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Seven questions of startup beginners

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Startup beginners often ask these seven questions.

  1. Is this idea good or good enough?

  2. I came upon an idea. How good is it?

  3. I am 16, 21, 25, I don't know what to do. How do I start act?

  4. Should I join the work force ("slave for others") or work for myself?

  5. When can I go bug investors?


Paying customer is the only validation - because the proposal is accepted. (Original link to reddit)

It was like only 6 months ago when I was in the same shoes. Having new ideas here and there and going around, asking people the same question. What do you think, is this idea good. Should I build it? I don’t do it anymore. I’ll write few points that will help you see why I’ve stopped it.

Confirmation bias Your colleagues, friends, or family can tell you that the idea is good. Sometimes (less likely) they would tell you it’s bad. As I said, less likely, since no one would like to harm your feelings. We tend to cheer up each other. If you haven’t read it already – check The Mom Test– How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you*. To bring you closer this confirmation bias, imagine your friends ask you to a dinner. They prepare everything. Main dish, side dish, dessert. At the end they ask you did you like it? So, you know they put a lot of effort and it’s really nice from them they invited you. To keep it simple, there can be three options:

  • you didn’t like it but you say you did

  • it wasn’t anything special, but you still showed appreciation and said you liked it, it was good.

  • you liked it so much you would pay like <insert average price of $$ level restaurant in your city> to have it again. And you again said you liked it, it was really good.

Paying customer should be your measure – other indicators may be dangerous My point is that the only validation is a customer willing to pay you money. Until then your idea is not validated. And you keep fighting to validate the idea as soon as possible.  Relying only on the feedback, without talking to potential customers may be dangerous. Let’s consider these two cases:

  • Case where you get negative feedback and you abandon the idea. Why, because someone didn’t get the big picture? Because you asked small sample of people? Use the feedback to improve your product or pitch and move on.

  • Case where you get hyped feedback that you start building the product because you’re now hyped too. But the reality is that you don’t know what your potential customer thinks about it.

Would you listen those negative feedback if your idea is already bringing you $1.000 MRR? And also listening hyped feedback for one year won’t pay the bills. Good ideas doesn’t automatically mean good business Pitching your ideas to VCs is less about the idea and more about execution, market and numbers. Not only VCs, but any investors. Go to your local businessman and ask for a money, first thing you’ll gonna hear is like – how many users can we sell this to? They don’t care about your blockchain use case. Average idea with perfect execution can be way better than perfect idea with average execution. Think about timing as well. You set up everything perfectly but the timing was just bad. Let’s use corona pandemic as the example of bad/good timing. You could have a business idea that is based on real, physical events in your surroundings. Out of the sudden you don’t have any new events. And scheduled ones keep cancelling for the rest of the year. You might have great idea but it’s simply not the time. On the other hand, you can have average (or even some crazy) idea that could be valid in corona times. Let’s say you start ice-cream deliveries to a doorstep. On a sunny day. Who would have though it would work. But again, timing. You could take an opportunity and sell WordPress sites to small business to help them. Nothing innovative there. Just timing and the raise of the demand. And that’s why… … I don’t ask if the idea is good or not anymore. Let’s just try to ship the first version and see the reaction. Reaction of the real market, not our friends, not other makers.

This is a good review but it is still not the best way to start a business. Real entrepreneurs design a business concept, they don't try things. They don't try something easy and get approval, they try what is the right and hard thing that no one else is yet seeing.
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