0.2 Decide whether you are building a lifestyle business or a scalable business
Typically, when people build companies, they fall under two categories:
Category 1 (aka lifestyle business) — the founders primarily launch their own business to be their own boss, to be free and to live a happy life. This means that they’ll probably not chase growth at any cost. Quality of life for their employees and them is what comes first. This is generally incompatible with raising funds.
Category 2 (aka scalable business) — the founders primarily launch their company because they want to have a big impact in the world, disrupt an industry or even make tons of money. This means that they’ll very much chase growth and scale, most probably try to raise funds and work on gradually reaching a valuation north of 100M€.
There is no good or bad choice there. There are some obvious pros and cons to both. The only mistake would be to have different expectations in the team and not talk about it early on.
1. Understand your potential customer
Get a deep understanding of your potential customers and identify a problem worth solving: to create products that win people’s hearts and minds, you first need to understand their lifestyle, beliefs, values, attitudes, interests, behaviours and needs. This will also help you identify potential competitors and stay focused. In order to get there:
1.1 Pick a niche
Remember that too narrow is better than too broad
It should be a group of people that resonate with your food philosophy
It should be a group of people that you know well enough to have rare and uncommon insights about them. This is typically someone similar to you or people you had previous experience with through work, life experience, research etc.
- Surveys — offline or online
- In-Home Ethnographies — explore your customer’s viewpoint in depth, potentially even going to their place
- Digital Ethnographies — explore your customer’s viewpoint via a video chat
- Studies of Online Communities — see what people say online on subreddits, Facebook groups, forums, Twitter and other social channels
- Identification of Food Tribes — pay attention to new diet trends. Is there a new habit some communities and influencers picked up?
- Polls in existing communities — find a relevant community where you can post your questions and ask for opinions