Robbie Maltby

October 11, 2021

[Part 4] Starting a business

Sorry for the loooong gap in this series.

I took a kind of sabbatical from entrepreneurship recently, working ‘full time’ with a client.

It was nice to be looked after for a bit (especially after losing our dear mum) but I'm back on the entrepreneurial bandwagon - letting out a trailing cord for anyone else who wants to hop on 😉


We finished the last episode by articulating our idea and putting it in front of 10 people we trust.

If the idea didn't resonate, you have a few options:

  1. Rinse and repeat, following along with episodes one, two, and three.
  2. Sign up for a free trial of Strategyzer and use their business model canvass framework to map your business, plus other businesses who do the kind of thing you want to do.

Option 2 is great if your heart was really set on the idea, and you feel that despite the feedback, it may well have legs. 

You'll find a ton of resources in the Strategyzer ecosystem so I won't go into detail here, other than saying the goal is to step back from your idea and see how its component parts can be mixed and / or leveraged with other business models to create something more appealing - and maybe even completely unique.

If you DID find an idea to take forward, this is what you’re going to do:

  1. Create an Offer
  2. Create a minimal viable testing framework
  3. Measure your results


Create an Offer

You've already created your manifesto, which is a great start.

Now you want to turn this into an Offer.

In basic terms, an Offer is your product or service wrapped up in a way that makes it easy for people to understand it's for them.

To do this, you really want to get specific, and narrow down the audience you want to attract.

It might sound counterintuitive to go narrow, but as the saying goes,

"Appealing to everyone is appealing to no-one."

If you need more explanation on this strategy, have a read of this book.



Okay let's go with an example to help you think this through.

Let's say you've got an idea for a new personal finance app.

The potential audience for this is huge, so let's think of some reasons why people would use such an app.

A great method for generating these insights is using another Strategyzer tool called the Value Proposition Canvas.

It leverages the theory of Jobs to Be Done to figure out exactly why people would use your service.

Again, I won't go into huge detail because the resources on Strategyzer are ample, but the goal here is to find the top 1-3 reasons why your audience would need what you're offering.

For example, Jobs you are doing for them might be to (i) save for a house, or (ii) retire early.

The Pains they associate with those jobs may be (i) wasting money on rent, or (ii) not experiencing enough of the wider world.

The Gains might be (i) more predictability of their living situation, or (ii) more freedom to choose the life they want to live.

Of course it could be many more and ALL of these things combined, but remember everyone = no-one so pick an audience and match your Offer to that audience as best you can and move on.

Create a minimal viable testing framework

Now we've got our offer, and we know who we're trying to attract, we want to create a system that will attract, engage and finally convert that audience into either customers OR in this case pre-launch subscribers.

The goal here is to test your idea using the least amount of time and money.

No point incorporating a company, or creating a fully fledged website on a whim.

Instead, we'll start with an Ad, plus a landing page, then email sequence.

Here's what you need to do...

Create an Ad

Create an Ad that speaks directly to the Pains and Gains elicited on the value proposition canvas.

Ads have roughly 3 sections as follows:

Headline (Hook), Intro, Body


The headline must arouse curiosity but not so much that everyone and their dog clicks on it.

For example, we might use something like,

'Set yourself up for a life of experiences. Spend wisely.'

This headline speaks directly to the pain elicited in the previous step, and makes people aware this ad is about controlling your spending.

In short, it attracts who we want and repels the rest - which makes everything easier downstream when we're trying to convert them into customers or subscribers.


This part is an additional way to connect with your audience, and weed out those who aren't aligned at this stage.

Again, this may feel counterintuitive but the more you speak directly to your audience, the more they will feel it and will want to come on this journey with you.

You can create more Ads and Offers for other audiences later.

For example, you might use something like:

'A recent study in x journal found that exploration and adventure keep the brain younger and healthier for longer.'

What I'm doing here is narrowing down the audience even further to those who care deeply about their health.

