Make it Happen March: You can have an incredible new, needed product or service but if you don’t have any customers you do not have a business or possibility of a sustainable organization.
You need customers/users and multiple ways to find and sustain them to grow your business.
In short this month is all about how you GET, KEEP and Grow your customers or said another way: Sales and Marketing.

Core Concepts:  Customer Acquisition strategies and Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) $ and time, Customer Relationships/Retention, Marketing & Distribution Channels.

Knowing how you are going to get your customers, how long and how much it will cost you and what revenue these customers bring allows you to set your revenue milestones and drive your business model.

Want to know if you're presenting on Sunday?

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This is listed in a detailed step-by-step fashion. Please be sure to review all portions of this page:

March Assignments

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Unless otherwise noted, items are due on March 2nd at 9:00 AM

This is listed in a detailed step-by-step fashion. Please be sure to read everything and make sure to budget your time accordingly. 

Things listed as "tips" are just that, optional resources you can take advantage of if you wish.


  1. Fill in your MasterMind Goals Log

  2. Schedule some VVM community support/network meetings between bootcamp weekends. You have several choices:

    1. Sign up for a group session (6 startups meeting at the same time with Liz). They are held during lunch at VVM. 

    2. Schedule a 20 minute session with an EIRs.  They are awesome - take advantage of their expertise and availability.  Each is offering 10 - 20 first come first serve slots for startups between bootcamp weekends via their scheduling apps of choice linked on their bios

    3. Ask for a 20 minute meeting with one of our Super Mentors.  Links to their LinkedIn profiles, their email addresses, expertise and images are located in the directory.  Please note they are doing this as volunteers and have each offered to speak with up to 4 of you a month.  So if you take too long, they might be all filled up!  Please put this in the subject of your email “VVM Accelerator, SuperMentor.”  Be sure to read and follow VVM’s networking etiquette guidelines.


Interview 40 customers/key partners/industry experts to test your current hypotheses (as covered in this month’s presentation, see below).  Tips…

  1. You may very well be calling these people back for follow-up interviews next month / in the future. So update your script to ask permission to do so / set the stage for you to do so.

  2. Update your interview script so it is testing the hypotheses we’re focusing on in March (how you get, keep, and grow customers) as well as any from last month that you still need to validate.  One great way to do this is to update your business model canvas to reflect all that you have learned so far.  Strike out invalidated hypotheses, mark validated hypotheses so you know you can move on, and add/update the remaining hypotheses to reflect what you’ve learned.

  3. Remember to populate your Call List/CRM with lots of leads.  Now that you have a strong peer network, don’t hesitate to ask (nicely) for referrals from them… or even to interview them directly if they are a fit!

  4. If you would like refreshers on interviewing tips, check last month’s pre-work for videos and reading.  As you master the basics, reviewing these materials help you with more advanced techniques you heard but might not have been ready for the 1st time around.

  5. When people give you an answer, strongly consider asking Why a few times. This is called “5 Whys” and is a proven, and powerful, technique.

  6. Sample questions to consider: 

    1. For GETTING customers: What is a new product/service you have purchased lately?  How did you hear about it?  What made you decide to purchase it?  Where did you get it / how was it delivered / did the service provider come in person, remote or other?  Is this your preferred way to get products/services?  

    2. For KEEPING customers:  I imagine there are a lot of competitors to [product/service that they use that isn’t yours], why don’t you switch?  What keeps you with [product/service]?  How do you interact with the company that makes [product/service]?  What do you like/dislike about their customer service?  The last time you “fired” a vendor, why did you do it?

    3. For GROWING customers: Have you ever purchased any upgrades for products/services you/your company use?  How did you learn of these upgrades?  What convinced you to upgrade?  Have you been happy with the upgrade?  Do you ever get (or give) recommendations on products/services to your peers in your company or in similar companies?  How do you do it?  How do you thank people that recommend things to you?  Has [competitor/someone else that sells to your customer] ever provided incentives for referrals?  Which ones worked, which ones didn’t?


  1. Update your 1 minute elevator pitch.  You get 1 minute during speed dating, so feel free to continue to use the 30-second elevator pitch template if you like it and expand on it.

  2. Prepare your Peer Percolate Presentation. This is a presentation, with slides, focusing on how your company will get, keep, and grow customers.  You will deliver this presentation live to your herd on day two of the bootcamp weekend.  1/3 of you (look here for a list of what month every team is presenting) will also deliver this same presentation to a panel of judges during our practice judging session on Sunday.  

    1. Requirements:

      1. No more than eight (8) minutes long. 

      2. Google Presentation format.

      3. The file name must be named {MyCompanyName}_March.  

      4. First slide MUST list your company name, in-a-tweet description, and the number of customer development interviews you have completed since Jan 1.

      5. Your last slide MUST be a repeat of your first slide.  This helps judges / peers remember your company (and your) names and key facts.

      6. The rest of your presentation MUST cover all the topics covered in the March Peer Percolate Presentation template.  It is strongly recommended (but not required) that you present them in the same order and with roughly the same time allotments as the template as well.  Feel free to alter the formatting, look, and feel of the presentation any way you like.

      7. You must deliver your final version of your presentation into your herd’s subfolder in the March Peer Percolate Presentations folder by Saturday, March 3rd at 8:30 AM. Watch this video if you're confused on how to upload!

    2. Tips:

      1. You will notice you have to repeat and condense key components (Customer, Value Proposition, Competitive Advantage) from your last month’s presentation in half the time to make room for Get, Keep and Grow your customers in your 8 minutes pitch. Be sure to review all the February feedback you received from peers, EIRs and judges if you presented Sunday (look at scores and comments!)

      2. Review the March Score Sheet that will be used to give you feedback and make sure your presentation is addressing these questions.

      3. Review our Best Practices for Presentations and at a minimum read Really Bad Powerpoint if you didn’t last month.  Use your pitch time and visuals/slides strategically!

      4. Check your peer percolate feedback here.


Prepare for MasterMind.  Prepare an informal presentation (no slides) for your day three MasterMind group that:

  1. Thank everyone in the herd who helped you over the past month by name & need.  Review last months goals.
  2. Example: “I’d like to thank: Juanita for referrals to critical interviewees; Salim for helping my CTO smash a really tricky tech issue; and Akahito for just sharing a drink with me when I was really down last week - I needed it!”
  3. Updates your peers on if you hit your goal and if not, why.
  4. Shares the most important goal you wish to complete by the next bootcamp.
  5. The steps you are planning to take to address it.
  6. The help you need.


Optional reading/watching/listening that will give you strong insights into this month’s bootcamp.

  1. Sign up for VCRP with Jay Leonard.
  2. We strongly recommend you go through Udacity Lessons 7 & 8 (Channels & Customer Relationships) to give you a solid understanding of the topics you are interviewing people about.  
  3. Some great content on GAN insights portal on Marketing for startups.
    1. Inbound Marketing with Dharmesh Shah, Founder of HubSpot (54 min video)
    2. Guerrilla Marketing With John Greathouse, (49 min video)
  4. If you would like some quick marketing tips:
    1. Podcast Episodes:
      1. Unbounce’s Oli Gardner on Building Startup Landing Pages That Convert [Traction #22]
      2. Upserve CEO Angus Davis on How Startups Sell to Main Street
      3. Contently CEO on Working with Big Brands as a Startup [Traction #20: Joe Coleman]
      4. How Location-Based Startups Gain Traction City-by-City [Traction #16]
      5. How Hardware Startups Gain Initial Traction [Episode #14: Ben Einstein]


Use the Slack channel (#homework) for any questions, your cohort is happy to help!

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