You can call me Debbie Downer / Negative Nancy [though I prefer Realistic Rick / Logical Larry / Accurate Alex], but…
If ~99% of startups fail, yet ~100% of entrepreneurs believe they’ll succeed, then YOUR Assumptions, Beliefs, Confidence about YOUR startup, simply can’t be viewed as objective or valid…
So, the honest/harsh (objective!) reality is that you (and your startup) are NOT A SMART BET (for an investor, or even for yourself to make the All-In / Full-Time leap!) — UNLESS or UNTIL you have AT LEAST one of…
THE BAD NEWS:
Unless/Until you have one or more of those OBJECTIVE INDICATORS — then your assumptions, your hypotheses, your confidence, etc. are objectively no better than everyone else’s; so, unfortunately, neither is your likelihood of success. #99percentFAIL #100percentBelieveTheyWillSucceed #BadMath
THE GOOD NEWS:
We’re living in a time when countless entrepreneur-friendly services (like WordPress, Amazon Web Services, Shopify, MailChimp, Google Analytics, Facebook Ad-Targeting, and MANY others) make it EASIER, CHEAPER, and FASTER than ever before to build, launch, and A-B test a Startup MVP (minimally viable product).
So … it is not only possible, but we actually RECOMMEND getting started in a PART-time capacity to build your MVP and test your assumptions. THEN, if/when you’ve achieved one of the aforementioned “OBJECTIVE Indicators”, you will be able to make the “Go All-In?” decision with much more OBJECTIVE information at your disposal (and investors will have a much better way of objectively evaluating you!) in regard to whether or not you have a better than average chance of success!
PART-TIME PURSUIT OF *PROOF!
…*Proof of Concept?
…*Proof of Assumptions?
…*Proof of MVP Viability?
…*Proof of Reliable Objective Indicators — of above-average (~1%) success likelihood
PRIMARY PRINCIPLES & PHILOSOPHIES:
(For “STARTER STARTUPS” and Our “PART-TIME PURSUIT Of PROOF” Programs & Improvement Initiatives)
- Entrepreneurial Self-Awareness
- Complementary Co-Founders
- Objectivity Over Optimism
- Bootstrapped / Self-Funded / Low Overhead
(at least initially, “prior to proof”)
- Risk-Mitigation (not risk glorification & celebration)
- “Ready, Aim, Fire!” vs. “Ready, Fire, Aim”
- Entrepreneurial Employees
- Shared Resources / Economies of Scale
- Blurring the lines between Products, Content, Marketing
- Anticipate Pivots BEFORE you’re forced to
- A-B Testing isn’t just for marketing! A-B Test EVERYTHING — even Potential Pivots (on your core product!)
- Short-Term Goals: PROVE Key Assumptions and/or Achieve RELIABLE OBJECTIVE INDICATORS
- Crawl → then Walk → then Run
- PART-Time Pursuit of Proof (…of Concept, of Assumptions, of MVP Viability, of Reliable Objective Indicators…)
P.S. Quick Thought:
To EXPERIENCED Startup Entreprenuers…Regarding “ASSumptions” — have you ever seen something like this:
>> Co-Founder A: “Let’s say our sales growth rate will be 10% in Year 1, 20% in Year 2, and 30% in Year 3…”
>> Co-Founder B: “Ok… [*enters numbers in Excel*]… Dude, that‘s not gonna get us anywhere close to the $2.5 Million Valuation we’re looking for.”
>> Co-Founder A: “Shit. Ok, well… what if we double the price of this and this, cut this expense in half, change those two from monthly expenses to annual, and let’s just get rid of these 3 rows entirely — and let’s plug in a sales growth rate of… how about… 50% in Year 1? 100% in Year 2? and 200% in Year 3?”
>> Co-Founder B: “Ok, let’s see… [*enters numbers in Excel*]… BOOM! Awesome! Dude, these numbers look GREAT now!”
P.P.S. Quick Thought 2:
To Anyone Wondering Why I Didn’t List “CUSTOMER DISCOVERY” as one of the RELIABLE OBJECTIVE INDICATORS (of better than average success odds)…
Even though that is EXACTLY what it is intended to do, NO, I do not consider “CUSTOMER DISCOVERY” to be a good enough indicator — partly because I think most people kinda suck at it. Spoiler Alert: There’s often a HUGE difference between someone who *SAYS* “I like it!” or “Dude, that’s awesome!” or “Wow! That’s a really cool [startup, app, product, service, whatever] idea” or even “Yeah, I would totally use that!” — and someone who will *ACTUALLY* purchase your product, pay for your service, download/use your app, etc.