Five Pillars from an Expert
By Jonny Boyarski & EKOS.AI
As a previous advisor in a startup accelerator, a founder of multiple companies, Jonny’s experience has led to invaluable insights. Jonny has worked with startups from pre-seed through Series A from every industry around the world, and is drawn to the startup world to help businesses grow.
Jonny Boyarsky is an expert when it comes to advising startups and setting them up for success. Literally Helping Startups supports founders for free by putting them in touch with investors, resources and experts in the space they are building in. As a previous advisor in a startup accelerator, a founder of multiple companies, and the current founder of Literally Helping Startups, Jonny’s experience has led to invaluable insights. Jonny has worked with startups from pre-seed through Series A from every industry around the world, and is drawn to the startup world to help businesses grow. He loves working with people who are trying to build their dreams and being surrounded by innovation. He offers unbiased expert support to founders with the goal of being able to help build out long term, scalable businesses.
EKOS: What characteristics do you look for in a startup that gives you the confidence to endorse them to investors?
Jonny: “There’s five pillars we look at, with accompanying questions, when deciding if a company is investable.
Idea, Problem, Solution and Product: Is this a good idea? Is the problem both wide and deep? Are you going after a market that really has a need? There are a lot of people out there with a solution in search of a problem, but we always say start with the problem, and discover the solution.
Team: Are you guys the ones to build this? We evaluate founder market fit by looking at experience in the industry, the background of founders, and the grit of the founders. It’s important we see that they have tenacity and even the self-awareness to know when its time to pivot.
Traction: Are you getting this off the ground? Are you starting to talk to customers? Are you getting users on board? We recommend getting some kind of initial users or customers no matter what stage you are at.
Scalability: Is this something that can ever really grow 10x year after year? Do you have processes in place that make this company scalable?
Storytelling: A founder has to be able to articulate what they are doing. We work with founders to make sure they are pitching correctly, reaching out to the right investors and really trying to be a visionary in what they’re building.
EKOS: What is the biggest mistake you see early stage startups make?
Jonny: “A lot of people burn through money fast. They’ll get a check in the door and then start spending every dollar, hiring, consulting and giving up too much equity. The best thing to do until you have serious revenue and user traction is keep things lean. Unless it is a heck yes with a resource, then it should be a heck no! Really make sure that you focus on the people and the resources that are going to drive scalable growth and not just what feels or looks right in the moment."
EKOS: What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to an early stage startup?
Jonny: “Not enough people talk to clients or build alongside clients. When you are just starting your business, you have the best go-to-market strategy which is discovering the problem. So many people in different industries are willing to have a conversation with somebody that’s thinking about building something. Nine out of ten times, I’d get a meeting when reaching out to someone for advice, then I would foster that relationship in an earnest and thoughtful way. I would say to talk to them regularly every time you have a new idea or feature, so when you launch your MVP, they are excited and feel like they have contributed to it. While some founders want to reveal their MVP to people after they have built it, they miss the opportunity to build a potential client and user base along the way."A skilled leader not only possesses a deep understanding of business principles and strategies, but has exceptional interpersonal skills, empathy, and a genuine passion for helping others succeed. What is most important though, is that their impact extends far beyond individual ventures, as they have the power to shape the mindset, values, and collaborative spirit of the entire community.
A business must be led by a good team who can communicate well what they are doing, solve a problem, attract users, and be scalable.
Spend venture capital money on resources that add value to the company wisely.
Build a community to get feedback from while you build an MVP.
Jonny centered much of his framework when working with founders around the 5 pillars of problem, team, traction, scalability and storytelling. If any of these are missing, it may be a reason why your business is not getting any funding or interest.
Literally Helping Startups is here to help build your network to connect you with the right people and ideas, and get you the feedback to help your business thrive.
Community is vital in the early stages of a business and the more feedback a founder can get, the more they can know if they are solving the right problem for the right people.
Manage your community today on EKOS.AI.