Bootstrapping your dreams — how to thrive in the post-COVID world
Have you ever thought of starting your own business?
Maybe you already have a business — but you are stuck at a certain level and do not know how to grow it.
Or maybe your growth has been hindered by the global pandemic.
The economic fallout from the global pandemic has been unprecedented. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. If history teaches us anything — this is an event that will change the world at a fundamental level.
Millions are out of work.
Thousands of companies are going bankrupt.
Governments can only do so much.
As I write this in July 2020, we are just at the beginning of this cycle. The whole saga may last for about 2–3 years and the recovery and reconstruction of the world may take up to a decade.
I am an avid student of history, economics, science, anthropology, and many other subjects.
Based on my extensive research — I am confident in my analysis.
But to re-inforce my argument — have a listen to this interview from Ray Dalio (the world’s most successful hedge fund manager).
Quite uncertain times ahead eh?
People out of work will have a tough time getting back into the job market because hardly anyone will be hiring.
Some sectors like technology will do better than others. But again, the whole ecosystem is about to go through a shock.
No one will escape unscathed.
So what is the answer?
You see, entrepreneurship is all about solving other people’s problems. In this uncertain climate, more people have more problems than any other time in history.
If you look at the situation as an entrepreneur — there is plenty of opportunities around to thrive in this environment.
What do you need to start a business?
An opportunity (i.e. an idea which fills a demand gap in the market)
Some time and resources to build the product or service to fill the demand gap.
Some marketing efforts to let people know about your solution.
And the operational infrastructure to serve your customers and keep them happy.
All this needs money. At least some money.
In an uncertain economic climate where millions are already struggling — how do you get this precious resource to start a business?
That is where bootstrapping comes in.
The term “bootstrapping” is a very familiar term if you have been part of the startup ecosystem for any amount of time.
Even though it is a frequently used English word — a lot of people are not familiar with it.
I have had to tackle this question even more frequently ever since I launched my top-rated podcast “Bootstrapping Your Dreams”.
Anyway, let me clarify.
The dictionary meaning of bootstrapping:
get (oneself or something) into or out of a situation using existing resources.
In the business world, this means building a meaningful profitable business with little to no resources.
I know, I know.
In the world of lofty valuations.
Entrepreneurs raising $10M here, $100M there.
Companies selling for BILLION$ — what kind of crazy person talks about bootstrapping?
After working with more than 50 entrepreneurs. Building tens of successful startups. Turning around some startups from the brink of disaster — I can safely say that I know a thing or two about how to build and grow businesses.
You see, since the age of dawn, humans have been entrepreneurial.
Before the advent of currency, we used to enter into deals bartering our services or skills for things we needed.
A fish in exchange for a piece of beef meat.
A full day of labor in the field in exchange for a loaf of bread for the family.
After modern commerce evolved — people started to build real businesses and started exchanging goods and services for cash.
We soon realized that businesses are just like humans.
They need proper care and nourishment.
In the case of humans, it is meat, fruits, vegetables, meat, medication, and so on.
In the case of businesses, it is hard cash.
Cash in the bank for ongoing operations.
Cash in the bank to pay the salaries of employees.
Cash in the bank to purchase fixed equipment.
Cash in the bank to keep the business alive.
Just like we consume food to generate energy and stay alive — businesses consume cash to stay alive.
Staying alive is not the sole purpose of the business.
A profitable business needs to generate MORE cash than it consumes to be a viable business.
Now, when an entrepreneur thinks about starting a business — the question arises where to get the initial seed money to start the business.
Since time immemorial — this was done by raising money from friends and family. Selling assets. Working extra hard to accumulate a small sum to invest in the business.
But this was a time-consuming process.
To speed up the process — new paradigms were invented.
Public financial markets where people could trade all kinds of financial assets — equity in companies, bonds for loans, and so on.
Apart from these public financial markets, other financial markets emerged for “high net-worth” individuals, private equity firms, venture capitalists, and so on.
Over the years the trends have shifted from the traditional ways of building businesses to what I call the OPM way of building a business.
OPM = Other People’s Money.
But therein lies the problem.
What problems specifically — I will go into the details in the latter part of this article.
This is no way a criticism of any type of industry or company or individual.
Venture capitalists have their place in the ecosystem.
What I do want to highlight is that most people do not understand why they need the money, how much they need, and once they have the money — what are they going to do with it.
