We had the chance to interview and ask the founder and CEO of Sidekick Sean Weisbrot about his startup story, his challenges, how his startup different from others and more.
SZ: Tell us about your background
Sean: My name is Sean Weisbrot, and I’m the founder/CEO of Sidekick, the collaboration platform for agile teams (B2B SaaS), and the host of the We Live to Build podcast for entrepreneurs to learn about other founder’s journeys, as well as growth mindset, positive psychology, self-awareness, meditation, leadership, and other great topics.
I got my degree in Psychology from the University of Florida, then sold everything I had and moved to China to teach English during the day while teaching myself Mandarin at night (I’m now fluent and literate).
During my time in China, I was involved in education, event organization, app development (business development for the app), public speaking, private corporate and government training, cross-cultural communications promotion, international trade, fundraising for startups, Blockchain R&D and consulting.
After living in China for 10 years, I moved to Vietnam, and have been here for 3 years.
I’m passionate about entrepreneurship because you have the opportunity to forge a path for yourself, build something that didn’t exist before, and affect change in your industry (hopefully positive).
SZ: Tell us how did you come with your company/startup/product idea?
Like with most companies, we’ve been through several iterations from the very first idea.
Our original goal was to develop an end user messaging platform that seamlessly integrated peer to peer Blockchain based payments and an ecommerce marketplace, among many other novel feature sets that can’t be found elsewhere.
After the virus, we decided to pivot to remote work because we knew there was a massive need for something very unique that could help companies and their employees stay focused, improve efficiency while working from home, and do it better than the market leaders. Thankfully, the proposed changes also allowed us to keep the entire backend architecture we had already developed.
SZ: Who is the person that inspired you to do what you do?
I inspired myself to do this because I wanted to challenge myself to do it.
SZ: How is your company/startup/product different from competitors?
Sidekick is a collaboration suite for agile teams which seamlessly blends the best of communication tools and productivity tools that all teams use and love.
Then, we apply top notch privacy and security features to these tools to make sure every company is protected from internal and external threats.
Lastly, to make it something their employees love to use, we throw in a completely flexible and agile UI, add features to minimize distractions and lessen the feelings of anxiety, and allow them to feel connected even at a distance.
So far, over 45 startup founders with over 700 employees combined have committed to trying our product once we launch (and more companies are committing every day!)
If this sounds interesting, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d be happy to talk with you about your current situation and how we can help you!
SZ: What is the business model of your company/startup?
Our business model is B2B SaaS, and our goal is to implement a dynamic pricing system similar to how electric companies work: different features have different fixed prices with profit built in, and the more you use, the more you pay.
That way we can help save companies a lot of money that they usually waste needlessly by paying flat fees per user per month for services where they are only using one or a few of the features inside that paid plan.
SZ: How do you come over the challenges you face on a daily basis?
It’s a very simple system that I heard someone else used and sounded like a good idea.
Consider that every obstacle has a level of urgency, and you can think about it like this:
3 Fires = This obstacle is burning down my company right now
2 Fires = This obstacle is approaching my company’s front door
1 Fire = This obstacle is across the street from my company’s front door
By understanding how to determine which problems you face are the most urgent, and then monitoring them, you can focus on the problems which are the most likely to burn down your company first, and then make time for the other problems as needed, and adjusting if they rapidly become bigger problems.
In this way, instead of worrying about random obstacles right now, maybe you only need to worry about 4 or 5, which makes dealing with them easier since you can organize, strategize, and plan for how to put the fires out.
SZ: What is the most difficult decision you have to make in your business?
I am self-funding the company still, so the amount of capital at our disposal is limited.
As a result, the most difficult decision I have to make is how to most effectively deploy that capital to ensure we can continue moving as fast as possible and hit deadlines without preventing other parts of the business from being hurt by these decisions.
SZ: What is your advice to the new entrepreneurs ?
After coming up with your idea, tell at least 100 people and get their feedback.
Then take their advice and refine your idea, figure out who your potential customers are, do a competitive analysis to see how you can do it better than your competitors, and then go validate your idea by pitching your idea to at least 50 to 100 potential customers.
Learn from them their current problems and pain points, and tell them how you plan to solve their problems, and see if they are willing to join your waiting list, or pre-pay, or even invest in your idea.