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Welcome to /r/startups, the place to discuss startup problems and solutions. Startups are companies that are designed to grow and scale rapidly. Be sure to read and follow all of our rules--we have specific places for common content and requests.


FAQs, lessons, and resources


Welcome to r/startups, a community for all backgrounds, levels of expertise, and business experience.

What is a startup?

Startups are designed to scale/grow rapidly. Startups utilize tech to do this. Startups can be non-tech companies that utilize tech. Startups are information era companies and they are creating the new best practices in business.


We share interesting discussions and stories about our startup journeys, both the failures, the successes, and the embarrassments. Our best traits are authenticity and integrity.

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1.Relevant Content Only

We are a community of discussion based around startups, not traditional businesses.

All content must be relevant to startups.

You are welcome to ask how to apply startup methodologies to your traditional business if you frame your question in a non-promotional way. We want you to be able to ask any question that helps your startup.

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No direct sales, advertisements, or promotional posts of any kind. We have designated places that are an exception to this rule and they will always be stickied at the top of /r/startups.

  • You MAY share your startup in the Monthly Share Your Startup thread

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At the end of the day, /r/startups moderators have the final say if your comments are promotional or not.

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Submissions are for discussing methodologies, experiences, tactics, strategies, techniques, markets, and other such things WITHOUT tying them directly to your own project using its name or URL.

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Sometimes you think the best solution is simply to link to a resource that might answer someone's question. We want you to be able to link in discussion to relevant content. We also don't want the discussion to turn into a self promotional mess and link farm.

If you are going to link to something in the comments please make sure to:

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A link to the original blog post is allowed with prior Mod approval.

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Include an outline & timestamps with a video.

If your blog is over 2000 words you may ask for an exemption.

All other rules still apply.

No blogs about your "startup" journey allowed.

8.Always Be Kind and Supportive

The goal of this community is to encourage people to learn and be inspired to pursue ventures related to startups.

Do not troll, harass people, or be an asshole. This does not mean to lie. It means to give support and explain why you don't like something.

Try to remember people likely do not have much experience yet or might be simply ignorant to what you know.

Be willing to hold a discussion and try to explain your opinion or point of view to the benefit of the entire community.

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If you wish to do an AMA you must use the "Message the Moderators" feature in the side bar and you must give us at least TWO (2) Weeks Lead Time to organize it with you.

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1,520,862 Subscribers


How do I find real problems to solve with my business partner?

I want to create something that benefits society, i want to make something that people will pay for in the long run, i want to build something with my best friend.

The problem is, we don't know what to build / start. We just need to get something going and I know we will work well but at the moment we don't feel great.

How can we find a real problem to solve?

18:43 UTC


B2B tech solutions for retail - research

Hi there! I am an AI engineer. I am hoping to build B2B tech solutions for retailers and brands, because I am passionate about ensuring these brands survive.

I have a decent understanding of problems and solutions that could help, but I would love to do more research before building. My main priority is to solve their most pressing issues, so I can create solutions with real impact. I am curious if there are sites out there that allow you to look into trending b2b solutions right now, how much brands are paying, or just tools to better understand the environment and what retailers need. I know there are research reports and things, but they haven't been too helpful so far. If anyone has done this before I would love to hear your approach, how you spoke with potential partners, weighed your options, etc.


16:54 UTC


What to look for investing in an early stage startup with inexperienced founders

As an inexperienced investor, how do you vet potential deals? Specifically for early stage startups (nobody is full time yet) with inexperienced founders. Assuming the business is promising, and the founders seem strong for their experience level, what important steps should be taken to make sure this is wise investment?

Obvious Stuff:

  • Look at their analytics
  • Learn their business structure
  • Meet and talk with the founders
  • Have lawyers assist with agreements

Other Stuff:

  • Talk to references for the founders?
  • Important things to include in the agreement?
  • Other things?
16:50 UTC


The quickest way to mock up dashboards, what is your preferred tool?

I have a few dashboards that need mocking up for a prospective client, and as it's only going to be hardcoded data in the dashboards, Im wondering what people use as something that can give the look and feel of the solution they are creating, even if the functionality is not there yet. Also when I say what do you use, it needs to be idiot proof so I can do it.

