Original interview first appeared on How to write a business plan, by Matt.
Recently we caught up with Fileboard’s (500 Startups company) co-founder, Khuram Hussain. During the interview he introduces us to Fileboard and gives his advice on the business planning process.
Tell us what your company is all about.
Fileboard allows sales teams to deliver presentations from a single platform with slides, product demo’s, videos. We give insights and analytics on how customers are interacting with the presentations, how much time they spend on slides and how they share the decks within their company. This is valuable sales intelligence data without which sales teams are in the dark and waste too much time trying to gather this data. We do this on the web and on the iPad.
How did you come up with the idea for your company?
We started off with looking into some of the issues that we encountered with managing files on the iPad. We started researching areas related to this theme.
Can you tell us if / how you gained user insight before launching?
We ran surveys and conducted user interviews.
What metrics or numbers were most important in validating the demand ? How did you get this data?
We highlighted some problem statements in our surveys and carefully reviewed which problems were reported the most by the participants. The benchmark here was if 40% of people agreed to a problem statement then it was worth investigating further. The themes which emerged we followed up with doing interviews.
How did you go about acquiring your first batch of users?
Just pure word of mouth and later followed up with some PR.
You’re part of the 500 Startups accelerator program, how were they important to you?
The accelerator really helps in getting rid of a lot of myths about building a company and reveals a lot of the science about building a company. 500 Startups has a very strong focus on three key disciplines:
Design – Strong focus on target audience and keeping that in mind when designing your product.
Data– Measure almost everything e.g Basic metrics but also when launching new features measure the impact of these.
Distribution – Identify the best channels to get your product to the market.
What helped you guys get accepted to the accelerator? Pitch? Traction?
It was a combination of things. Personally I think it can never be the pitch alone. You need to back it up with traction data or your previous track record.
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur looking to get their company into an accelerator program?
1. Identify the problem you want to solve 2. Spend time researching and validating it 3. Build first version 4. Get your first few customers 5. Measure how you are growing 6. If you are growing then knock on the accelerator’s door 7. If you are not growing work until you are.
“Where” do you guys hope to be in the next year with your company (progress wise)?
We want to show significant growth in revenue and increase our team size.
What advice would you like to give to an entrepreneur thinking about writing their first business plan?
Don’t write a business plan. First talk to customers and do a lot of research then build something small and gather real market data about usage, customer responses etc and use that for raising money.
What were some lessons that you learned?
No 1 lesson would be to identify real users or customers for your product. Early adopters tend to get excited about anything but you want to find people who need your solution that bad that they are willing to pay for it.