The Offline Startup

Published on 27th Feb 2017

Every first-time entrepreneur we’ve spoken to comes with a technical spec document as long as their arm. They are excited about building a platform packed with cool features and other stuff they’re sure their users want. If they could just build it then the market would be theirs for the taking!

Second time around, however, entrepreneurs are much more introspective and considerate of the bigger picture. Simply building lots of features rarely creates the best solution to a problem.

Forget the tech

Launching a business is nothing new so why use expensive tech when there are other ways to engage your audience (and even start generating revenue!)? Tech can really help you get ahead but building good products is expensive, so you shouldn’t do so until you can be sure you’re building the right thing.

Offline first

Screenshot

Headliner is a platform for bringing together live acts and event bookers. It’s aimed at the corporate events and wedding market and is run by a team of co-founders who had already built and launched an online business before.

It’s a modern solution for an industry that has been around for decades and was in need of the drastic improvement that (well-executed) tech can enable. However, the problems that they were trying to solve were common and shared by many so to be able to take this online it was important to work out what was wrong with the existing solution. How best could they do this? Simple, do it the old fashioned way first!

This tech startup initially set up shop as a traditional, offline booking agency. They had a small number of acts and a load of corporate contacts who needed acts for their events. Using emails and phones they started the process of matching the two up, learning along the way what the common issues were and what problems a tech solution could, and should, solve.

When they they started to prototype and build a tech solution they knew a whole load more about what would and would not work.

Take it online

If you understand each of your customers’ day-to-day problems you are in a powerful position when it comes to designing the solution. Spending time in their shoes is a perfect way to find these problems out first hand.

Traditional businesses have operated in many of the sectors that have recently been disrupted for decades. Mimicking them, even temporarily, may well give you the upper hand once you come to create your final product.

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