I was thinking of Grafana as that will be the end solution anyway, but Im not sure on the needed learning curve.

16:22 UTC


Startup idea evaluation

First-time founders / serial entrepreneurs appreciate your time if you could guide me.

I have an idea, that is running in my head, and has been doing market research on it quite a bit. The idea is to organize the offline advertising/marketing space. The USPs of my idea are price discovery, unique low-cost offline marketing, a one-stop solution for a business to manage their offline marketing goals, etc. However, this idea works on the network effect, and being operations-heavy would require me to raise funds. I don't want to raise funds for the sake of it but evaluate. Though I understand code, I'm not a coder. I still looking for a technical founder who believes in my idea.

I have had rejections already - replacing agency-led offline marketing is near to zero, with zero interest from possible investors, cash-strapped VCs, etc.

What do you think I should be doing? Apply to a YC /Ondeck/EF and pray I get in or Quit my job and work full time. Manage with the job and work with freelancers to build an MVP and take it tp market. Your advice would be quite helpful.

PS: If anybody works in this and has your valuable time for mentoring, I am all ears.

15:27 UTC


Startup CRM: implement Salesforce directly, or start with Pipedrive and then migrate?

I'm starting a new role as Sales Director for a tech infrastructure startup i.e. B2B cloud database services.I'll be the first Sales hire, and will be building the sales team, processes, and technologies. One of the first things I need to do is implement a CRM, and I'm deciding between implementing Salesforce directly, or going for a tool like Pipedrive that is simpler and easier to implement, and migrating at a later stage.

  • Adopting Salesforce first would avoid a migration later on, but it is also a more complex implementation, with external support needed (and possibly a Salesforce admin), and I won't have all the sales processes defined in this initial stage to have a solid implementation.
  • Adopting Pipedrive first will be easier and simpler, and will allow me time to map the processes and requirements for an implementation of a more comprehensive enterprise-ready CRM.

In the initial stage, the most important thing will be lead and opportunity management (i.e. we have significant inbound leads that need to be qualified).

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

13:33 UTC


What Innovations Are Driving Your Business or Tech Projects Forward?

Hey everyone! As we navigate the dynamic landscapes of technology and business, I'm curious to know: what innovative strategies or tech tools have been game-changers for you? Whether you're in web development, app creation, or running a business, your insights are invaluable. How have these innovations impacted your projects or business operations? Let's exchange ideas and learn from each other's experiences. This could be a great opportunity for networking and collaboration too. Excited to hear your stories and potentially connect!

13:24 UTC


Embedded or self-hosted preference page, what would you chose to implement in your product notifications system?

For our notification API product with user preferences as one of the features, I was looking to test out the positioning for user preferences for product users. There are two variants that we support currently, embedded preferences centre in your application and a self-hosted one.

You can see in the image: https://www.reddit.com/media?url=https%3A%2F%2Fpreview.redd.it%2Fta8vcrmqun5c1.png%3Fwidth%3D992%26format%3Dpng%26auto%3Dwebp%26s%3D73ad95d1dc3b71c0846da5c06d2ad0b9687540f8

What would you prefer implementing in your tool, and any reason for choosing one over another?

12:56 UTC


How do I handle this team dynamic

Let me start by saying this is my first legit startup so I am very inexperienced when it comes to leading a team. I am simply looking for guidance on how I should approach this situation.

I (CEO) moved states to be closer to my business partner (President) so we could start our proof-of-concept for our business (still in pre-launch phase) a few months ago. I remember before I got there he called me and told me his girlfriend was going to be joining the team as our PR specialist (didn’t ask me for my thoughts just told me it was happening).

At the time I was kinda wary of it since he mentioned she didn’t really have too much experience in a role like that and wanted her to gain some experience through our company (she had done some internships in the past but all were temporary).

Fast forward to today and in my eyes she has brought no value to our company of just us 3 as everything she has done for us could easily be done by either me or my partner. I remember vividly one of the first thing she said out loud was, “we need to find investors so we can get paid,” which immediately rubbed me the wrong way.

