Don’t Sell Your Startup App Too Soon

Entrepreneurs love to sell an idea. Once they see that an idea has got some traction, they have a strong urge to pitch and sell it in the early stages. However, that is a mistake, as Abdo Riani explains. 

He suggests that rather than trying to sell, entrepreneurs should instead be “listening to your customers’ needs and developing deep insights that can shape your startup idea into a viable product.” He also suggests that once you can get customers asking about your value proposition, “then selling will not only be easy, it will be unnecessary.”

The steps to success

First, it is obvious that the early customers are likely to be a competitor’s customers. What they will want to know is how does your app compete on three things: cost versus value, strong brand, and or unique solution.

Riani says, “If you’re going to offer superior value at the same price, you need to figure out the problems your competitors’ customers face using those solutions.” In other words, look for the gap you can fill.

Second, discover your customers’ most urgent needs. Riani says, “A simple yet effective approach is to build a Customer Advisory Board comprised of your most engaged early buyers.” You’ll gather insights you wouldn’t get with a simple survey or interview.

He also points out: “As a rule of thumb, if customers can gain ten times more from your solution than it would cost them to cancel their existing contracts and memberships, your product becomes your most important, maybe only, sales tool.”

Third, your app solution must be irresistible to the consumer. Even though the first version of an app may not be the complete vision of what you want it to do, Riani suggests “you can focus on introducing high-impact features that delight and WOW the customer.”

You can do this even in a highly competitive market by focusing on a niche segment and tailoring the product to the needs of consumers in that sector. That alone can give your app the WOW factor.

Ultimately, the secret of success for startup app lies in “building a product customers cannot refuse to try, use, and recommend, even in the presence of solid competitors.”

If entrepreneurs follow this advice, they will have no need to sell their startup app at the beginning of its journey.

Stop using SMS for private messages

We all need to up our online security game, which is why I read a recent article by Zak Doffman, a cybersecurity expert, with great interest. He has advised his followers to stop using Facebook Messenger and switch to WhatsApp for security reasons. This is interesting because Facebook also owns WhatsApp, but the difference between the app and Messenger is one of security.

WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption. It’s so secure that as Doffman says, “lawmakers actually want weaknesses introduced to help them investigate crimes.” And if you think that perhaps Apple iMessage and SMS—including Google Messages –are safe, then Doffman says, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

Most messaging from your devices is encrypted, but the security depends on who holds the encryption keys. Doffman states, “When you end-to-end encrypt data or messages, keys are only held by the two (or multiple) endpoints of that link—you and the person you’re messaging, for example.” So, with WhatsApp, it can’t read what you send, which is the bonus, and it can be trusted to keep your messages safe and secure.

By contrast, Facebook’s Messenger is not end-to-end encrypted by default. Even Facebook recommended using WhatsApp instead of Messenger. Why don’t they fix the problem with Messenger you may ask? Well, apparently it’s technically complex.

SMS messages are another issue. Did you know “When you send an SMS, while it might be secure between your phone and your network, once there it can be easily intercepted and collected?” This makes SMS child’s play for hackers who can target senders and recipients. On the other hand, SMS is available on every single phone in the world, hence it’s popularity. However, it is used for “longer messages, MMS attachments, financial details, private data, sensitive information,” and that is where problems lie.

Whichever service you use, whether Apple or Android, there are SMS messages you will need to still receive—one time security codes, for example. But beyond texts from service providers, with security codes etc, you should not use SMS for your own private messages – stick to WhatsApp, or if you want even more security, use Signal, which is the app of choice for many working in the Cybersecurity sector.

China’s bid for world domination

The rumour that China plans to dominate the world has been circulating for decades. Its isolation from the West for a significant period of time made it even easier to turn the country into a Bogey Man. Some argued that it was a misunderstood country, whilst others held firmly to the view that China could never be trusted. These days, with greater media coverage of the world’s most populous country, we perhaps have a clearer view of its ambitions, and it seems some of the old rumours contain more than a grain of the truth.

Global expansionism is one of China’s tools. John Glynn writes that Beijing’s ‘Going Global’ strategy emerged in 1999, and it signalled the end of the “Mao-era mindset of self-reliance.” China suddenly started taking advantage of a boom in world trade and global market investments. Glyn says, “The idea that one government could commandeer sub regions in Asia, Europe and Africa, which account for 64 percent of world population and 30 percent of world GDP, might sound ludicrous. But try telling this to the Chinese government.”

Glyn also warns in his article that President Xi is engaged in an ideological and economic venture, and that it is clear the country has massive global ambitions, if its investments are anything to go by: “Between 2005 and 2017, the combined value of China’s global investment in construction was $1.8Trillion.”

What does it construct? The Chinese Government is making a concerted effort to increase infrastructural, economic, and political connectivity between China and the other countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Glyn calls it a “Belt and Road” initiative. But as he also says, it is essentially a new Silk Road connecting China to the rest of the world.

Glyn also remarks, “While other countries find themselves consumed by petty squabbles, Beijing officials discuss square footage, potential monetary gain, and militaristic strategies.”

It has invested widely in Energy, Transport, Real Estate and Metals — the key ingredients for developing infrastructure, and this has worried the Western governments, particularly the Trump presidency. That’s why he’s so keen to buy Greenland, an island mass that is rich in rare earth metals.

It is also the case that China has been involved in lending large amounts to other countries, and some fear that part of its strategy is to saddle these countries with “unimaginable levels of debt.” Furthermore a lot of this debt is “hidden” and that is especially worrying. Hidden debt means that the borrowing isn’t reported to or recorded by official institutions. A Kiel Institute study found that other countries’ debt owed to China has soared ten-fold since 2000, and it stated, “This has transformed China into the largest official creditor, easily surpassing the IMF or the World Bank.”

Much of this money is going to emerging markets. This is not because China wants to help grow these economies, but because it allows China to put those countries in a position of “indentured servitude.”

It is also looking to expand its military bases internationally. The US defence department expects China to add military bases around the world to protect its investments in its One Belt One Road initiative. Currently Beijing currently has just one overseas military base, in Djibouti. However, officials are planning others, including one in Pakistan.

This repressive regime has global ambitions and they are closer to being a reality than ever. Can China be stopped? The answer would appear to be — NO!