Has your startup got paying customers yet?

Everyone says this is the ultimate validation of your product is customers paying for it. If you could keep the lights on, replace your income and grow that to £100K per month would you not be fulfilled. World domination is worthy ideal, but even just £10K per month would be life changing for many of us.


It’s a bit hard to imagine what we did before Instagram, Whatsapp and Twitter were a part of our daily routie. I remember how different the Facebook founders looked compared to the business people who wore suits all day. It just sounded like some Uni students in hoodies smashing it, having fun and building products that everyone around them found addictively enjoyable to use.

It takes me back to the days when Zuck and his team were building something they enjoyed working on without the scrutiny of the public and the pressure to keep the business growing and growing and growing.

Many people from my community are building products to have a business; a way out from dependecy of working in a place that has a glass ceiling and would rather spend their time solving problems they or people they know have.

The tech space in London has a lot more spaces for underepresented groups. We have an accelerator for people who don’t get a look in (women, people of colour, LGBT), podcasts and growing communities like UKBT and YSYS.

I’ve paid more attention than I needed to on the VC model. It happens to to all of us.

Here’s a reminder that we don’t actually have to follow the venture track playbook, there’s an opportunity to build businesses with a functioning business model proved by customers paying for your products/services.

If you are badass and wherever possible you will do everything in your power to bootstrap

Non-technical founders spend a lot of time looking for a CTO and I have to be brutally honest, in those situations the techies hold all the cards unless you have customers you can sell into . Some of the non-techies I know have turned and are now looking for “tech leads” that can work with a team of devs rather than CTOs.

The astute side of me feels like most of us should go down the Nipsey Hussle/Chance the rapper route (sidenote: here’s a piece from a VC admiring Chance)

Real businesses want to stay in business, not run for the exit

This isn’t a debate about whether Venture or Bootstrapping is better. I do believe we will have underepresented or “underestimated” groups playing both but I believe we need to remind people of the alternatives.

Bryce Roberts said broke down some points in an interview that I want to share

  • Real businesses focus on customers, revenue and profitability not investors, valuations and the next fundable milestone
  • The best companies are really focused on designing, developing and delivering a product to customers. The customers pay for it, but they know how to drive revenue and create revenue
  • Aim to create their own source of funding
  • Focus on making a product customers love and selling it at a profit from the very beginning have a distinct long-term advantage over those who don’t

I don’t know about you, but if I was making 2K a month from my startup as a solo-founder I would be happy and the growth would compound over time. Make that 4K if there’s two of us.

Fundamentally numbers matter and I believe that’s an important part of getting a business right which is easier to master when you start small. If the LTV of a customer is greater than the cost of acquiring a single customer you’re in the money my friend.

Trade slower, thoughtful, compounding growth over scaling fast and failing fast every time

This is a question I don’t know the answer to.

It works for Indie.vc. invested in The Shade Room which Bryce Roberts describes as one of the fastest growing cohort from 2005.

Have a good week!

Lean Startup Circle

The Lean Startup Circle is a worldwide community of Lean Startup practitioners, educators, consultants, and investors

James Abayomi Ojo ⚡

Written by

Product. Niche audiences. Focussing on how much is made not raised. 👨🏾‍💻📊 Sharing more at www.jayyoms.com

Lean Startup Circle

The Lean Startup Circle is a worldwide community of Lean Startup practitioners, educators, consultants, and investors

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