Published in Inspiration

Merci Grace's early-stage startup templates will take your company from zero to one

By Andrea Lim


3 min read

Product spec. Go to market. Willingness to pay. Phrases that increase the heart rate of startup founders everywhere, and for good reason — they're the keys to taking your startup from a super great idea to a real business.

After running growth at Slack and investing in early companies at Lightspeed Venture Partners, Merci Grace has helped dozens of startups execute these fundamental processes. But she knows that these can all seem overwhelming to an early founder building from scratch. Her templates, now available in Notion, walk through each process so you and your team can jump right in and start brainstorming.

A company overview template to solidify your startup idea

You have an idea. Now it's time to put it through the wringer. Thinking through every aspect of your fledgling company in one page will help you spot areas to flesh out or revise. Your early prototypes and ideal customer profiles inform this spec too — instead of switching between tools, keep your Figma files and CRM in the same page.

A product spec that connects prototypes and user research

Using the same spec template to develop new ideas in a structured and consistent way builds good habits with your team. Merci's template includes sections to define opportunities, spot potential problems, and create user stories. Embed your prototypes and user research straight into the spec so you can gather all context and make informed decisions without jumping between apps.

A willingness-to-pay template to streamline customer interviews

To figure out a business model and pricing strategy, talking to core customers is your best bet. Merci's willingness-to-pay template includes a framework with questions to ask and even what to email them. In the same Notion page, you can consolidate your questions, write your email templates, and log your customer feedback.

A simple landing page template to spin up your messaging

Getting a website up and running can take a lot of resources and time you don't have as an early-stage startup. But testing your go-to-market messaging early and often is something you should be doing from day one. Merci's landing page template breaks down each section with advice for how to tell a cohesive, compelling story.

A brand design sprint template to brainstorm remotely

Whether you're a seed or series A startup, taking time to define your brand will help your company stand out. Merci's template, based on Google Ventures' three-hour brand sprint framework, is specifically designed for teams who are entirely remote but still want to collaborate closely on the company's position in the market. Included are several exercises for your team to brainstorm ideas, build a high-level roadmap, and define your audience — and for all of these, you can easily add and upvote ideas for streamlined discussion.

A go-to-market template to go from zero to one

"The hardest thing about going from zero to one is not building something, it’s getting people to care about your product," says Merci. Discussing each of your four product fundamentals — core product, business model, positioning, first customers — will set you up well when you're ready to go to market. In the template, each discussion question has its own standalone page so you can write notes and gather ideas. Add images, video, and other embeddable content to help your team express their thoughts.

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