Summer’s almost over and everyone’s trying to get in their last licks before the nice weather ends and school starts again. Investors have unplugged, for the most part. Things have quieted down. Of course, startups never rest, so what’s an entrepreneur to do, when sitting it out until September is just not an option?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Work on your deck. We know you’re sick of it and can recite it backwards and forwards. Test it on friends. Find an industry sounding board and get his/her feedback. He/she might know something or see something that you might have missed/never realized that your product/service addressed.
2. Release private beta. User testing is invaluable, so why not get capture some of that valuable feedback during this downtime and see what you might do to improve your product/service before presenting it to investors. Think of it as a final dress rehearsal.
3. Keep networking. One thing about summer, at least in New York, is that the networking events don’t stop, although they do tend to move to rooftop bars and venues. Talk to people. See who they might be able to introduce you to, be it clients or potential investors. Oh, and make sure take some time to enjoy the view.
4. Make a video promo of your product/service. You have a video right on your phone and who doesn’t have a friend with a bona fide video camera. Or rent one. Plus, the weather’s nice and people are out there on the streets. Show them your product and get some user feedback/testimonials. Always more entertaining the flipping through a powerpoint presentation.
5. Investors/potential partners may be out of town, but their profiles are still online and easily accessible. Do some research. Make a list. Check it twice. Talk to people from some of their portfolio companies and see what they have to say about those investors/partners you’re considering.
6. Focus on finding mentors and advisors who may be helpful to your company – and may help to make your company more attractive to investors/partners.
7. Do a group outing. You know, team bonding. Get out of the office and go white water rafting, or kayaking on the Hudson or in Brooklyn. You’d be surprised at how getting out of the office and into a new environment might inspire you. Or notice a potential problem with a team member or two, and always good to address these things early. If you need help organizing something, there is Stray Boots or SideTour.
8. Learn a new core competency. Learn to code. Teach yourself something about marketing, which is always very important and usually placed somewhere at the bottom of the list of things to do. Marketing is about getting the word out about your company/product, and not that that’s important. At all.
9. Take some time off. Doesn’t have to be a month in Montauk or two weeks in Tonga. Hit the beach! Rent a bike or a citibike (please wear a helmet – it is NYC).
10. Get some press. It’s summer, which tends to be a slower time for tech news, so you might have an easier time getting some online ink. Better yet: investors et al may be out of town, but they’re still online and keeping up with the online news.
Things definitely do quiet down – or traditionally have done – from this point on until after mid-September. There are still things to do, places to go and people to meet, if you’re a serious entrepreneur. You have your action list, and if we’ve forgotten anything, do let us know.