The Adizes lectures about running and managing company advise to spend the major part of resources between production and sales as two engines which drive business. The remaining resources should go into marketing and R&D. We do our best to follow this rule.
When we are done with a paid project we go to the stage in which we are open for new opportunities. We spend 50-70% (~30h) of the week learning new technologies and implementing PoC (production, R&D). The remaining time goes to analysing the market, networking, meeting with potential customers and sharing what we do and what we are good at with the world.
During marketing & sales activities we have a weekly goal to visit one external event, give one presentation and publish a post or an article. Our major tools with which we establish and maintain relations with our customers and partners are LinkedIn, Meetup and Wechat.
We validate our assumptions by observing the people of interest during our events, case studies or customer agreement to go further after PoC. It is very important because by receiving this feedback we can make a decision in where we should invest our efforts and further align our next steps.
When we reach the point where we and our potential customers agree to work together, we sign a two page contract with the scope of what should be done, payment details and obligations. It is different from traditional contracts as we sign it for one year, in addition to scope & payment, it also contains a cash burn rate-- the amount of cash our customer is comfortable with to invest in his projects on a monthly basis. We call it retaining contracts which helps our customers get people to his projects during the year: we staff their projects with engineers , it is like a credit card -- keep it in the pocket and use when you need it.
Our ideal customers are foreign CEOs who don't have enough budget to hire people in-house (long term contracts, administration overhead, training expenses), but have the budget for freelancers. Another reason is lack of right skill for specific project or task -- outsourcing and the gig economy give excellent opportunities to the best fit from the worldwide market.
* The reason why our customers prefer to go with Wechat apps as it has 500 million users in Asia. Wechat got this audience by helping people to communicate, share media and pay for goods/services. This created an ecosystem in which Wechat is part of their lives, this created the easiest way for new product to get the people's attention here, rather than via mobile stores or websites.
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