I recently got a question from an aspiring entrepreneur trying to figure out the right steps for starting his tech company. He seemed very deliberate about taking the correct approach. He’d been thinking about his idea for two years, staying updated on his market and getting feedback from various sources including two top accelerators.
He said he was moving towards building their MVP but first wanted to know what’s most important to investors about a go-to-market strategy. For example, should he target a niche market first or go after a larger market right away?
Here’s my response to him, with some minor changes from my original text:
- Don’t build your business for investors
- Build your business to enable maximum growth in the next 1, 5, 10 years
- You said you’ve had the idea for two years and watched the market evolve. Markets will continue to evolve. Have a thesis for what direction your market will go but START NOW. If you really want to build a startup you need to just start BUILDING. Perform small experiments along the way, make mistakes, learn from them, and adjust accordingly.
- I’m not necessarily telling you to quit your job and just go for it with no funding or market proof. Build it in your spare time if you need to. Plenty of successful companies start that way.
- Starting out in a niche market is fine as long as you have a plan to dominate that niche and then expand into larger markets or additional segments
- You’ve already gotten feedback from two legit orgs I know – take what feedback makes sense and make it part of your initial strategy
- A startup isn’t a linear line from beginning to success. It’s a messed up, twisty, jumbled path that’s filled with mostly frustrating, humbling experiences interspersed with a win or two if you’re both good and lucky.
- Make sure you’re solving a massive pain point. Not a mild headache, a huge migraine. Get some feedback from potential customers to validate this. If the feedback doesn’t validate it, maybe you need to change your idea.
- Strive to be 10x better than any other solution to the migraine you’re solving
- Feedback is critical but investors shouldn’t determine your go to market strategy. Think about investors when you’re putting your investor materials together (pitch deck and exec summary). Have a super compelling story, exceptional team, and hopefully some early revenue traction or at least an awesome MVP. These days it can be hard to raise capital for ideas unless you have a stellar track record.
The main point is: Just Build It! Yes you need to research your market, competition, and customers. Do it quickly. And once that feedback validates your thesis, build it! Then get feedback on what you’ve built, iterate and keep building. That’s what entrepreneurs do!