I’ve asked her to perform tasks (things she has stated she knows how to do) and review the responsibilities I outlined in her job description, and they either haven’t gotten completed or it takes much longer than they normally should. It’s to the point where now I have to step in and do them myself. She also lacks initiative to do things on her own and won’t do anything unless I have to specifically tell her.

I work a 9-5 on top of trying to build his business so it adds immense stress to my day knowing she doesn’t have a job and yet I’m putting in the hours to make it work(I know since it’s my company that this is a bullet I have to bite to make it work but at this point I’d rather just cut her so at least I don’t have to try to depend on her to get something done).

I want to tell her to focus on getting an entry level job so that she can come back and possibly start with us at an entry or intermediate level position.

In a startup that is trying to launch and fundraise I feel as though it’s not the place for someone to just begin getting their toes wet in the field they want to be in and the fact that she has no real experience and expects to be paid a salary immediately is crazy to me.

Not to mention she is clearly a distraction for my business partner, as I’ve seen the level of output he’s capable of when she is not with us vs. when she is. It’s gotten to a point where she is getting to my emotions and I am starting to resent being around her.

I’m wondering if I’m just too inexperienced to lead her in the right direction, or if I just need to nip it in the bud and make the executive decision to cut her from the team. I have this gut feeling inside me that I need to let her go, but I wanted to get a second opinion so I know it’s not my emotions at play.

08:17 UTC


Low-Cost Teleradiology Startup

Hi everyone, I’m a first-time (potential) founder and had a few questions regarding an idea that I had. I was hoping you guys could pitch in and maybe flag some issues I might encounter and general thoughts regarding the idea.

The idea is that I would open up a teleradiology centre in my country (low-cost) and would provide low-cost services to hospitals/clinics in wealthier countries where radiologists are expensive - labour arbitrage essentially.

I live in a third-world South Asian country (Pakistan) where the average salary for a well-qualified radiologist is approx. $2,000/mo (which due to the lower cost of living still isn’t amazing but is a lot better than it initially seems). The teleradiology centre would receive medical images (X-ray, MRI, etc.) from hospitals abroad and the doctors (working at the startup) would report on these images. These reports would be provided within a few hours or overnight (which is achievable due to the 9-13 hour time-zone difference with the US).

The main benefit for hospitals would be:

  • Lower cost
  • Quicker turnaround
  • Addresses shortage of healthcare workers (a major issue in Europe and Canada)
  • Lower insurance liability (see below)

Admittedly I’m not a doctor myself, but my family owns and runs a private hospital so I do not anticipate that recruiting, managing, and retaining doctors here would be a problem.

However, there are several major issues which I’m not sure how to go about or whether they can even be resolved:

  • Licensing in the USA: This seems to be the biggest issue. The doctors wouldn’t be licensed to practice in the US. Maybe there is some special (more lenient?) licensing available for this scenario.
  • FDA regulation: I’m not sure if this would be required or not. I have heard this can easily cost 6-figures.
  • HIPAA: I’ve read elsewhere that AWS can solve this.
  • Actually convincing hospitals to use it.

One solution that I thought of was to pitch this to hospitals as a way to get a second opinion on their reports (so there would still be a licensed doctor in the US who would have the final say). This way they could also potentially reduce their liability (insurance and otherwise) by reducing the risk of misdiagnosis. Of course, this would net a lower fee but may still be doable.

Any and all input is greatly valued. Thanks and sorry for the long post! 😁😁😁

07:17 UTC


[Hiring/Seeking/Offering] Jobs / Co-Founders Weekly Thread

[Hiring/Seeking/Offering] Jobs / Co-Founders Weekly Thread

This is an experiment. We see there is a demand from the community to:

  • Find Co-Founders
  • Hiring / Seeking Jobs
  • Offering Your Skillset / Looking for Talent

Please use the following template:

  • **[SEEKING / HIRING / OFFERING]** (Choose one)
  • **[COFOUNDER / JOB / OFFER]** (Choose one)
  • Company Name: (Optional)
  • Pitch:
  • Preferred Contact Method(s):
  • Link: (Optional)

All Other Subreddit Rules Still Apply

We understand there will be mild self promotion involved with finding cofounders, recruiting and offering services. If you want to communicate via DM/Chat, put that as the Preferred Contact Method. We don't need to clutter the thread with lots of 'DM me' or 'Please DM' comments. Please make sure to follow all of the other rules, especially don't be rude.

