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What exactly does your product do? This is the most challenging and brain-bending question a startup faces, because if a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is going to succeed, its description has to be deceptively simple. And by "deceptively," I mean it has to convey a ridiculously complex idea in about 15 words.
Have you pivoted lately? If not, you should probably be thinking about it. Yes, a proactive pivot. Why? Because you’ve heard that old phrase: In startup, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. A lesser known but more actionable phrase is: If you’re not changing, you’re not growing.
I'm seeing a growing epidemic of startups built off surefire business school concepts and buzzword-heavy strategies. I've got three recent examples of startups who reached out to me - they did everything they were supposed to do, everything they were told to do, and yet they still flamed out. There's a common thread between all three: They all started with a really good plan.
If you're going to do startup, you're eventually going to fail. It will be shocking, painful, and costly. And until you've failed a few times, you won't be ready for it, because failure is one of the most misunderstood topics in startup. Let's fix that.
Let’s talk about how we turn an audience into a customer base. And let’s start with how we don’t. Here’s how we break down who they are and what they need, how we sell them our MVP, and what we can learn from each of them.
Let’s talk about why entrepreneurs have a mandate to take giant risks and make crazy decisions. If you read me regularly, you might get the sense that startup is a numbers game. And when I say “numbers,” you might think that I mean money.
In startup, the difference between survival and running out of runway always comes down to taking our eyes off revenue. We don’t want to do this, and we certainly don’t do it on purpose. But when we’re in the middle of the startup run, it’s pretty easy to fall into a trap of wasting our time on feelgood tasks that seem like progress but don’t bring in any money.
Let’s talk about how pricing models can help build a relationship with your customers. Your product isn’t just a product. More often than not, it defines the relationship between your company and your customer.
Much of what you hear about the work habits of millennials isn’t always true, but one trend is becoming increasingly clear: They don’t want their parents’ career.
Working for free is a common practice and even a necessary one at that. Most truly new ideas need true believers to get them into an executable state, let alone a revenue generating state. That only becomes a problem when we start asking others to share that risk, especially those folks who aren’t co-founders.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is trying to be a competitor in an existing market instead of creating their own market. In this post, I’ll give you some case studies and strategies to get you thinking bigger.
The early stages of startup are full of challenges for both new and repeat entrepreneurs alike. Minimum Viable is 25 of my best startup advice posts from behind Medium's paywall, covering the period from the very beginning of the idea stage through to the growth stage. This isn't business plans and pitch decks. It's proven strategies and new ideas for making, leading, and growing a startup.
Startup is for everyone. If buying the book doesn't fit your current budget, contact me. Let me know your story and I'll hook you up with a copy.
Do you feel like an outsider when it comes to startup, entrepreneurship, or starting or running a business? Are there rules and processes and terms you don't fully understand? Does it feel like a closed club sometimes?
Everything You Should Know About Startup is all the stuff I wish I knew when I was first starting out, run through the lens of having done it for so long and still doing it. It's not Silicon Valley buzzwords and mantras. It's nuts and bolts and logic that applies in the real world.