Instead of fixing these fundamental problems — the venture capital industry, the entrepreneurial community, the media are all implicit in making this faulty model for businesses more popular than ever.
You see, entrepreneurship is fundamentally about one’s freedom.
Freedom to be your own boss. To do what your true passion is. Freedom to run your business the way you want to.
Money is a funny thing.
It gives you a lot of power.
And if you take someone’s money — they also have an invisible power over you.
Money’s power supersedes all other types of power — political, physical, mental.
Whenever I see an entrepreneur celebrating millions in their bank account after a “successful raise” — I wonder whether they realize it was in exchange for part of their freedom.
Now that I have that rant out of the way — let us talk about real business.
I am on a mission to help people take control of their lives and thrive in this uncertain environment.
I want to convert maximum number of victims into victors.
So I need to break some misconceptions and limiting beliefs that have captured the minds of current and future entrepreneurs.
In this article, I will attempt to provide a simple playbook that rapidly turns your ideas into a low risk, a cost-efficient business that rapidly gains traction.
So that you can enjoy your dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur with more certainty, peace of mind and a far higher probability of long-lasting success
And better yet, I’m going to show you how to achieve that without giving up any ownership to investors, becoming slaves to VCs, wasting a big budget on needlessly expensive projects, or getting burned ever again.
I want to leave you with confidence where there was once uncertainty.
I want to leave you with clarity where there was once confusion.
I want to leave you with a clear straight line where there were once frustrating resistance and lack of direction.
I want to leave you with consistency and a plan of action where there was once obscurity or fear of failure.
And I definitely want to leave you with a big permanent boost in your ability to launch your business quickly, efficiently, and with high certainty.
And more importantly a successful business with positive cash flow and profitability.
Because the definition of a successful business is an endeavor that generates profit.
So the next time someone says they have launched a successful business— think again.
Ask them how much revenue they are bringing in and more importantly how much profit they are retaining in their company.
Build it and they will come — does not work anymore.
Even if your business gains traction in the market — if it is not bringing in any revenue or losing money — it is not a very sustainable business, is it?
Since 2000, I’ve helped dozens of entrepreneurs launch new companies Or steer many away from inevitable disaster — by introducing pragmatic, efficient, and cost-effective solutions. And that’s exactly the process I’m going to take you through today.
But first, how all of this came to be.
There was a time and place when my life was totally out of my control. The odds were stacked up against me. I had no hope of ever having any sort of a career. I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do to take BACK control of my life and career.
My journey brought me across the world from India To Canada.
I grew up in a small agricultural community back in Northern India where there were limited job higher education opportunities OR in technology. The nearest technical college was about 6 hours drive from my place.
My career started at 15 years of age while working in a factory. I worked there for 6 years while continuing my studies on the side.
12 Hours shifts — 6 days a week. And I earned cool $2 a day.
It was back-breaking work.
But there was a silver lining to this experience as well.
In that environment, I also learned a lot of things.
For instance, I interacted with people from various walks of life — businessmen, government officers, bank employees, and so on- all this gave me a strong foundation in soft skills.
In the factory, we had to maintain strict quality standards. So I learned the importance of quality in whatever work you do.
Anyway, by some twist of fate — I got a chance to move to Canada in 1998. It was definitely a great opportunity — but I had no money, no jobs, no contacts.
It was quite daunting moving to a brand new country with about $10 in my pocket.
I got resourceful, decisive, and committed.
2-months after arriving in Canada I got a job as a junior programmer.
The monthly salary (after taxes) was about CAD 2000/month.
That was the most money I had ever earned. I thought I made it and all my worries were over. Little did I know…
After 3-months my 1st boss in Canada decided to let me go.
That was a real low point for me. After escaping the hardships in my home country — my future was uncertain in Canada as well.
It was a really hard pill to swallow…
But now that I think about it — getting fired from that job actually set me free.
The way I see it now, rock bottom is a great place to rebuild with a strong foundation, and thankfully along the way, I found multiple accomplished mentors who had their own success playbooks.
I learned from them and distilled their knowledge and experience into my own playbook.
Thanks to great mentors & a proven playbook — I have had a tremendously successful and satisfying career.
Although, I am not perfect. The more I learn the more I realize how little I know.
