09/27/2019
Startup tips: Ciara - "Ignore the risk of failure"
 

Startup life lessons: In our startup story with Ciara, we've introduced you to the Ciara team and their innovation. In this article, you'll learn about the hacks that have helped them reach their milestones and improve their daily business.

With their digital assistant, the team from Ciara took off two times in a row: Founded in January this year, it had already acquired a million-euro investment by May. The founders know how to pick up pace in an early stage of the business.


 


Founder Martin Heibel



Founder Konstantin Krauss
 

Top Tips
 
FIND your counterpart
What characteristics would make a person your ideal co-founder? Ciara founder Martin uses the following criteria and questions as a guide:
  • Personality – Can you imagine working side by side with this person?
  • Hard skills – Do his/her skills complement yours?
  • Availability – Is he or she available and has the capacity to found a business right here, right now?
  • Entrepreneurial spirit – Is this person simply “driven to do it”? Not everyone has the zest to turn their passion into a company.
Know your customers

Software and hardware should be developed to fit the needs of its users. Founder Martin Heibel spends around 50% of his work time speaking with customers. “Listening and coming to understand their problems provides you with the kind of input you’d never come up with yourself.”

Start selling from day one

“You have to move quickly in our business. It’s typically not possible to get software patented.” Thanks to digital technology and screen sharing, high-price distance selling is possible because the customers can try out the product themselves. This immediately creates trust in a young company, too.


 
Move toward success one step at a time

“Business success takes many small steps over a very long period of time. For instance, fundraising activities ideally lead to a successful round of investment. Yet, repeated rejection first is part for the course,” explains Martin Heibel. “Taking the next step forward usually also entails multiple steps to the side and sometimes backwards, too.”

 
 
Ignore the risk of failure
The possibility of failure should occupy as little brain space as possible. “As far as I’m concerned, the motto ‘fail fast, fail often’ isn’t a helpful mindset for a founder. ‘Don’t fail’ needs to be the mindset,” explains Martin, making his point that as a founder, you want to avoid failure for as long as possible. Although he’s fully aware that the chances of failure are perhaps higher from a statistical standpoint, particularly for very young startups, he recommends the deliberate distortion of one’s own perception: “As a founder, I’m always seeking out opportunities and ways to make it work out in the end.”

 


 


Ciara: The digital 'Inside Sales' assistent



The Ciara dashboard with tasks and playbooks


Life Hacks for startups

As a young company, Ciara follows the rule of thumb 'less is more' to ensure an efficient and uncomplicated working atmosphere. 

No Meetings

Admittedly, this philosophy is exaggerated. Yet, the Ciara team is banking on quick and direct exchange – over lunch, at the office or in the form of an online chat. They’re opting for flexible communication to avoid what typically happens in scheduled meetings, namely that things that have already been said simply get repeated. 


 
No Overhead or - taking it easy

Task manager, routines, OKRs? In these early stages, the team is trying to do without all of that. The goal is to not exceed a headcount of ten until the next growth phase – which keeps the day-to-day work easier to manage.

 

Interested in finding out more about the Ciara startup and its sales assistant? Check out the company’s website here.

© Header image, portraits of Martin Heibel and Konstantin Krauss, Ciara screen images: Ciara GmbH