Gaby’s insights

Insights in building your start-up

By Gaby Ghusen

Over the past 2 months Fay de Grefte, Eline Maatje and I have been working on our start-up called Bakki! A service to get rid of the waste of To-go coffee cups. Triggered already? A lot more will come in follow-up posts. But for now, here’s a list of key learnings of the early stage of our start-up, which I hope you find interesting:

Use extreme situations to your advantage:

One of our criteria at the beginning of the project was to not let the COVID situation negatively affect our idea, whatever it becomes. Instead of that, we defined a problem space, where COVID acts as a catalyst instead of a resistor. In the past months the To-go coffee community got a boost, as people go out for coffee walks more. As a result the waste problem got bigger. This made us even more eager to find the right solution.

Don’t take yes for an answer:

We all know the saying ‘don’t take no for an answer’, well, in the early stages of your start-up, don’t take the ‘yes’ too quickly. Because, in our experience that means ‘I’ll think about it when the time comes’. At the beginning of our project we talked to some potential stakeholders who had interest in our project and they all said yes, we will help you. But, when the time came they held back. With the support of our coaches Matthijs Buijs and Jeroen Coelen, we are trying to find ways to validate if the yes actually means yes. 

Customer is not your customer:

Even though we were quite sure the coffee drinker was our customer (not the obvious, but after a lot of brainstorming and stakeholder analyses), after pitching our start-up idea to the coaches and other professionals we started doubting it. We haven’t had the time yet to revision our business model, but really thinking it through, provided us with insights about who our customer actually is. There is a serious chance that single-use cups will be forbidden by the government in the near future. Which makes coffeeshop owners a more valuable customer to look into.

Dare to leave your screen:

After we defined the initial problem, we immediately got out on the streets and talked to people. We grabbed a coffee and talked to the coffeeshop owners and their customers. We were able to gather an enormous amount of insights that helped us kick off this project. Only after gathering these insights, we could continue working behind our screens. 

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