Let me start by making a clarification. Actually, you can’t launch a business with no capital. I only need to get in touch with those for whom it appears to be their only choice.
Maybe “It doesn’t take an inheritance to establish a credible, high-growth firm anymore” would be a better heading. Due to the fact that too many people start the incorrect businesses and fail as a result,
Before I understood what the startup concept was actually about, I traveled along that path when I was younger. I believed that launching a firm required obtaining seed capital from venture investors in order to hire staff who could grasp the technology and create the business machine I envisioned.
That is accurate. When most people hear the phrase “startup,” they envision this path. Additionally, when those who are new to entrepreneurship are exposed to the realities of that career path, they perceive the entry obstacles as insurmountable.
They have no idea what a pitch deck is and don’t have any connections to the people they should be pitching to. They finally give up. Or, much worse, they adopt a drop-ship, multi-level, paint-by-numbers strategy. And it backfires on them because the only goal of the business is to generate revenue for the scheme and is not intended to be a business for them.
But there are many other ways to launch a business than the pitch-deck-to-VC-to-IPO approach. In reality, by simply dividing the term “startup” along a single axis, you may place the “machine” startup and the “mission” startup side by side.
Machine Startups vs Mission Startups
I don’t mean “mission” in the sense of charitable endeavors. I use the word “mission” to refer to the process of employing available resources to solve a problem. For the record, both a machine startup and a mission startup require a lot of study and labor.
The difference is that learning and hard effort now go into building, selling, and scaling rather of learning how to pitch, hire, and run a board meeting. Every respectable business owner establishes a company in order to build, sell, and scale it.
Unless you’re simply interested in making money, in which case you might have stopped reading this essay when I indicated that it costs more than nothing to get started.
During the nearly three decades of my entrepreneurial career, I have concurrently lived in the machine and purpose startup worlds, sometimes doing both at the same time. Here are the lessons I’ve learned from attempting to create something from nothing.
Change Your Perspective
I don’t want to seem preachy, but if you’re going to start your firm with a mission, you need to decide what that is. It’s a challenge to reduce everything to just one idea. In light of this, it is crucial that you don’t skip it.
My first business, Intrepid Media, had the goal of exposing excellent writing only on the basis of the work itself. My most recent business, Teaching Startup, aims to develop more and better entrepreneurs by providing startup guidance at a reasonable price.
Every action I take is in accordance with this objective, and I must have realistic, even-tempered expectations for the expansion of both of these missions, one based on writing and the other based on entrepreneurship.
Hone Your Solution
The product is crucial when a machine is first starting up. The utility of a product can be improved once you gain traction if you can create one that serves a large number of clients and is outstanding.
At Automated Insights, we did this. In order to create a product, we first had to find out how to program computers to create content from data. Before we made our first product sale, we raised more than $1 million.
With a mission startup, you must demonstrate that your original solution to the customer’s problem will work before you develop a product around it, and here is where most mission startups fail since it is a chicken-and-egg situation.
Thankfully, ideas like minimal viable product exist. Without using any of the expensive automation, you may test the viability of your solution in a real market with real customers and real money.
You don’t have much time to squander because that will take some time.
Learn No-Code and Low Code
Whatever you’re producing, you’ll need to rely on innovation and technology to get a competitive advantage.
There are numerous third-party suppliers (Hubspot, Salesforce, Shopify, Zendesk) that may place your business on somewhat of an equal footing with larger organizations in areas like marketing, sales, eCommerce, and customer care. However, you will only get there partially thanks to such sources.
You can organize your information around a single point, such as a website or even just a database, with the aid of no-code and low-code solutions.
Additionally, no-code and low-code will enable you to create internal apps that will support innovation, whether that innovation is incorporated into the product itself or simply in the delivery and access methods.
Achieve Sustainability and Seek Catalysts
What can you incorporate into your business model to make it viable indefinitely until you find one or more catalysts that can serve as growth accelerants? is the most crucial question for a mission startup.
For instance, I can keep running Teaching Startup “forever” or for as long as I can get business owners to ask me questions that I and others can respond to. It requires no maintenance, is not my main source of revenue, and almost all of the “stuff” required to sell and deliver the “product” is automated using no-code and low-code.
It took me some time to get here, but that gives me the opportunity to spend the majority of my time thinking about how to increase the product’s value more broadly and to more people. I do this by searching for drivers that can propel the company to a higher level, such as new features, bigger clients, strategic alliances, better marketing tools, etc.
Plan To Grow Slow
On paper, starting a machine is straightforward. Raise money, distribute it, go raise more money, repeat as necessary till you go. It’s far more challenging in practice.
The alternative is a mission startup. Although there is no one right approach to scale growth, once you’ve got it down on paper, it’s lot simpler to put into practice and maintain.
Simply put, it takes absolutely ages.
Similar to how machine startups must raise investment in successive rounds, you will need to discover catalyst after catalyst. Mission entrepreneurs also need to be alert about avoiding dishonest partners and consumers who promise the world but never deliver, much like the founders of machine startups must continually be on the lookout for poor funding terms and investor expectations.
There are two ways to reach the same destination. Both have the potential for danger and reward. One is simply lot more doable for the majority of individuals. In truth, a mission startup can always turn into a machine startup, but it isn’t required to.
No matter whatever route you choose, failure will always be present. The worst type of failure, though, is when you fail at something you detest because you feel that there is too much of a barrier to doing what you really want to accomplish.