We are pretty lucky today when it comes to launching a start up business. It has never been easier to do. The open-source tech and online help you have makes it easy to get things done and reach your target audience. Back in 2000, it would cost $5 million U.S. to launch a start up. Today, it can cost as little as $5,000. You don’t need investors to get a start up going. You can market for less and run a business for less. So many online tools allow you to pay a small monthly fee and have everything done automatically for you.
When it comes to any advice from the LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, it goes without saying that we should listen. He says that the only way to scale is to do things that don’t scale. You may be concerned about future business before even getting your first customer. This is where you might be going wrong. Markets are competitive, and there’s plenty of uncertainly. This can cause a startup to fail. It’s important to be cautious about what steps you take to launch your startup. It’s okay to start small and work your way up. So we’re going to show you things that don’t scale. Why? This will minimize your risk, your costs, and any uncertainties. It also maximizes success rates for the future.
Find Problems Worth Solving
The best way to start your whole endeavor is to look at your own needs and problems. When you’re your own customer, you can easily determine how to solve problems and how valuable that can be. Start off with a problem, and let the customer as well as testing tell you which model is going to work well to solve the problem.
An inspiration example is Luke Kervin, who created PatientPop. It’s a platform designed for physicians that helps them optimize every step of a patient’s journey, whatever that might be. His wife was pregnant, and through the process, he saw basically how badly run the processes are for keeping track of patients. This is probably a large reason why the opioid epidemic ran so ramped. The healthcare industry simply didn’t have the technology to keep track and run essential processes. This is where PatientPop was then born. Problems that are worth solving include addressing a real need in the world. If you see a crack in life, you have the ability to fill the hole. Start with what problems you are facing in your life. This could be something daily that really annoys you. Be aware of it and how you might be able to solve this problem.
Be the Product
To avoid scaling, you need to solve underlying problems under a condition that this solution is otherwise unavailable. When it comes to tech startups, this will likely be in the form of an app. They cost a lot to build. However, they are created to give people a solution to their problems. An app will serve hundreds of thousands of people without you putting in any effort (once the product is out). If you’re doing something in person, of course, you’re not going to be able to reach that many people. Still, you can serve enough people to test how people react to your idea. You can also build traction and presell a version of the idea.
It may not be scalable — in other words, you won’t be able to serve hundreds or thousands of people at the same time, but you will be able to serve enough people to test your hypotheses, build traction, and presell the scalable version of the idea. Build a simple page that acts as a brochure to show what your product is going to be like. This will get people interested in what you’re doing, and they’ll listen to your ideas.
Get Your Sales in Quickly
Even before you have a version of the product out, sell it. This will give you great confidence that your product is worth creating. If you have some believers out there, you’ll stay motivated. They will help you create a product that is perfect for their needs. Instead of scaling, get into your sell-soon mindset. This will create a path to market quickly while serving customers as you create your great idea. You could get some startup founders on board as well as getting some financial commitment from companies. Then you know you can move forward with passion and enthusiasm.
Focus on the Core
As you’re developing the product, you’ll want to build core features that are essential. The startup movement calls for lean beginnings, so you really want to start small and simple. You may end up with too many features, which causes you to spend way too much time building the product. By the time you’re done, it’s obsolete, and nobody wants it anymore.
What does you user really need in terms of features to get the desired effect? You want to serve part of the solution doing things that don’t scale. On the other end, you want to automate the other area. Let’s look at a food-on-demand app. You start by letting users look at the restaurants and menu, taking orders by phone and getting paid cash or using Square when the food arrives. Here’s another example, Ryan O’Donnell, who co-founded both SellHack and Replify, created tools that help you find leads and send them emails. He was inspired to make his job easier through use of a super simple tool that would quickly get him contact info and send them an email. It is in the simplicity that you will find success.
Hire Based on the Demand
Pay attention to what you really need when putting together a startup. A lot of businesses like to project, that’s ingrained in us, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense for startups. It’s rare that you can truly know how things are going to look in the future. Don’t hire based on what you think the demand will be. Hire when you get too busy to handle the surge of sales. With that said, feel free to check out the talent out there and get prepared when you do need someone. Suss out who is available but don’t bring them in for a meeting until you’re ready to hire.
So this is how you don’t scale but still succeed. Keep things small and simple. Get your product out there. Spend very little until you’re sure the product is in high demand. It should be said too that if you’re looking for immediate retirement when business gets good, a startup might not be right for you. You should be the most active salesperson in your business. Once you get too busy to do this, you can hire fantastic salespeople to take over so you can focus on overseeing everyone in the CEO chair. It’s important that you remain a large part of your startup, especially as it’s just beginning. You want to be there to address grassroots issues in the business. It’s something sacred to see your business grow in an organic way.
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