Reminder: This is an experiment

We may or may not keep posting these. We are looking to improve them. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please share them with the mods via ModMail.

05:02 UTC


I launched my AI startup, and the feedback about free credits package was brutal. I need help

Hey Everyone, I'm Thomas.

It has been ok with my Tiktok short videos to get more users, I use Tiktok to verify and give free credits to users if they are real not bot.

Problem is when I try on another platforms to acquire more users, I got many complains why I do like that, they said that my app looks like a scammer, collecting their data, eventually I got trust issue.

I don't give free credits directly because of some reasons:

  • I tried giving directly free credits to users when they signup a month ago, but I got many bot rather than real users. it was a Big headache with my AI cost and getting bot shit spam.
  • I tried verify phone number before giving free credits, but the users felt like we are collecting their phone number and selling it out there, so they decided to stop at the verifying step.

I would give my users play the free trial before go to pay wall, my questions are:

  1. Any advice to avoid bots in my case without a strange workflow?
  2. Or if can't deal with bots, Should I ignore free credits for the app and go directly to the pay wall?

Thanks. Would love to hear your advices!

My startup: Reok.pro

03:02 UTC


getting VCs to offer stock options from their own Fund to top talent - an idea

Some top VCs offer founders a share of their carry in order to close deals.

I'd love to see if VCs would do this for top employees in their portcos. Basically, imagine in the offer letter to a top VP you (the founder) are trying to recruit, you can list: salary, stock comp, and shares in the VC's fund.

Instead of writing a $10m check for a $10m round, imagine a VC writing a $9.8m check and putting in $200k worth of stock options from their own Fund, to be given out to top VPs that portco is trying to recruit.

benefits for VCs:

  • close deals on best founders and ideas (I'd take $9.8m cash with $200k stock in my investor's index). it's good to see investors with some skin in the game
  • better talent. founders could potentially attract top talent by adding on $50k of stock options from the VC's index. nowhere else can an employee acquire exposure to an asset class like that
  • retain talent within their ecosystem. VPs in portcos of top funds like Sequoia just hop around from portco to portco if something doesn't work out. maybe this is a way for VCs to retain talent within their network

economics for VCs are: if I carve out 2% of my Fund to invest into this program, as long as it improves my funds performance by 2%, it's a deal worth taking.

Assuming that this could all be done legally, what's preventing VCs from doing this?

22:45 UTC


(Lawyer Services) Marketplace: Doable as a Startup?

Hello all, I've created another post before on marketplaces in general where I received great feedback. So first, hats off to the community.

I am wondering how is a marketplace of services doable. Let's say of Lawyer-related services.

- Would it be doable as a startup (not a full company to back you up)?

- Is it even possible without the clients going around?

- How would you charge a commission on services so particular to the firm participating in your marketplace?

Unlike a physical product, services have so many variables that they can't just list their prices (I assume).

My idea is not a lawyer services-related marketplace but they would have the same issues. Any comments, tips, or experience on this?

21:21 UTC


Should I have signed job offers from my pre-seed team when going to raise?

I am going to be raising my pre-seed round sometime next year and in preparation I am curious what other people do in regards to putting together their team. Beyond a handshake agreement that a given team member is willing to come work for the company once I have the capital to hire them, is a VC or Angel going to want to see a signed job offer letter for each member of the prospective team?

20:30 UTC


Nec x venture studio

Hi, I have come across a venture studio called NEC X, it seems they’re supporting startup founders. I couldn’t find any buzz or information about them. Has anybody registered or have experience attending their program. How good it is and what’s their acceptance rate?

Appreciate any replies or pointers

1 Comment
20:01 UTC


Founds who've gone full-time, I have questions

Hi everyone, I am a first time founder but have not gone full-time on my idea yet. I think I'm about to there because of our funding rounds and an investor asked me would I and I said yes obviously.

But I'm terrified. I have a 2 little ones and 2 in college. My question to those that have gone from moonlighting to full-time, how did you do it? How did you know it was the right time? How did you talk to your SO about it?

