15+ years management and specialist experience from banking, mortgage industry and insurance in analytical roles in Finance, Marketing and Personal Lines. Currently working with data management, analysis, strategy, sales, business development, project and people management in an analytics consultancy.
If you have invited investors inside, they do what investors do: They protect their investment. They use the tools they know, which are most likely more short term than your time horizon.
If you want to retain your creativity, innovation drive and passion, build your own war chest, so you decide on your own burn rate; in that case, your burn your own money, which can be done at whatever speed you prefer.
You could also invite different investors, who will be more patient, or more in tune with the innovation drive you prefer.
But you are where you are, and must make the best of it. A few tips on that:
1. Allocate time for investors and innovation drive separately. They are two different mindsets. And you most likely need the investors to be happy, and they only ask questions if they are not. Tuesday and thursday for external stakeholders - monday, wednesday and friday for creativity.
2. Change your mindset with regards to the external stakeholders; maybe they have something valuable to offer you? Do they have some smart money-characteristics? Where are they coming from? Maybe they are not a "necessary evil".
Let's set up a call to discuss this mindset further. It will be easier for me to give you input, if I know your circumstances better.
Offer great content establishing knowledge leadership in your field. Build following on whatever social media platform, that suits your business best. Offer some sort of subscription service, so you can inform about new content, and get to know, who your customers are individually. And then sell through those contacts through mailing or social media getting potential customers to contact you. For an introvert, this is much easier than cold calling. Then your leads would know what they are interested in. That is how I as a fellow introvert would approach it. You will feel much more comfortable, and focus on what you do best.
If you want to talk more about either sales process or introversion, feel free to schedule a call with me. First call is free.
High level, there are two ways you can go with this: Subscription model or payment for individual transactions/access to content. Subscription sounds like the best model here.
Judging from what you write, membership is a new thing for your site. So you should be free to price it as you want to. But remember, that whatever price level you are currently at, will serve as an anchor for your existing customers.
Also know, that no matter how much more you bring to the table, if you are too expensive, your current customers will look for alternatives. But it could be, that you are really better served by having a smaller volume of customers, if they just pay more.
My first step would be to understand on an individual basis, who your customers are, how they use your existing service, and how you think they will use your future service. Do phone interviews, surveys or something like that. If you are alone with this service, your customers should be loyal, and willing to offer their opinion to you. After that, you can decide on a viable business model.
Feel free to contact me, if you would like to discuss this further. I offer first call for free.
Good luck with the expansion!
I think it makes total sense. If you provide some standard dashboards with number of messages over time and similar, you can get everybody started. And it will give you a platform to interact with the subscribers. In my view, that is the cheapest and most low-risk way of developing it - to work with your customers. No way to know now, whether high level of sophistication is needed.
Consider doing your interaction as a blog, a support community or something similar to formalise the interaction. That would push yourself forward as well, and put a face on your service.
If you are cloudbased, you can do frequent launches of small changes in the analytics, and talk about them in your community. Also, consider looking into the thoughts of Design Thinking, which would give you different tools for teasing out the thoughts in your community.
Good luck with your subscription platform!
I am happy to volunteer! I have a more "classical" background in mathematical statistics, and I have followed the distribution of artificial intelligence with great interest and curiosity; also because, I feel, that the actual application and real life-value of AI-implementations often drowns in technical aspects. So what is actually delivered is more the Data Scientists "wet dream" rather than something, that works in real life.
If you are interested, feel free to contact me.
1. Start by focusing on the business problem, you want to solve, and how you want to implement the solution.
2. Don't be scared by the buzzwords (i.e. "If you don't use AI, you will be out of business in five years). Sometimes a standard report is fine.
3. Although you should start small by solving existing pains, be curious, and understand the potential for large scale solutions. Understand enough of the technology, that you understand the scale and type of problems that can be solved. But don't do this until you are done with 1. and 2.
Good question and good luck with it! If you are interested in further dialogue, feel free to schedule a call.
Other providers like you answer online questions (f.ex. Quora), maintain blogs, participate in online fora (Linkedin, etc.) with the purpose of increasing visibility of their newsletter offering. Not in a "subscribe to my newsletter"-message, but just honest Q&A with a link to their newsletter in their bio.
Just promoted a seminar on Linkedin from my company page, and it gave 30 new followers of our company. Not subscriptions, mind you, but visibility must be key here, linking to a landing page, where you explain the value you create - perhaps with testimonials from your trusted subscribers.
I have worked with a number of AI tools - both webbased and locally installed tools - and have a background in mathematics/statistics. So I am familiar with this space.
My suggestion is first and foremost focus on the use case - forget that it is an AI tool. If your tool provides value, and solves problems for your customers, they will come no matter the underlying technology.
When you say "web driven", I assume that this is some kind of subscription model, and you don't expect to sell anything face to face? Again, I would focus on use case (we solve problems), value creation (how much do we save or make?), ease of use (just upload this file and watch the magic happen), cloud installation (no need for own maintenance or local data scientists to maintain models).
In the AI-space, your competitors are often internal employees - data scientists, statisticians, etc., and they are familiar with their own tools. So find out, who is your target segment in the businesses. Most likely a data scientist would tell you, that "I could build that myself". But what about following maintenance cost, depending on individuals, etc. So do you target to data scientists or business users? Often successful projects happen in collaboration; one can not live without the other.
With regards to your focus on the US I am curious, why you focus there. Is that where you are located physically? Or there you see the most likely target customers? Since you are web driven SaaS, couldn't you go anywhere?
I hope this helps. Feel free to schedule a call, if I can help you further with this.
You have to think about how to differentiate yourself better. Stating SSAS and SSIS does not do that, and it does not explain the value, you create.
Selling Data Warehouses is often a hard sell, as it usually is expensive, and the customer does not understand the value, you create; management always get their answers even it means some poor controller has to work late to transform a csv-dump from somewhere into actionable knowledge.
Define the business problems, you solve; what are your use cases? And sexify your delivery by doing mockups in a nice frontend tool. Businesses buy from the looks of your output - not from the design of your data model (unless you sell to IT people). And try to combine your technologies into products, that companies buy off the shelf. Again - you’re selling the output, and people don’t want to understand the technology, if they can avoid it. (Unlike IT, where they will ask about maintenance, scalability, etc. So make sure you cover that too).
To get started, do some maintenance work with existing applications on a consulting basis to understand customer needs and make a bit of money.
Good luck! Feel free to set up a call, if you want to discuss things further.
You could go many different ways with this remembering that your fee should be high enough to make you money, but low enough to not bother your subscribers (and also not way off the market).
You could take your yearly maintenance fee, and divide it by 12. Then you have a monthly subscription fee. Then you have them on the monthly subscription model, and can sell up from there on added services.
If that doesn't create you enough revenue to actually make money, you need to formulate a relaunch model altogether. You create a new packaging of your service, a new pricing scheme, that will work for new business. And then you try to get as many subscribers as possible to the new model telling them about all the new good services, they didn't have before motivating the higher price. If they don't move with you, they don't value the new services high enough. Again - the new model should be competitive also.
Again there are multiple ways to go with this. If you want further dialogue on it, feel free to give me a call.