|You can't stop time. But perhaps you can gain some control of it?|
On the customer development front, my most significant concern is hiring the sales person I previously discussed the need for. Since I will have a full course-load next quarter, I think having someone work full-time on sales will give this start-up the best chance of success. In reality, I don't think this person needs to be a sales person per-se. While the central activity of this person might be sales-orientated, the person taking the role just needs to be good at managing relationships and taking general responsibility for the business. So, thus far, my approach to hiring this person has been to reach out to people I know who may be suitable. I view the main advantage of hiring someone I already know to be that we don't have to spend several weeks figuring each other out, before actual productive work happens. However, while a few people have passed referrals to me, it's looking more and more likely that I'll have to hit the online job boards.
From the product development side, we have a product that is ready for operation. Nevertheless, parts of the content creation and publication process require quite a bit of manual labor. Consequently, in the remaining weeks our focus is on automating these manual labor tasks as much as possible. If we don't, when we get a customer, it will cost the business money to hire someone to complete these parts manually.
To buy myself more time to work on the startup during the second year, I've also been working on a side activity unrelated to the startup. I've spent some time this summer working an independent study project. Completing this project over the summer will effectively mean I have to do one less credit in one of my remaining three quarters at business school. Working with a classmate also working on this project, I spent the early part of this past week interviewing executives at food companies and media companies. We're looking at how each type of company approaches food media. In hindsight, it's a shame the project is not more related to the startup. I can only imagine how much more time I could have saved if it were.