And most importantly, what do I need to start thinking about post cushy job with full benefits? I'm big on preparing and I want to make sure I do all the right things for my family first.

I appreciate any insights and advice. Thanks!

18:55 UTC


Vodaplay India Pvt. Ltd. a recent startup hiring for multiple roles but is not registered and hiring people here and there.

Vodaplay is a newly launched company hiring here and there on multiple India hiring platforms for multiple roles. Before accepting any offers from this shady company. Please consider these few points in mind.

The domain of the company was registered on Sept 2023.

The company is not listed anywhere. They’ve written in a few places that it’s a Pvt. Ltd. registered company but it’s not, checked it myself.

There’s no background information about the financials or funding info about this company.

The only thing that you can find about this company is a single article published by multiple websites.

They’re just hiring people after a single HR phone call. They’re directly sending the offer letter to these people.

So my recommendation is please do complete research before accepting the offer. You can dm me on insta its sajal._101. I’ve found some more things but will not be saying those here. Please connect if required.

18:20 UTC


How to know when to hire?

Hello people, I've got some free time and I wanted to think up a expansion plan linked to quarterly goals. I'm always terrified to hire, apparently it's one of the main reasons why new start-ups fail.

I know I'll need some 50 sales people when I reach my market saturation target, but I'm not so sure what criteria to use before hiring new sales people.

Any suggestions for books or other sources that have benchmarks?

Any ideas?

17:03 UTC


How to know when to call it quits

For any previously unsuccessful startup founders here, when did you know when to call it quits? More importantly, what exactly was the breaking point that caused you to hang up the idea?

I have an idea myself that I’ve been chipping away at for a year solo (SaaS). Been mainly using freelancers to aid me with the technical stuff and teaching the rest to myself. I have a few milestones that I have upcoming including trial users and go to market, but am still unsure on what position I’d need to be in before I’d call it a day and go back to the drawing board.

16:53 UTC


Terminology and idea questions

I worked for a startup the past few years.

I was employee #45 or so. They grew to 120, then had to do some layoffs, including myself.

I loved the hustle of building the business as we went along and there was very little red tape.

I’m interested in freelancing for startups that have been established and have at least 5-10 employees. The main service offering would be to do project management for pretty much anything that needs done since that’s a lot of what I did when I first started at the startup.

2 questions:

  1. What would be the correct terminology for a startup with at least 5-10 employees? An early stage startup?

  2. Does this offering of project management seem like it’s viable? I know it’s vague and I’ll need to get it a little more focused, that’s just what I’m rolling with as I figure out the idea.

14:58 UTC


I launched my social platform, and the feedback was kind of brutal, but I loved it.

I launched my platform publicly, for the first time here in a subreddit. The feedback was honest & brutal, but I loved it! Coming out of my comfort zone, and building in public.

I was afraid at first if I am being honest, but now, I feel happier and I want to deliver even better.

TLDR of the launch:

I announced the launch of my startup, a content-sharing platform (MVP with basic features), and a list of features that would come in late Jan./early Feb.

Context: here

13:43 UTC


Speed: how can some startups have a product, seed funding anf operations running so quickly?

I see headlines of startups which have juat started, immediately raised millions in seed funding and have a business running.

And this, in "AI for healthcare". As a new founder, I have no clue how to get security, safety, all regulatory aspects in place weeks after launch.

It's expensive to buld secure infrastructure around patient data, it's expensive to deal with legal, it's expensive to validate everything in terms of how your "AI" works with real data.

I have no clue. How does it work?

12:41 UTC


What is your approach when we are too small for a dedicated role but still need the role?

We are a small manufacturing business (40pp) and not very rich hehe we are still end the year positive but we cannot spare having dedicated people to fulfil some position within our business but we still need those positions in a less than full-time basis. I run the production/supply chain side, but moving to operations (in summary will take on a few more departments and team management)

Some examples of shared responsibilities we have: safety inspector, HR, IT, quality inspector, etc.

Bit hard to formulate what I want to ask, but:

  1. how do you share these responsibilities within small business/do you rely on outsourcing it or share it between individuals?

  2. at what point do you think it's worth hiring someone dedicated to fulfill a position/create a department?

09:18 UTC


How much do u spend each month on marketing?