So, I am always learning and growing and yet, at the same time, I feel happy and immensely satisfied as we help a number of committed go-getters achieve their life long dreams.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a free democratic society and you have the means and desire to explore your passion for entrepreneurship, then frankly, there is no excuse for not pursuing what you want to do.
Especially in the post-COVID world, it will be a necessity for a lot of us.
Keep in mind that neither my results nor our client’s results are typical.
Since I obviously don’t know you and I don’t know your idea or situation, I can’t promise you any specific results and so, all I’m promising you is the playbook that has worked for me and our clients.
All right? Cool.
So who will benefit the most from this playbook?
If you’re a pragmatic entrepreneur or an entrepreneurial professional who wants to build and grow a business, this playbook is for you.
You are a go-getter and have a track record of getting things done.
You are committed to your cause and not just casually considering a venture.
You are resourceful and have adequate tangible and non-tangible resources to invest in your venture.
You are adventurous to venture into the unknown.
And you are flexible enough to put your own misconceptions aside and follow the most efficient and high probability path to your success.
Then this playbook is for you.
In our brief time here, I’m going to show you how the conventional wisdom prevalent about buidling a successful business is completely wrong and how you can overcome those misconceptions.
I will teach you a new way to attain your goals and bootstrap your entrepreneurial dream.
I will show you how you can dramatically increase and accelerate the probability of your long-lasting success.
How you can ensure rapid positive cash flow and profitability.
How you can find, hire & retain the right talent at a fraction of the cost by tapping into the huge global talent pool.
Ideas are dime a dozen. What separates the winners from losers is execution. I will show how you can execute your venture with certainly.
All this without becoming slaves to debt or other people, while saving a lot of money and eliminating stress.
Bottom line, if nothing else, I want to help you grow and follow your dreams.
And in return, here’s what I need from you. For your own sake, I want you to take action.
I find it incredibly sad when I bump into people who’ve already been exposed to a solution to their problems and yet, months even years later, they’re still clinging on to the same old problems, the same old disempowering stories and limiting identity when obviously, that doesn’t have to be the case.
For your own sake, I want you to take action implement.
Action, Action, Action. Implement, implement, implement.
Now, before we get to the good stuff, I just want to do a quick check in to see where you’re at and basically, can you relate to any of the following?
If you are a new entrepreneur — then are you paralyzed due to these fears:
You have a burning desire to launch your dream business. But you do not know where to start. The entrepreneurial itch is killing you inside but you are unable to make a move?
Or you may be afraid you do not have the resources. You have heard the stories of silicon valley startups which raise millions of dollars and spend it all before they see even a dime of that investment coming back?
Or maybe you are skeptical about these ideas because you do not have a background in business or sales or marketing. And you are not confident enough that you will be able to find a reliable partner or advisor to ensure a high caliber execution?
If you are an existing entrepreneur — then do you find yourself in these situations:
Maybe you have already invested too much into your current solution and have little to show for it. The money in the bank is running out.
Or perhaps, your product or solution does not sell well.
Maybe you are lucky few who already have paying customers. But you are not able to fulfill your promises to them and they are breathing down your neck.
Or perhaps you are really in the thick of it and the situation is urgent.
Do you often wake up in the morning feeling paralyzed, staring at the ceiling, feeling frustrated, anxious, and dissatisfied?
Do you often find yourself wishing you had more freedom and flexibility but you’re overwhelmed and you don’t really know what to do, let alone where to start?
Do you feel disillusioned with entrepreneurship and life in general? As if there is a big invisible barrier between you.
If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, none of those things are the problem.
The real problem is that you haven’t made the transition.
Now, imagine this.
Once you understand the simple playbook and the rules of the game — you start waking up more passionate and energized and increasingly in love with your faster-growing business on a predictable trajectory.
You attain liberating clarity and certainty in how to launch your successful startup dream and drive it towards profitability.
You slash your costs and budgets giving you much needed financial relief and a much longer runway thus increasing your chances of success exponentially.
You focus on innovative products and services based on what your customers want and they love you for it.
And last but not least, you will lead a more fulfilling life of greater freedom, creativity, self-expression, financial success, and significant contribution, all at once combined.
Here’s what it all comes down to.
There are just a few simple changes you need to make to launch your successful business with a high probability of success and achieve your entrepreneurial goals and build a life worth living.
And the only way this is going to happen is if you implement what you learn. Deal?
