Ways to make your business start-up profitable

Quang Hoang

CEO at Plato



The main challenge this mentee faces is pitching his product to more customers. He finds difficulty to communicate and sell the application and wants to pick ideas from the Plato experience. He is basically looking for recommendations on how to grow his start-up and make it profitable.

Actions taken

"I will explain the process we went through with starting up Plato up to the point we gained our first set of paying customers, and I hoped you could discover some techniques you could use to launch your business."

I summarized the Plato journey into five phases.

  1. Confirming the problem: We confirmed the problem we wanted to tackle - there are serious challenges that engineers/technical people face when they move to management roles - and aimed to understand it further.

  2. Collecting facts: We collected facts to understand the problem in detail by conducting a survey and talking to customers. We asked quantitative questions so that trends could be identified, as well as qualitative/open ended questions to dig deeper into the responses and experiences to see what to focus on.

  3. Confirming the business value: We confirmed the business value - we designed and built the product prototype using Google design sprint.

  4. Finding and hiring mentors: We set out to find and hire the first mentors. We dedicated time to talk and explain Plato to them and even conducted events to connect to more mentors and company leaders.

  5. Beta-phase launch: During the beta-phase launch, we set out a goal to find customers and users of our product. We tapped on connections to find and get introduced to VPs of engineering companies and showcase our capability. We found five paying companies whose managers agreed to become paid mentors and who will then use or test our product in return. We reached the fifth phase, three months after beta-launch, with 20 mentors, 5 paying companies, about 50 users with great feedback, and the product built in Slack. We focused our attention on two things - the user experience and marketing/sales growth. We worked closely with our end users to evaluate their experience and gather early feedback. They were satisfied with the product and gave very good suggestions to improve the features. With these developments and justification, we were able to level up pricing.

Lessons learned

"A strong start-up is one that is based on a solid foundation - a comprehensive understanding of the problem coupled with a sound execution plan on how the product will address the problem."

During product introduction, it is important to maintain communication with your customers through consistent check-ins or one-on-ones. This is to ensure you get feedback fast, you are able to provide timely solutions if they encounter issues, and they get the reassurance that you are there to work hand in hand with them. This helps establish trust with your customers, which will help translate into long-term relationships and growth for your business.

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Quang Hoang

CEO at Plato

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