Hi all, I’m looking to get some benchmarks around how much each startup spends on marketing.

TLDR; we decided to bootstrap and forgo the VC route a few months back so this means our numbers need to make sense. I’m in charge of sales and on average, we do approx $30k usd each month at 40% margins.

Right now, we spend approx $1k a month on google ads which is working but most of the revenue is also coming from existing customers who expanded their work with us.

We are not profitable at the moment but on track to do so. Our business is saas+service.

I see many business or startup spending 8-30k a month just on marketing. How do you decide the budget? Is it revenue-based?

Note that we are bootstrapping at the moment so growth at all cost is not possible since we won’t have VC money.

08:02 UTC


Seeking Advice: How to Discover Business Pain Points for a B2B Software Solution

Hi everyone,

I've been working as a software engineer for several years and I'm exploring the idea of starting my own business. My inclination is towards a B2B model, primarily because I find the idea of dealing with businesses more straightforward than individual customers.

I’m considering developing a software solution with a subscription model, something along the lines of business solutions like Xero for accounting or Stripe for payment processing. The challenge I'm facing is identifying the specific pain points or productivity issues that businesses are currently experiencing, which my software could potentially address.

I understand the importance of building something that genuinely solves a problem or improves efficiency for businesses, but I'm a bit blocked on how to gather this information. My concern is that if I reach out to businesses directly, my emails might just get ignored.

Does anyone here have experience or advice on how to effectively identify business needs or challenges that could be addressed through software? Are there any recommended approaches or strategies for gathering this kind of information without having a direct network in place?

I'm open to any suggestions, from ways to conduct market research to tips on networking with business professionals. Any guidance on how to take these initial steps in understanding business needs would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help!

07:34 UTC


Seeking Advice: Scaling and Selling My SaaS

Hey folks! I'm the founder of a no-code SaaS platform in the crypto space. Since its 2022 launch, it has attracted 10K+ registered users, about half million visitors, and generated $100K CAD in revenue – approx. 90% of which is profit. The revenue correlates with crypto cycles, so if a bull run is to happen again soon, I’m anticipating the traffic will reach all-time highs.

However, my new full-time engineering role limits my ability to focus on growth areas like social media outreach and feature development. Social media, especially, is something I’ve noticed has a big impact on revenue (even simple posts from creators) but this is something that I’m not particularly skilled at leveraging. All users so far have come from word-of-mouth and voluntary posts from creators.

I'm considering selling to realize its full potential. Any advice on positioning a startup for sale or managing growth when time is limited?

05:23 UTC


Looking for SaaS case studies who were able to sell their subscriptions before launch

Hey fellow founders ...I am looking for some SaaS case studies who were able to sell subscriptions way before launch. I have heard this is one of the better ways to validate the market need.

Superhuman comes to my mind. Who else has done this?

Or have any of you tried with your product? Do share your learning.

1 Comment
04:52 UTC


Developing a finance app, found out random crypto token has identical name

Good day everyone,

basically what title says. I am developing a mobile app with a small team that revolves around one specific theme (visuals, namings etc.), just to find out that some smallish crypto token shares the same name we are going for.

There is a slight problem that while this token is live, our app is just halfway to its mvp state, but the visual theming and all is in place.

Should we consider renaming to some synonym or related name or should we just roll with what we have?

I’m kinda worried that the token’s name would do only harm as the app’s focus is also on finance even though there is no connection between those two.

What do you think? Has anyone faced similar issue?

23:43 UTC


Trouble articulating what my startup does

I am trying to work on my marketing and I'm having a hard time articulating what exactly my product does. It definitely had a clear purpose in the beginning, but over time people have used it in so many different ways, for so many different things, I am having a hard time figuring out how to sell the benefits. Imagine selling a curtain rod, but 30% of your customers use it for a tent pole, another 30% use it to practice pole vaulting, and another 30% use it for the intended purpose. My first thought was instead of selling a "curtain rod", I should just try to find the common factor between all the customers and sell it as a strong metal pole, but when I do that it's hard to really make a good selling point to any of these customers. It just comes out seeming mediocre and not that exciting. So analogies aside, does anyone have advice on how to tackle a problem like this?

20:33 UTC

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