Let us begin.
First and foremost, here’s what you need to do. You have got to embrace the benefits of constraints.
Before I explain what are the specific constraints you should embrace with the context of our discussion — please allow me to refute some common misconceptions.
The media and silicon valley will have you believe that in order to launch or grow your business you need to take a second mortgage on your house.
Or raise millions of dollars to start your entrepreneurial journey.
Or wait for years before seeing any kind of returns.
They will have you believe that you need to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire top talent and bend over backward to retain them.
They will have you believe that you need to invest in fancy offices in a central location to attract the right talent and clients.
Well, I am here to tell you these are false premises.
I also want to address another grandiose misconception about unicorns.
A lot of people are infatuated by this concept of a unicorn business— which in the startup parlance means a company with over $1B valuation.
If you are one of them — and if your goals are to join the world’s mega-rich and become a billionaire — then I may not be able to help you.
On the other hand, if you want a reliable horse for a long race — yes I can help you there.
And you know what if you ride the horse well — it might as well turn into a unicorn.
If you are looking to build a profitable and sustainable 6 to high 7 figures business — then what I am about to share with you can certainly be instrumental in helping you achieve your goals.
How can I be so sure about it?
Well because as I said — I have seen these principles work over and over consistently for multiple entrepreneurs in different niches.
Here are some benefits that you get when you embrace the benefits of constraints
- Focus. If you are not flooded with cash — you automatically attain a laser-sharp focus on the most important aspects of your business. All the distractions become too invasive and automatically fall off the radar.
- Discipline. You become incredibly disciplined and you watch for wasteful spending and look for hidden efficiencies. This discipline and ability to commit to your cause is an essential component in your success in this game. This discipline helps you stay consistent, keep your word, keep your promises, and honor your commitments.
- Resourcefulness. Your resourcefulness and creativity go through the roof. All of a sudden you start to discover the gifts and talents inside you which you did not even know existed.
But if you get it wrong — the consequence could be grave and everlasting. In an article from the Harvard Business Review — the ill effects of raising too much are discussed in great detail.
The article reveals that “the amount of money start-ups raise in their seed and Series A rounds is inversely correlated with success.”
Let that sink in a little bit.
If you raise money or have too much money — it can actually become one of the biggest factors for your failures.
But failure is not even the worst outcome — the consequences could be massive and inevitably, there is a price to pay and I’m not going to sugar coat things for you.
In a widely-read, award-winning article in Inc Magazine, this piece that I’m referring to, the psychological price of entrepreneurship is discussed in excruciating detail.
The article reveals that according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, “out of the entrepreneurs surveyed, 34% reported they’re worried and 45% reported they’re stressed out, which is actually more than career professionals”.
Truth be told, I think the number is actually higher but that’s not even the wrenching part.
According to researchers, the article continues, “many entrepreneurs share innate character traits that make them more vulnerable to mood swings. Those states may include depression, despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, loss of motivation, and suicidal thinking.”
In my private conversations with colleagues and clients, it’s very often those states that tend to raise some challenging but very important questions,
“Why am I here? How will I be remembered? What will people say at my funeral?“
I firmly believe that we have got to change the conversation around this subject and show that there is a much, much better alternative out there.
Because when you get this right, when you embrace the benefits of constraints, here’s what happens.
- You retain a majority stake in your venture. So you are truly working for yourself rather than someone with deep enough pockets to lend you money.
- Since there is no interference from external interests you can stay true to your vision and execute your venture the way you want.
- We already discussed how embracing the benefits of constraints will lower your costs and result in higher profitability.
- As cited in the Harvard Business Review article — your startup will have a much better chance of success.
- And more importantly, you will have more peace of mind and positive energy to drive your venture forward
Because again, the impact of doing this is indisputable.
Take for example — Basecamp which is a popular collaboration tool. It is offered a profitable company and they are completely bootstrapped.
In the spirit of encouraging other entrepreneurs — they regularly showcase other bootstrapped companies who have crossed a certain revenue threshold.
So you can stop putting your dreams on hold and take a leap of faith.
You CAN bootstrap a company.
In fact, if you have a solution which can help solve some big problems for people — it is your moral obligation to bring that solution to life.
START taking action and implement.
You can launch a new solution, a new product, a new service within weeks.
And with some hard work and patience — you can drive this venture to profitability.
