How to get the most from your next ‘Startup Advice’ themed coffee

I’ve learnt a lot (and still have a tonne to learn) since founding my first Startup.

I’ve been lucky enough to have met several great founders, mentors and advisers along the way. Most of these meetings have been over coffee, beer, dinner and even once in a gents toilet (!). Therefore I’m always happy to return this ‘karma’ by sharing my experiences, connections and advice with early stage founders wherever possible.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that I’m regularly spending too much of every coffee meeting talking about the same things. Therefore in in order to optimise future coffee ‘chats’, I’m going to suggest you review this ‘check-list’ before we meet. I hope that this will allow us to spend more time talking about your business .. and not the general business of startups.

Here is what you should know before we meet;

  1. AARRR – Pirate Metrics. This is a startup KPI framework first coined by (the always colorful) Dave McClure of Paypal and 500 Startups fame. Here is Dave giving a 5 minute introduction to AARRR and here is the slideshare. Study this and take 10 minutes to define what your AARRR metrics are.
  2. Read as much of what Mark Suster writes as possible. I would start with his best posts on Startup Advice. I would also encourage you to regularly read posts from Fred Wilson and Brad Feld.
  3. Read all about Lean Startups and Growth Hacking and learn the meaning of ‘MVP’, ‘CAC’, ‘LTV’, ‘Customer Development’ etc…

When it comes to your business, I want to quickly know;

  1. Why you?
  2. Why now?
  3. How can I help?

The first two are key to building credibility that you know your market and have the skills / experience / drive to succeed. The third question should be as specific as possible as it helps me understand how / if I can help.

Finally – despite being a product person – I really don’t care too much about your product. I want to know;

  1. Does your product work? If not when will it work / be launched?
  2. How are you going to acquire the customers / users / data you need to succeed?
  3. What is your biggest fear for the business?

I hope this helps you prepare for all your ‘startup advice’ coffees and let me know if you think I’ve missed anything.

P.S. Mines’s a latte :)

One thought on “How to get the most from your next ‘Startup Advice’ themed coffee

  1. Great Article! Only thing I could add to that is do a good background check on who you are meeting so you can have established certain things you want to get out of the meeting (10 minutes on linkedIn/twitter/their business). We’ve started to do it recently and we definitely get more out of ‘coffees’ by doing that.

    We’ve also found that the startup community is very open. Everyone we have met for coffee hasn’t wanted anything in return and that the start up community is really open to giving advice.

    Great article though, also latte? You know what they say, moment on the lips, life time on the hips :)

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