enter image description hereYup, on a cup of tea.

Not for me, but for a highly experienced film and TV Production Manager who had agreed to meet me to discuss Indibook and our plans for the service. A cup of tea seemed the least I could provide, given that he was sparing me half an hour of his valuable time.

So we sat and chatted and, you know, this guy just absolutely GOT what we were trying to do with Indibook and, more importantly, gave us some invaluable insight into why, in its current form, it probably would not work. Yes, you could build it, but few of the key players would want to use it. Wah?!

It was one of those ecstasy and agony conversations where I realised we were possibly about to build the wrong product for our customers. I had under-estimated the importance of a trusted part of the current booking system and made some over-confident assumptions about our customer's willingness to change their working practices. I had had this inkling from other conversations with producers, but this one hit home hard.

That conversation and revelation has inspired our first pivot, and kick-started a new round of conversations with the existing crew booking services to see if there is some way if including them in our service.

As a result of talking to our potential customers early on, I believe we will be able to provide something truly valuable, something they will love and be happy to recommend. And, in the process of our consultations, we are building up an engaged customer base who feel they have a stake - and a say- in the end product. Not a bad way to start up.

So, as I've been reminded - the most important advice for any start-up is get market validation. It's a sensible way to reduce risk, shorten your time to market by building the right product first time and it helps you to secure paying customers as soon as you launch. I'm going to leave the last word to Albert Oaten, VP of SecureDocs -

"Don't spend a year building your ark, and then hope the animals jump aboard. Instead, make sure the rain is falling hard and the animals want to buy tickets to your ark before you build it."