If 30 days is all we have, how much startup value can we add?
This is a guest post from our partner, Abdo Riani
Imagine for a second that you were given a deadline; you have 30 days to build as much value with your startup as you possibly can. The deal is that you have to deal with your limited resources whether it is lack of time, experience, team or money and still manage to make significant progress. How feasible is this scenario? After all, it takes a couple of weeks to qualitatively validate users’ needs and months to build a quality product!
My experience being involved in over 50 startups over the last decade taught me otherwise. It is in fact the beginning of every startup venture when we have the biggest room for progress. The analogy I like to use is the case of babies. Ever wondered why babies learn so much so fast? The reason being is that their sphere of knowledge is very limited that anything they get their hands and eyes on is absorbed and learned very quickly. The same logic for early stage startups. 30 days is more than enough to initiate, qualitatively and quantitatively validate the need for a startup solution.
My first venture followed by the numerous startups I was involved in as a founder, business developer, mentor or investor afterwards were eye opening. It is funny today how I look back and think, the time, exhaustion, money and energy I wasted in my first startup could have been used to add tangible value this way or that way…
An entrepreneur has many rules to live by with this being the most important: time is money, if you don’t waste your potential buyers’ time, they won’t waste yours. In other words, instead of forcing an undesirable solution into an existing market through aggressive selling and advertisements, build a solution in response to market needs. Back to our main question, how can this be possible in 30 days?
Money is king! it doesn’t take 30 days to ask your potential buyers to pull money out of their pockets. Money is the strongest validation criterion. If people are willing to pay you for a vision, a mediocre product or a promise, you are likely onto something.
I think we agree that one of the most upsetting moments in the life of a startup entrepreneur is when founders do all the right things: spend quality time learning about their potential buyers/users’ problems and needs, define hypotheses about what might solve those problems and address those needs, interview a number of those potential customers to qualitatively validate what they originally hypothesized, and finally, build a product in response to users’ needs, to ultimately realize that those same users who passionately and painfully talked about how big their problems are and urgent a solution is for them, are not willing to pull money out of their pockets!
One of the main if not the main reason behind the existence of a business, whether it is a small haircut shop or a growing on demand startup, is to generate revenue. Unless we have unlimited resources that we can pull money from to fuel our losses on a consistent basis, a business cannot survive without revenue. This is especially true for the 90% of startups that are self-funded. Finding an answer early on to whether the solution is worth paying for is the difference between spending months fundraising, finding co-founders and thousands of dollars or pursuing viable ventures with products worth using. Pre-product quantitative early validation is problem/pain-centered. It is about spending 80% of the time identifying and defining the problem and the rest of the time listening to potential buyers’ proposed solutions and insights about what might solve those problems.
It is not about the money anymore. In fact, according to CB Insights, it has never been cheaper to start a startup thanks to open source software and cloud based tools. It used to cost $5 million to launch a startup less than 2 decades ago, startup initial investment is less than $5,000 nowadays. Startup grinding is about smart execution focused on the pull approach: instead of forcing a product in the hands of buyers, let them request or show you a proof (buy it) that they need it.
This is Abdo Riani, a serial entrepreneur. Over the years, I have been involved in over 50 startups as a founder, business developer, mentor or investor. Today, I focus on providing aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to turn ideas into viable and valuable startups.
For the aspiring entrepreneur, I have launched an accelerated idea execution program during which I provide you with all the needed resources including a team of developers, designers and project managers, to take an idea or as little as an interest in entrepreneurship to market within 30 days. The objectives from the accelerated program are:
For the aspiring entrepreneur, I have launched an accelerated idea execution program during which some of the best freelancers in the world (according to Upwork) and I provide you with all the needed resources to take an idea, or as little as an interest in entrepreneurship, to market within 30 days. If you are interested in joining, you will be notified about program launch through the pre-enrollment page.