We are a young startup from the restaurant industry, already having a product that works in one business and need to be able to start the sales cycle. Although we have background with sales we are not familiar with the specific industry. What is the best way to find a cofounder that will be the missing part in our startup?
How did you build a product for an industry when you "... are not familiar with the specific industry." What is your "background with sales"?
Here. "Food industry" is very general. Are you looking for a restaurant GM, an expert on canned packaging, or what? Nobody here can help without more details.
@ Dane Madsen:
" How did you build a product for an industry when you "... are not familiar with the specific industry." "
An example would be if he had invented the 'Ring' doorbell. He has sold several hundred thousand to end users and now wants to sell it to multi-unit rental accommodations. He is not 'familiar with that specific industry' (e.g. size distribution of rental management firms, best way to pitch them, do they need a 'manager' option on the app. etc.).
Roy, there are currently about 630 POS systems available to restaurateurs. A large portion of them are available at zero dollars. A salesperson is not going to solve your issue of entering a very, very crowded market. I literally see a dozen POS suppliers at every trade show I go to, and not one of them has something interesting to say.
What you likely need is an emphasis on product development. I am aware of one very specific sub-segment of the food service industry that is missing a POS system targeting their segment. It's poised to be rapidly expanding segment over the next ten years, and it would position the right solution to be first, capturing the audience without competition, if you were developing your product to meet that specific need.
That's insider knowledge from someone who has spent 30 years watching the hospitality business. I'm not going to spill the beans in a public forum and give that kind of intelligence to everyone. It's meant to say that opportunities exist for you, but sales is not the answer. Today without being differentiated, you are literally competing with 629 other companies doing nearly exactly the same thing as you are doing. You don't solve that with sales expertise. The solution is to fish in a different pond from everyone else.
The best way to find a co-founder with strong sale skills is to have proof that you have a product that would benefit from strong sale skills.
Good sales experts aren't interested in solving sales problems, let alone figuring out whether sales are the problem. They're looking for opportunities to take things from 1000 sales to 1M sales; they're not interested in starting from 0 or even 250. (The rewards for 1000 to 1M dwarf those of 0 to 1000 and the odds are better.)
Go out and sell. You'll discover whether your potential customers actually value what your product offers. Most likely, you'll find that either you don't actually know who your customers are or that you don't have what they want. Prove that you've solved those problems by selling some units and then you'll be in a position to bring on sales experts.
@Wally Barr, differentiation requires a dramatic difference. I think our disagreement is on quantifying "dramatic." Study has shown that the usual corporate belief that 20% difference is enough to motivate a change in behavior is a false assumption. Customers rarely switch suppliers for such a small difference. 30% is now the minimum coupon to even begin to get attention in advertising. The figure that shows meaningful switching of suppliers is a 50% difference (the premise of Groupon's pricing). And it's not a pricing difference I'm talking about, it's a benefits difference.
I see no evidence in the last fifteen years that sales & marketing has an effect in this crowded space of POS companies. You have three big players (Squirrel, Aloha, and Micros) and then the remainder fight for shares of a small sliver of the pie. Those that compete on price have had a race to the bottom, where the price is now $0. There's no lower unless you're paying them to use your product. Sure they have add-on functions that unlock with paid subscription, but their Freemium model hasn't earned them a noticeable market share.
ad my file picture shows i have a strong tech and pos knowledge which is now applied for restaurants. I know that my question is missing some details but the idea is that the product is available and works very well at one restaurant (as a self checkout) and the idea is to build a sustainable business with a co founder that is from the industry.
There are many valid answers here. In the POS space @PaulGarcia brings a very valid point. However, it takes very little to differentiate among the many competitors. Sales and marketing is key to your success. Yes it is crowded and yes as Paul says there is nothing different among them. If you don't address this issue you are forced to compete on price alone. I have a couple areas in which adding to the system would create a major difference. It may require your nerd skills as well.
@PaulGarcia Well put and get where you are coming from. Should everyone just stop trying to improve it? They are asking for help and though it may not be an ideal answer, it is simply an effort. I did not charge them or ask for any payment. Just provided some thoughts or comments as to how I see it and would possibly approach it. Not saying it is actually viable but you must start somewhere. I do agree with your statistics on vendor change and what is an actual differentiator. There always has to be a starting point or you can just accept the fact that the 3 companies you cite own and will continue to own the space.