Building a Kitchen Cabinet
In the early stages of of an idea, project, or Company it’s very helpful to form a set of people you can lean on and get feedback from. I have heard this called a “kitchen cabinet” of advisors, and I love the name. I recommend everyone in this early stage form this core group.
I have had early discussions and feedback sessions with entrepreneurs, which sometimes leads to using an early alpha version of a product, service, or app. This leads to further discussions and hopefully I am helpful. Communicating with real users early is essential to success, and having these discussions with this group is a great way to show progress and get an outside viewpoint.
These folks can lead to advisor roles (formerly), leads in the future, employees, investors, and many more things. They can also make a great sounding board when you are in need of an outsiders opinion or even need to vent.
Post first demo/pitch/meeting
One of the missed opportunities I see after an initial chat with someone about their idea or prototype is the ability to stay in touch. Its common curtesy to ask to email questions in the future, or follow up with new versions or information, but I recommend people take it a step further.
When you are done with your coffee meeting/feedback session/demo/pitch – ask if you can add folks to your “stay up to date” list. This should be a no action item email that comes at most once a month with material changes to your business. It could be a new version, it could be a new hire, it could be a new demo – something that the person who opted into would want to hear. This is a great way to keep people in the loop, let them unsubscribe if they want, and keep folks up to date on your progress.
There are lots of free ways to manage your list of interested folks such as mailchimp which is a free way to add folks to a subscribed email update list.
Both of the ideas listed above happen in the first few meetings with someone and can lead to much more in the future. You only get one first impression and you also only get one first demo – make the follow up and time spent worth it for both of you by thinking about what happens next.