And here is the action plan for you to embrace the benefits of constraints.
- Before you invest any money in launching your product or service — get crystal clear on the scope of the problem you are trying to solve and who you are solving it for. Once you have the scope — try to cut 50–60% scope which may consist of nice to have feature sets and get feedback from your audience. Repeat until you have narrowed down the scope to an absolute bare minimum.
- The best way to launch your business is to first find a buyer who will actually pay for the solution to be built. Now it may not be always possible — but it is actually a much easier and safer way than building an expensive solution which no one wants to pay for.
- Look at outsourcing and freelancers (at least initially) to do the bulk of the heavy lifting. Make sure you seek help with someone experienced with outsourcing and freelancers to ensure success with this model.
- By the nature of this setup — you will be able to conduct your business from home in a distributed manner thus saving on expensive rent or leases.
Hiring and retaining talent locally can be very limiting. This can problem can be easily addressed by expanding your horizons to the global pool of talent.
These days it is very easy to find the right outsourcing partner in any area of business.
If you want to start with a few freelancers on your team — you can utilize sites like Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, Guru.com, and many more to find competent freelancers.
Before you engage an outsourcing company or freelancer — please go through proper due diligence. Check your potential partners’ references or reviews.
Also, my advice is to gradually scale your outsourced operations. When working with a partner — give them a smaller project first and evaluate the outcome before assigning them larger projects.
When you onboard a new partner or freelancer — share your expectations in a very detailed and clear manner. There should not be any ambiguity about what they are supposed to deliver.
Likewise, you must set up suitable channels for continued engagement and communication with your partners. This helps in keeping everyone in synch about project status and any changes in requirements.
That now brings us to the second change that you’ve got to make. Focus on value creation over shiny glamor.
A lot of entrepreneurs when they think about where they want to be and why they are doing it — there is always this dream of wanting to be famous and be on the cover of a prominent business magazine.
This is the story we are told about the glamourous lifestyle and the untold riches you can possess once you become a successful entrepreneur.
Here’s the thing.
Making more money and being famous is a good positive motivation.
It’s a good place to start, especially if you’re just beginning and if you’re strapped for cash when you want to get out of that situation.
But in my experience, a lot of times people want to be famous because they want empty recognition or external validation.
In many cases, this stems from a desire to sort out and resolve a deep emotional need and sometimes even insecurity.
What you need to realize is putting recognition and dollar amounts aside — focusing on creating value is your priority. And when after your hard work your company takes off — money and fame will happen as a by-product of your hard work.
As far as validation from others is concerned — You are ALREADY worth it. YOU ARE ENOUGH!
You have gifts within you. You have skillsets and you actually have something of benefit to give to the world.
And that is where you should focus. On the fact that you have amazing skills and ideas. And you can provide a tremendous amount of value.
Here are some benefits that you get when you start focusing on value creation rather than shiny glamor.
- Customer focus. First of all your focus shifts from yourself, your ambitions, to your customer need. This leads to a healthy business and happy customers.
- Sustainable growth. Happy customers, sales, and revenue are the bloodline of any business. When you focus on value creation — your business inevitably starts generating sustainable revenue and growth (provided you have your monetization strategies figured out).
- Resilience. Healthy businesses tend to have strong foundations at the core. They become resilient and immune to economic cycles or adverse market conditions.
- Economic valuation. All this naturally leads to higher valuations for your business. And in this scenario — the investors start chasing you rather than the other way around.
And guess what — once you bring valuable innovations to the world — you are automatically recognized for your contributions.
But if you get it wrong — this zeal of running after the glamour can lead you down a very dark path.
Take for example the case of Elizabeth Holmes the CEO and founder of Theranos, a now-defunct company known for its false claims to have devised revolutionary blood tests that used very small amounts of blood.
In 2015, Forbes named Holmes as the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America on the basis of a $9 billion valuation of Theranos.
By the next year, following revelations of potential fraud, Forbes revised her net worth to zero dollars, and Fortune named Holmes one of the “world’s most disappointing leaders.”
But when you get this right; when you focus on building value, here’s what happens.
- Your customers love you and in fact, become your raving fans. This leads to more referrals, more sales, and exponential growth.
- Your business flourishes.
- You are recognized as a thought leader and you win the admiration (and in some cases envy) of your peers
I see too many entrepreneurs make a mistake of building the product or service in their own image.
