Berlin StartupCamp 2016 summary

Last week we had an amazing opportunity to visit Berlin once again. This time it was to attend StartupCamp again (we were there last year and it was great).

How was it this year? Read this post to figure out for yourself;)

I decided to give you some simple take-aways, without going further into details - I would be more than happy to discuss them with you in person - if you want.

Investors & VCs

Startup Strategy 101: Surviving the early days by Claude Ritter

  1. Have a long term-plan, but do not focus on it - it hardly ever works. Concentrate on short-term initiatives, because this is something that actually happens.
  2. Never try to do things ONLY for your investors. Align your plans to theirs if you really must.
  3. Always have a plan. Because if you won't they will come up with one, and they are not the ones that know your market that well (in many cases)
  4. NEVER do things that do not matter to the goal you want to achieve. (ex. if you want to maximize profit margin, going to many markets at once might not be the best idea)

Reality Check: 5 of the biggest myths about growing your business by Mark Miller

  1. The larger the market, the further you should run away from it. It is way easier to be a large part of a small market. This especially goes for building a sustainable business without VC's help.
  2. It is a lot better to get money&feedback from your potential customers than from your VC - so focus on customers ASAP
  3. Do not "build to exit". This will make you fail. Try to build a good, sustainable business and only when you have good revenue, think about going further.

26 years of lessons learned: How to secure constant international growth without any investor by Carsten Mickeleit

  1. Build the right team from the beginning and create a good brand.
  2. Even if you do need an investor - talk to them. They will give you feedback, some of which might be of value.
  3. Avoid HotSpots for building your company. Nobody will buy your product just because you have an office in Silicon Valley. They will buy it if they love it:)
  4. Focus as much on the value for your customers as you can, not the revenue itself.

Sales process:

Top Keys to Market-Success for Startups by Reike Treder

  1. Do not sell to markets, SERVE the markets.
  2. A product will NEVER sell itself. TALK to your customers and never wait for your product to be perfect. VAST majority of clients will reach to you very late in their buying process (78%).
  3. FAIL! Fail early and you will fail cheap.
  4. Never stop sourcing new leads, move them along and be data-driven when it comes to sales.
  5. OVER-Service your first customers - they will be referencing you.

Successful Sales Strategies! Who knows best – buyer or seller? - Panel

  1. If you can, get yearly or 2-years subscriptions - it will give you cash upfront.
  2. If a client tells you NO, call the next day and ask him friendly why he did not choose you although you thought there was a fit. Always stay friendly when your customer tells you NO.
  3. Every client who says NO, but is amazed by your product can be asked to recommend you.
  4. Question "what can we add to the product so that you will be interested in buying it" is really worth a shot.


Do’s and Don’t’s when it comes to managing people by Artur Steffen

  1. Make sure your team knows who you are hiring.
  2. Promote, before hiring. If you are not promoting - tell your team why.
  3. Make sure experts can have a significant role WITHOUT taking over leadership.
  4. Recognise people for doing good job!
  5. ADMIT your mistakes, ask people about their opinions and listen.
  6. Communicate your expectations clearly and never bullshit your team.
  7. Maintain confidence in your company
  8. Never make impulsive decisions.
  9. Never demand impossible.
  10. Educate people to solve problems by themselves.

For me, some of those take-aways were eye-opening. Some of them were obvious but its always nice to hear them once again. I hope you will find them valuable and try to align your personal and company goals to match some of them:)