Startups for the rest of us

Going from an idea → business on a micro budget.

I’ve wasted a lot of time learning and digesting genius wisdom from the silicon valley greats: Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Paul Graham, Sam Altman etc etc. You name it, I’ve soaked it in.

But there was one problem that consistently came up. The business greats glossed over the super early stages of their companies and how they funded them. Digging deeper I found out about the family and friends round, where your wealthy family and friends sponsor you with a ‘small’ investment to help you survive.

The issue is, silicon valleys idea of ‘small’ is a lot more than the average person would have in their bank account. Jeff Bezos “small” investment was £200k from his parents.

Yeah, that was not a typo.

So what do you do when you’re a young broke minority with zero connections in tech and no access to a ‘small’ £60k+ from immediate friends & family? You bootstrap and get everything you can out of anything you’ve got.

Bootstrapping from an idea to indomie profitability is hard. Your job in the early days is to maximise the chances of it working whilst minimising the investment you put in to it. It’s a tricky rope to tread but don’t let that put you off as what I’m about to share will prevent you from falling into common pitfalls.

Ultimately, you want to validate (or kill) your idea as quickly as possible.

Over the next few days I’m going to share a process to help you turn an idea into a business on a micro budget.

It stems from the fact that:

  1. There’s an infinite list of potential to-do’s for any entrepreneur at any one time
  2. Successful early stage entrepreneurs outperform others because they know how to do one thing very well. Ruthlessly prioritise.

We’re going to get you from 1.) to 2.) by isolating the few things you MUST be doing whilst also clarifying the things you should be avoiding at all costs. Get these wrong and you’ll be spinning your wheels for months. Trust me.

The best analogy for this process is ‘the smoke test’.

By the end of this series you’ll be able to take that spark of an idea in your head, translate it into an initial product/service and see if there’s any smoke (validation) from the market.

Honestly, this takes a big mindset shift. Entrepreneurs often get caught up prioritising problems they don’t have; automation tactics when they have no customers, optimisation tricks when no one is visiting your site, growth hacks when you have no users. These are the sexy problems you can focus on once you’ve confirmed the need (smoke) from the market.

However, without a validated need from the market, no number of tactics or hacks will be the lighter fluid to supercharge your growth.

This is for you if:

  1. You’re an entrepreneur who is working a 9–5 and wants to start working full time on their venture.
  2. You have a startup at idea stage but currently have no paying customers.
  3. You have limited resources and need to validate your business before thinking about pitching for funding.

All 3 can be frustrating positions to be in. The good news is that all 3 problems have similar solutions. You simply just need to know which process to follow, once you know that you’re already ahead of 90% of people…