Get The Basics Right in Life and Business

May 23, 2021

At the age of 27, I finally learnt how to brush properly.

For my entire life, I wasn’t brushing the right way, and I had never flossed. Whatever reaction your mind had to reading this, is the same reaction my mind has when looking at my past self.

That changed when the kindest dentist I met showed me how to brush properly by moving the brush in a circular motion, how to position your upper and lower jaw when brushing the front teeth to remove all the dirt around the gums, taught me how to floss, but most importantly explained the importance of performing these actions the right way and their implications on dental health.

Getting the basics right in life

I recently had an almost ingrown toenail (nowhere as nasty as the images you find online, but equally uncomfortable). Horrified by what some doctors told me to be the only solution (either remove the entire nail permanently, or slice off a portion of my nail and kill that part permanently - WTF?), I started researching to learn about the basics.

“Why is my toenail giving me so much pain?”

Because the edge of the nail has curved inward and is cutting into the skin.

“Why did the edge of the nail curve inward?”

Because I cut the edges of my nail too deep, and the overall shape of my nail is curved like this   ͡   but with more curve. Turns out, you’re supposed to cut the nails straight and the edge of the nail should never be cut too deep.

At the age of 27, I learnt how to properly cut my nails.

Honestly, I can go on with several more stories but the point I’m arriving at is — I thought I knew how to do things but turns out there’s a lot of things whose basic fundamentals I  haven’t yet nailed.

  • Proper skincare: The importance of scrubbing the feet, moisturising your overall body, washing the face before sleeping to avoid pimples.
  • Proper haircare: That massaging your scalp thoroughly, whether it’s when you oil your hair or when you wash it with shampoo, and afterwards using a comb that can stimulate the scalp properly ensures proper blood flow, which in turn promotes hair growth and reduces hair fall.
  • Proper warmup: Until last year, I thought I was doing ‘warmup’ before exercise. But as I learnt quite painfully with a muscle injury (connecter muscle between lower back and upper glute), I wasn’t doing warmup correctly all these years. Since then, I’ve adopted a 15 minute flexibility routine that I do several times every month with a shorter version before intense workouts. Haven’t faced a muscle pull or any issue ever since.

Why didn’t I discover these fundamentals earlier? Perhaps because none of these things affected me. A young body (<25) can surprisingly take a lot of beating but still thrive. That ability invariably goes down with age (I’m not old, yet :P).

That’s why I’m starting to discover all this one by one. Not all issues are related to age, I probably got lucky to never have a toenail causing any issues for 27 years. Or that my skin didn’t develop pimples or give me other troubles for a long time.

In light of all these discoveries, I’ve started reevaluating almost every aspect of my life by asking this simple question — “Am I doing an activity in a particular way because that’s how I’ve always done it, or is it because it’s the correct way to do it?”

Getting the basics right in business

As it happens so often, a lot of fundamental thought processes (mental models) can be applied across life and work. At DelightChat, we have been asking ourselves if we got the basics right.

I thought I knew the basic fundamentals of building a business, but my definition lacked a key point.

The basics of a business:

  1. Find a problem that has large demand and that people actively pay to solve.
  2. (New) Find the exact segment of customers, the size of their team and business, perhaps geography, and identify a painful sub-problem to the larger problem for that segment, their willingness to solve that problem when presented with a solution (or better yet, them actively looking for a solution) and their budget to solve that painful problem.
  3. Find a way to acquire this exact segment of customers repeatedly. That means if you have a way to acquire 10 such customers in a month, you should be able to tell someone else in your team the process to acquire 10 more similar customers in the next month.
  4. If the above 3 are in place, then hustle for the long-term.

I think we went wrong here because in the past when we built SuperLemon, we were dealing with a product that was 10 times less complex. We didn’t need to discover point #2 because it just fit in with point #1.

In the beginning of DelightChat’s journey, we had not discovered point #2. As a result, it affected several key decisions such as building a Minimum Loveable Product (MLP) instead of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

The truth is, we didn’t have the insight from point #2 to be able to plan an MVP. And hence we ended up building a MLP product for 7 months (Oct-Apr) until we focused on building MVP features based on our recently developed insight.

Another place where we went wrong was in not creating a way to acquire customers in the near-term. We over indexed on the long-term of SEO and content, and while that is playing it, the pay-off period is too long for an early-stage startup. Additionally, since we didn’t have the insight of point #2, the content we created isn’t necessarily attracting the right kind of customers that fit our (now better defined) target customer segment.

Of course, this insight would have changed our approach if we had it fromthe very beginning. But the past is the past for a reason, and the next best time is to do something is the present.

So after 8 months of development (Oct-May) and 3.5 months of beta testing (mid-Feb to May) with 15+ brands and 50+ support agents using DelightChat everyday and sending 1000-2000 messages to their customers daily, I feel like we are finally getting our basics in place.

And we are gearing up to launch on the Shopify App Store with paid plans by June 3rd. 🤞🤞

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