You don't need any investments. And that's why
Very often I hear from founders something like, “I have a million-dollar idea but I need money to start. I need $100,000 to start”.
Stop doing this.
With such approach you will be hanging around startups events, pitching some angels, etc. but it will lead to nothing. Today is 2018 year. Nobody invests in ideas. Traction and results are the kings now.
You will be surprised, but you can accomplish a lot on your own (without any investments) by building incrementally in a strategic manner that is focused on specific goals.
You should be conducting validation tests since day 1. Startup it’s not a company type. Startup it’s a state of mind, it’s a way you move.
Best startups validate in a week more than a hundred (!) of hypotheses. How many ideas have you validated for today?
Startup it’s not a company type. Startup it’s a state of mind, it’s a way you move.
Don’t have a product yet? Fake it. Fake it till you make it. You have to be able to pre-sell your product/service to help fund the build out. You can use renders, screenshots, videos, prototypes, anything that you can imagine. Have you seen how Elon Musk does it? E.g. with The Boring Company he started with a cool video how it will work. Then he made a buzz in all tech media and estimated the response: does somebody need it? Does somebody want to invest in this project with me? Sure, we are not Elon and can’t make TechCrunch, Mashable and Business Insider write about our new project at once. But this is just an example for you to understand how this approach works.
It's much more important to first understand if you can sell your product/service to the market and how big that market is, rather than how much it might cost to bring your product/service to market. Do you know why? Because statistics is not positive for startups: 42% of all startups die in the lack of market needs and only 29% because of ran out of cash. Just think about it.
“Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”
— Homer Simpson
How to do this
Make a good landing page with a description of your service and gather signups. Post an article in an industry media and gain traffic to your page. Measure the results.
Looking for a new social network? Try to start with a facebook group. Gain traffic. Measure the results. Going to launch a new lifestyle media? Start with instagram page. Promote it with built-in instagram mechanics. Measure the results. Everything is not so hard like it seems. Very often people are willing to find obstacles than opportunities. If you can’t validate your idea with such simple and obvious tools, who should invest his money in your ideas? Just think about it.
How to measure results
Find customers who pay you for your product. Someone who's willing to pay is not a customer, a customer is someone who's paying. These customers form an essential step in your business: they validate your business idea. They tell you: what you've created is worth paying for.
Also, run experiments. Experiment with your product, communication, marketing, sales strategies. The more you experiment - the more chances to find a right formula of your “magic elixir”. Experiments make your business grow, and keep you in touch with your customers. It's key to know what they do with your product, and it's key to listen to them so you know how to evolve. I know some guys who created a product in a couple of hours, and within 24 hours got their first few paying customers by getting out on the street and telling people about their business and asking feedback.
When you have results and know that people really need what you are going to make, then money will not be an issue. With validation results, it’s much easier to get attention from Angels and Funds. Because facts are always louder than words.
Also, I would suggest you to read The $100 Startup book, it's a great primer on how to create a startup with no money or capital investment.
How do I start a tech startup if I don't know how to code?
Ok, one more question from this sequence. The question about tech / non-tech founder in 2018 is not so hot like it was, for example, in 2008. Today there are a lot of tools that help you create a startup without CTO or even any line of code. From a simple landing page to a marketplace like Airbnb. We have made a small list of possible tools that let you create a Proof-of-Concept or even first MVP in an extremely small budget (up to $100). You can find it here - Workbench: Tech tools for non-tech founders.
So, to conclude: find customers, focus on their real needs (not your ideas about needs), provide them with any cheapest (for you to build) solution. Get money for it.
That's how you build a startup.
If you have any ideas but not sure will it work, you can schedule a free consultation with our founder. Section “Schedule a call”. Feel free to book 🤙