Making People Love Dentists More Than Netflix (Part III)
Toronto: During Techweek Toronto Growth Summit 2017, Nikolai Bratkovski, CEO & Founder of Opencare, shared his views on the short and long-term challenges of acquiring customers in B2C marketplaces and what future opportunities lie in the space. In Part 3 of this 3 part series, Bratkovski lists down a few pointers for budding entrepreneurs.
“Getting the war chest of capital is important but it’s important to spend it exceptionally well.” – Nikolai Bratkovski, CEO & Founder of Opencare
After understanding why companies should offer unique, vetted supply (read Part II) to tackle the rising costs of brand-building (read Part I), Bratkovski shared some actionable advice for young entrepreneurs, along with the common traps that come with business building.
“Zoom in to the smallest unit possible and do something extremely well in that,” Bratkovski said. This includes mapping out all the key activities and closely monitoring the company’s performance in each.
“Measure the activity with a usage metric. Make sure something is working and you’re serving a small population exceptionally well. This will give you an indication that you have a product-market fit.”
As customer feedback significantly affects performance, Bratkovski emphasized on getting the customer research right. “If you ask them directly what the issue is, how they find the dentist, they’ll offer a bunch of information that is completely irrelevant. And it’s very likely not what they exactly do.”
Figuring out the right questions to ask, therefore, becomes critical. In Bratkovski opinion, this is where founders fall into the trap of assuming they understand the consumer. He recommends investing in a separate user research team to counter the biases of the founders.
“A user researcher will create the right checks and balances to make sure we’re not building the product for ourselves, but truly for the market that’s out there.”
Getting the product-market fit and accurate customer data are critical, but Bratkovski says their real impact can be realized only when the company has raised capital for a dedicated customer acquisition campaign. “The consumer space right now is a blood bath and if you don’t have capital, you are irrelevant unless you are in a very unique situation, which is extremely rare.”
Bratkovski concluded by focusing on fiscal discipline. He said, “Once companies raise their initial capital, they don’t make the progress they need for the next raise, as they don’t spend the capital wisely. Getting the war chest of capital is important but it’s important to spend it exceptionally well. If you are thoughtful the way you deploy your capital, you should be able to get to the next milestone.”
To see the full video for Techweek Toronto Growth Summit 2017: B2C Customer Acquisition, go here.