The (only?) OBJECTIVE INDICATORS that YOUR Startup Has Better Than Average (1%) Chance of Success!

(Alt: Why we believe it’s a mistake to “Go All-In / Full-Time” UNLESS or UNTIL…

NOTE: These 2 stats (above) are at the core of A LOT of what I write about, including the following statement, which might be controversial and/or tough for some people to accept…
Reality Check:
YOUR confidence, YOUR assumptions, YOUR hypotheses — can simply NOT be OBJECTIVE about YOUR startup (because EVERY ENTREPRENEUR has those about THEIR startup). So, as much as YOU might believe them, they are simply not relevant if you (or investors) are attempting to evaluate your startup’s success odds — objectively!]

Look, you can call me “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nancy” (though I prefer “Realistic Rick”, “Logical Larry”, or “Accurate Alex”), but the honest/harsh (objective!) reality is that you (and your startup) are NOT A SMART BET (for an investor, for a co-founder, or even for yourself to go all-in / full-time) — UNLESS or UNTIL you have AT LEAST one of…


THE (only?) OBJECTIVE INDICATORS

[That a Startup Has Better-Than-Average (1%?!) Chances of Success]

1. Product-Market Fit (proven, not based on your assumptions)
2. Viral Traction / Growth
3. Repeatable Customer-Acquisition Model
4. Profits (or at least steady or growing revenue)
5. Funding. (Only for how it will allow you to grow — 
 — NOT because it’s actually as objectively validating as 1–4)

Honorable Mentions:
- “Been There / Done That” — Prior Startup SUCCESS (not just experience)
- Joining a TOP Incubator/Accelerator program with a proven track-record of success (i.e. Y-Combinator) 
- [NOTE: I’m open to adding more if anyone has additional thoughts — Jeff@StartupWhatever.com]

P.S. In case you were wondering, no, I don’t consider “CUSTOMER DISCOVERY” to be a good 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.


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

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!

IN CONCLUSION: 
Optimistic Assumptions = Bad!
 
Objective Indicators = Good!

So, what DO we recommend instead of (prior to) going “All-In / Full-Time” from the start?

Prior to one or more of those OBJECTIVE INDICATORS (that you have a better than average chance of success) — we strongly recommend:

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

We believe the idea of “you must be all-in / full-time” (on one startup) is not only OVER-RATED and unnecessary (*at least initially!), but it is actually a bit OUT-DATED — from a time (just a few years ago!) before AWS and WordPress and Shopify and UpWork and Facebook Ad-Targeting and… the countless other startup resources that allow you to launch a startup MVP (test assumptions, validate hypotheses, etc.) so much EASIER, FASTER and CHEAPER than ever before! 
(www.theSWANstartup.com — Sacrificing Weekends And Nights)
Smart investors don’t just invest in one company; they diversify their portfolio to mitigate risk and increase chances of big wins. We believe that startups / entrepreneurs should consider that concept too — with their “Investment HOURS” rather than “investment DOLLARS”… (MultipleBasketStartups.com)
Whether your “full-time” job is in Corporate America, already with a startup, or as a full-time student, we’d like to introduce you to the idea of putting “Multiple Eggs in Multiple Baskets” and the many potential benefits of PART-Time “STARTER STARTUPS!”

P.S. Quick Note to EXPERIENCED ENTREPRENEURS on “Startup ASSumptions“

If you’ve ever been in the room with founders — particularly first-time founders — when they’ve been discussing the “assumptions” necessary to create their Financial Projections, have you ever observed 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! 
Actually… looking at these Revenue Projections, maybe we should raise our valuation a little??”


Remember: YOUR confidence, YOUR assumptions, YOUR hypotheses — can simply NOT be OBJECTIVE about YOUR startup (because EVERY ENTREPRENEUR has those about THEIR startup).
In a nutshell, the primary goal of “STARTER STARTUPS” is to incorporate ReThinkingStartups.com Strategies to achieve as many of these OBJECTIVE INDICATORS as possible — as strategically and cost-efficiently.

3 Years of Thinking/Writing/Planning:
IamNOTaCEO.com (Entrepreneurial Epiphanies)
ThoughtsOnStartups.com (Thoughts & Theories)
ReThinkingStartups.com (Improvement Initiatives)
ViralWhatever.com (“We make Sh*t Go Viral” Secret Sauce)
Part-Time “Pursuit of Proof” Premises & Programs:
StarterStartups.com / MultipleBasketStartups.com / theSWANstartup.com
Practicing What We Preach:
18Startups.com / PitchingForPartners.com

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