People who aren't so bothered about health at this stage are probably going to drop off, but that's okay because what comes next isn't going to relate to them.


The average person spends around x hours of their life working, x hours sleeping and x hours doing others things.

If you're lucky, you have a job and a livelihood you enjoy, but studies show when people reach 50 they start thinking very differently.

We change throughout our lives. Maybe in our 20s we enjoyed sports or going to festivals more than anything. In our 30s maybe it changed to yoga, or when kids came along to creating the best conditions for our family.

It'll change again in our 40s and even more in our 50s.

The future is what we make of it, and our ability to make it what we want relies on our ability to choose.

And on and on, on this thread.

As you can see, I've narrowed my audience down even further here to essentially health conscious 30s YOs with kids, who were interested in exciting events (sports, festivals) when they were younger.

If the person reading this continues, there's a good chance they have these attributes which means you'll know how to engage with them over time.

Before we move on, you might be thinking. BUT wouldn't it be better to appeal to a larger audience, then drill down to specific attributes by measuring their engagement over time?

The answer to this question is, yes sometimes.

If you've got a big marketing budget and can afford to pay for high volumes of traffic to test your message, then you might want to go broader - then measure who your best audience is over time.

The risk here is again that you optimize for everyone, and appeal to no-one - and the results either take a long time to come or never at all.

Also, this guide is more about starting a business as a solopreneur and / or by bootstrapping.

It's not about creating a venture backed start-up. The rules of the game there are quite different, which I might do a deep dive on another time.

Anyway, on to the next step.

Landing page(s)

The Ad is a great way to attract new people to your message, and your landing page is where you continue this journey and engage them further.

You've already written your manifesto, and this is ideal content for the first page your audience will see.

[Note: Often in this process, you'll realise something and go back and update what you've already written.

For example, if you didn't already have this specific audience in mind before writing your manifesto, you can tweak it as necessary.

Remember, this is all about creating a business you really want vs. something that's just going to make you money.

Creating something for an audience just because that's what they need often ends up with business owners becoming jaded quite quickly.

That's why we started with the manifesto and what YOU want, then we find the audience to connect it to.

See how I added Landing pages(s) in the title...

That's because we're going to split up your content over 2 pages, so that a visitor needs to click to finish reading your manifesto.

Why is this important?

Because it means you can gauge which visitors are more engaged than others, which allows you to build a more accurate picture of those likely to convert, and therefore which to spend money remarketing to.

There are other ways to measure engagement, like % page scroll and time on page, but this is a far more precise engagement metric.

Email series

Okay so your visitor was interested enough to submit their email address.

Now you need to prove to them that you are trustworthy, and they made the right choice sharing their information with you.

For starters, do not try to sell in the first email series!

The first automated email sequence you will send is for relationship building purposes only.

It's a chance to continue your story. To speak to the Pains and Gains of your audience related to your product, and to further segment them based on their interests.

3-4 emails are plenty here, with 1-2 day spacing in between.

If you're struggling with what to write, have a read about serialized stories. This course is about fiction writing but the framework is exactly the same.

Think what anecdotes, metaphors, frames or themes can help convey the value you offer further.

Remember also that emails are a great way to interact directly with your audience, so don't be shy about asking questions and eliciting direct responses.

These are amazing opportunities to find out more about why the person signed up and what they expect from the product or service you're planning to launch.

Measure your results

After 4-6 weeks of running this experiment, shut off the ads and gauge the success of your approach.

This requires a bit of grey matter thinking, as for most of you, you won't have a product to sell yet so can never say for sure what worked and what didn't.

However, as long as you've set up your testing framework properly with all the necessary analytics (with a bit of help) you'll be able to figure it out.


Next up, how to convert these subscribers into 'real' customers.

Talk soon,


I'd love to hear any comments, or requests on what to write about in future posts.

I reply to every email 🙂

About Robbie Maltby

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