They want it to be shiny.
They want it to be glamourous and sexy.
They want to come across in a positive limelight.
But in the process, they end up ignoring the most important needs and wants of their customers.
They ask themselves — if I were to use this product — what will I like it to do.
But remember you are not the true user or your products/services. Your customers are.
As entrepreneurs, we all fall victim to our own biases. But remember — we are fallible.
As much as I admire Steve Jobs’ genius — I believe here he has done a disservice to most entrepreneurs by preaching that your customers do not know what they want.
In fact, they DO KNOW what they want and we must extract that essential information out of them.
And you need to embrace these principles in their entirety and let them permeate throughout your thought process, your organization, your teams, your product, and in fact every aspect of your startup.
Before making any decision — always think whether that decision is going to create tangible value for your customers. Are you focused enough on your customers’ needs rather than your own desires, wants, and aspirations.
Ok so here is an action plan which you can adopt to consistently create value.
- Value creation starts with collecting data and meticulously measuring it. Adopt key metrics that help you measure the value you are creating for your customers. This could be as simple as how much or money are you saving your customers, how much revenue each decision is directly responsible for, and so on.
- Regularly evaluate the collected data to understand the effectiveness of your decision-making process. And incorporate data-driven decisions into your process.
- Stop focusing on superfluous things like your logo. Instead, focus on how you can gather rapid feedback from your customers.
- Stop spending cycles on the sexiest look for your solution. Instead, focus on the simplest and easiest solutions for your customers.
- Stop thinking about launching thousands of features. Instead, focus on making sure the key features work flawlessly.
The iPhone has propelled Apple to one of the most valuable companies in the world. Today, we see Apple as the icon of sexy and innovative products.
Most people are happy to stand in a queue for hours and pay them thousands of dollars for the latest version of their shiny products.
But most people forget that Apple’s first product was a scrappy computer with electronic components glued on a wooden plank.
And what could be a better example of value creation than Amazon?
Ever since Amazon’s inception in 1997, Bezos has stressed customer value, as the primary goal of Amazon. At Amazon, shareholder value is the result, not the operational goal. At Amazon, the customer comes first, ahead of “short-term profitability considerations or short-term Wall Street reactions.”
Amazon is famous for its frugal ways.
And they obsess about passing all that savings and value on to the customers. That is why Amazon is one of the largest retailers on the planet now.
And as a result, Jeff Bezos is today the richest person in the world by far and his company Amazon is valued at about 1 trillion dollars.
Yes, that is trillion with a T.
Practice low risk and rapid idea validation.
Before I elaborate on this point — let us quickly review the law of probability.
To keep things simple — let us assume you make a bet on the flip of a coin. You picked heads and your opponent picked tails.
If you flip one coin — there is a fifty-fifty chance of you winning the bet.
As any gambler will tell you 50% are good odds but not good enough to bet your life savings on.
Now imagine If you had 12 coins to flip and you only needed a single win — your odds will improve 12 times.
Well, what if you had 100 coins. You will have 100 shots at getting a single win — and thus your odds will improve 100 times over.
You see how the probability improves in your favor — as you take more and more bets?
We still need only one win out of all the coin tosses.
This is exactly how venture capital firms operate — they bet small amounts on 100 ventures.
They know 98 will probably fail but 2 which will succeed will be home runs and will more than pay for 98 losses and then some.
You need to think about your idea or venture just like a venture capitalist.
Remain flexible and rapidly validate multiple ideas and prototype them.
Throw away the losing ideas and invest in the winning ideas.
Rinse and repeat for every major or micro decision until you have a critical mass for your product or customer base or revenue or any other aspect of your business.
Now I do want to point out here that I am not recommending you to have the shiny object syndrome and jump from one macro idea to another. But what I am talking about is being flexible within the overall committed direction you are moving in.
Let me use another analogy to explain this.
When gold miners look for gold — they first conduct a land survey by taking several samples. Once they find a piece of land with a high probability of gold deposit — they double down and start investing in developing the mine.
But even in that mine — there could be sporadic and thin veins of gold embedded in the rock.
The mining company may need to dig multiple holes in the same mountain to find the right vein of gold.
But if they jump from mountain to mountain — that may not very productive use of their time and resources.
