepreneurs when they start a company:
1) Have a Story
Rendell says that the number one way to find success in gaining clients and customers is to have a "story." People really don't care about what your product does. It's boring quite frankly. Rather he advises founders to consistently be talking about their story. He talks about how all his experiences in life--whether it was dropping out of Penn to start a band, or going to law school, or starting Scavify--helped him find his story. "It's the hook," Rendell says.
People want to know why you're doing something. The "why." People don't invest or write about what your doing, they write about why you're doing it, and what makes it unique. Once you know why, it's much easier to convince others in your "why," and convince them to help you.
2) Just work hard to find your first customer
Once you have that hook and you have your product, he says that an entrepreneur's goal shouldn't be to "get tons of customers." That's just not going to happen. "Mass marketing is very hard.... People talk about SEO and everything a lot, and sure that can help, but that's not where your major customers and revenue is going to come from." Rather, an entrepreneur's goal should just be to find his first customer. "You may get press for your company and people may say that it's amazing, but the big-guys want to see that you have a 'use case'--someone has actually used your product and benefited from it." Once you have at least one person using your company, you can show the next company "this is our app, this is how company X is using our app, this is how they're benefiting, and here's how you can benefit from it."
Just by having that one supporter--or "validator," Rendell says that a lot more people are willing to work with you. There is market authentication.
3) Minimize as much legal work while bootstrapping
Because he is a lawyer, Rendell says that many times, he drafts his company's contracts. "At the end of the day, it's all about making a deal, and finalizing it. If some major company doesn't like our deal, I'll change it. If we have to pick up some liability, so be it. All I'm looking to do is secure that deal." In its early phases, Rendell recalls how instead of hiring a lawyer who was going to charge him $300 an hour to put together a terms of agreement, he went to a few of the major app developers, found out what was common within all of the forms, did a little bit of editing, and then had a legal terms of conditions form ready for his app for free.
Accordingly, Rendell suggests that something every entrepreneur should have understandings of the legal aspects of entrepreneurship. He recommends that everyone go online and just read some basic contracts out there; "you can learn a lot just by reading what's already out there." He also suggests that entrepreneurs take advantage of Pro Bono work. Each law firm has to fulfill a certain number of pro bono service hours for the community; "use your network and take advantage of that."
*Image of Jesse Rendell from Haines-Law
About the Author:
Rajat Bhageria is the author of What High School Didn't Teach Me: A Recent Graduate's Perspective on How High School is Killing Creativity. Additionally, he is the founder of ThirdEye and is currently a student at UPenn. Find out more about Rajat at his personal blog: RajatBhageria.com