Startup Cabin Blog

Lessons from Relationdesk

Posted by Steve Ferris on 30 November 2014


Fritjof Andersson is the founder of Relationdesk.

When we sat down with him, he shared how landed clients like Panasonic as his 1st customers, how he prepares for important meetings and speaking engagements. He offers an experienced view into the "soaring" highs and the "curled up on the floor crying" lows that every entrepreneur faces along their journey to success. Here's what we learned...


1. Pursue large clients 1st.

Large clients are advanced in their operations, and can offer great feedback that will allow you to solve their big company problems. This knowledge is much more valuable than revenue in an early stage startup, and will position you to serve other large clients as well.

2. Go to meetups.

Meetups and mingles offer a place to meet people in your industry who have problems your product/service can solve. You can organize groups to gather very niche groups of people. Don’t be too aggressive with your selling, just provide the space, add to discussions, and your value will become evident. You will build good relationships, and attract qualified, organic leads.

3. Stability trumps features.

Big clients will want to know that you are stable, and able to provide your service far into the future. Stability and security will rank higher than your feature list.

4. Be sure your product solves a specific problem. 

Your product must solve a specific problem for a “person” within the company. Realize that you are dealing with people. Get to know the  individuals who will use your product, and work hard to understand what they need.

5. Co-create your product with your customers.

Not every great idea will come from you alone. Your customers will also have their own ideas to make your product better. They may even be able to show you how it would work and look. Then all you need to do is show the proposed feature to other clients and gauge their response. This will weed out the bad ideas as well.

6. How to prepare for important meetings.

  1. Set a goal. Ask, “If this goes amazingly well, what is it that has happened?” (sign contract, get referral) Then stay focused. 
  2. Research the person you will be talking with so that you are mindful of how you speak and act with them. Are they tech-savvy, religious? Ask people who know them personally or through work.
  3. If you feel intimidated, try to understand that you are speaking with a person. Be calm and respectful.

7. How to handle your anxiety when public speaking:

  1. Jump, run, pump your fists in the air, do anything to get that nervous energy out.
  2. Pay attention to your gestures and posture. Don’t slouch over your notes cramming last minute. Walk with swagger, or do some victory moves because this will produce testosterone and make you feel more confident.
  3. Get a playlist to pump you up and inspire confidence.

8. Get used to being uncomfortable.

Get used to being uncomfortable as an entrepreneur and learn to manage yourself though it. When things go wrong, feel it, freak out, cry, curl into the fetal position, then get your head together and figure out how to move ahead. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible business person, or that your company is doomed. This is just the reality of being an entrepreneur. Bad stuff happens, and it’s on you to manage it. So when shit hits the fan, you feel then deal. (Let’s put that on a coffee mug!)

9. The goal of business is... 

The goal of business was once explained to Fritjof by his mentor from GE, “We want other people to transfer money to us. They don’t do that voluntarily, so we have to motivate them in different ways.” This leads to the last lesson...

10. Have a revenue plan besides getting acquired. 

Want to hear Fritjof for yourself? You can listen to our interview on our podcast.

Tell us in the comments below which one of these resonates the most with you and your experience. And if you feel other's could benefit from Fritjof's advice, please share!

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Topics: Marketing Strategy

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