If you get it wrong — you may end blowing through tons of cash and pour your hard-earned dollars down the drain.
Or you may end up completely missing the mark and disappoint your clients/customers.
But when you get it right — you reap tremendous benefits.
And this practice of prototyping is not new.
In yet another article Harvard Business Review reveals how well-known entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki turns his ideas into businesses — by rapid prototyping.
So you see, this method of rapid prototyping not only applies to startups or first-time entrepreneurs but also established businesses.
Ok so here is the action plan which you can adopt to ensure your ideas hit the bullseye.
- First and foremost you must validate your ideas methodically and consistently. Idea validation provides you with tremendous insights into what your customers may want.
- After validating your ideas on paper — it is time to give a face and prototype it so that your customers can actually experience a simulated version of the final product.
It is important to execute these activities in a proper systematic manner — otherwise, your results will be skewed at best and misleading at worse.
Once you have validated the idea — do not jump heads down into implementation.
Rather implement the idea slowly over iterations — getting more feedback at every step so that you can deliver exactly the results your audience desires.
You have got to invest in your growth and expert guidance.
Look at it this way.
Simply as a result of investing time and attention in this article today, you’ve grown your knowledge and you’ve exposed yourself to a whole new set of possibilities.
And likewise, investing in your personal and professional growth will also open you up to all kinds of new opportunities.
Take you on an exciting journey that will arm you with new skills and new powers.
Bring out your best.
Unlock your potential and highly enrich all aspects of your life.
It requires a certain kind of attitude for realizing one needs help and ask for it.
The fact is great mentors consistently invest in themselves in a way that guarantees a solid ROI and fast results.
They continue staying at the top of their game because why should you take a year to achieve something when you can achieve it in three months or in two months or even one month.
The bottom line is this.
Authors have editors.
Olympians and professional athletes have coaches.
Recording artists have producers.
The list goes on and on and for good reason.
Let’s face it.
All over the world, career and business prospects are in disruption.
Unemployment numbers are through the roof.
Bankrupcies are exploding.
A whole new world is emerging.
A perfect wave of seminal technologies like AI, cloud computing, blockchain, and IoT is rising.
These technologies are going to catapult humanity into the realm of science fiction in a blink of an eye.
Think about it — we already have self-driving cars. Multi-function robots. Autonomous flying drones. And we are just at the beginning of this revolution.
There are still a tremendous amount of innovations, inventions, and products waiting to be discovered.
This is a massive wave of opportunity.
Our world is shrinking rapidly.
Globalization, international payment systems, and eCommerce have enabled new possibilities.
Never in the history of humanity, you had such access to a humongous pool of talent at a fraction of the cost.
By outsourcing or hiring freelancers — you can reduce your human resource costs by as much as 50% to 90%.
And what is more, when you hire these companies or individuals — you are providing tremendous opportunities for people across the world — which they otherwise will not have.
So it is a win-win for everyone.
And globally — a major spiritual awakening is underway.
The question is — are you ready to ride this wave?
Or are you going to continue sitting on the sidelines and put your dreams on hold?
Going back to university to study outdated curriculums that burden you with stupidly enormous student debt and prepare you for a world that’s no longer going to exist, yeah, that is not going to help you.
It is such a waste of valuable time and money that’s best invested elsewhere.
Sure you can grind it out and learn every aspect of this game on your own.
But here is the thing — every month, money replenishes, right?
But this is the key — time does NOT replenish.
So you could go out and spend months or years of your valuable time to figure something out — but you will never get that time back. Instead, you could save that time and effort, and find a guide who has walked the path before you.
It may cost you money to get started, but that money will come back, whereas the time away from your family in trial and error is wasted effort and is gone forever.
While launching a new venture or growing an existing one — please do make sure you invest in an experienced guide who has a proven playbook and a solid track record.
Look for mentorship and guidance with these attributes:
- Transformation Vs. Information
- Accountability Vs. Passive Participation
- Time-Bound Vs. Open-Ended
- Results Driven Vs. Education Driven
- Community Vs. Loner
With that said, here’s is a summary of your playbook to win.
- One, embrace the benefits of constraints.
- Two, focus on value creation over shiny glamour.
- Three, practice low risk and rapid idea validation.
- Four, invest in your growth by getting experienced guidance and mentorship.
I hope you find this information useful and you can apply it to your life and business.
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or Facebook.