The first step is to change your mindset.
Let me make something perfectly clear. You can’t start a business with no money. All I have to do is get in touch with the individuals who appear to be options.
I thought starting up was about raising seed money from venture investors to hire people to master the tech to build the machine of a business that I wanted to build.
That’s true. When most people hear the term “startup,” they think of this route. And when individuals new to entrepreneurship are confronted with the difficulties of that path, they regard them as insurmountable. They have no clue what a pitch deck is or how to contact people who might help them create one.
So, they give up. Alternatively, they may decide to use a multilevel, drop ship scheme. And it does them in because it isn’t supposed to be a business for them. It was created solely to provide money to the operation.
But there are several other options to get a business up and running, including the one-pitch deck to venture capitalists to IPOs. The two sides of the definition of “startup” may be split down a single axis, with “machine” startups on one side and “mission” startups on the other.
Machine Startups Versus Mission Startups
I don’t mean “mission” in the sense of charity and noble efforts. I’m talking about “mission” as in using whatever means are at your disposal to solve a problem. A mission startup necessitates a significant amount of study and effort, much like a machine startup. The distinction is that whereas pitching, hiring, and running a board meeting are all necessary skills for starting a business, the learning and effort go into developing, selling, and scaling it instead.
That’s why every real entrepreneur begins a business in the first place – to construct, market, and scale it. Unless you’re only in it for the money, but I’m guessing that people who are just interested in money would have stopped reading at this point when I said that building a successful business requires more than zero cash.
I’ve spent the majority of my entrepreneurial career living in both the machine and mission startup universes. Here’s what I’ve learnt about attempting to create something from scratch.
Change Your Point of View
I’m not trying to be preachy, but if you’re going for a mission, you need to figure out why you’re starting your business in the first place. It’s a difficult process to boil things down to one idea. However, it’s critical that you don’t skip it.
My first business’s goal was to promote excellent writing simply for the quality of the writing. My most recent business’s aim is to make more and better entrepreneurs by offering startup help at a low cost.
I have a vision for my work, and that entails everything I do being in line with that goal. My expectations for the development of those missions, one based on writing and the other regarding entrepreneurship, must be reasonable, even tempered.
Enhance Your Solution
The product is the most essential thing with a machine start-up. Once you’ve gained traction, the usefulness of your product may be improved if you can develop a terrific product that serves a large number of consumers.
At Automated Insights, we started with the same thought process. We figured out how to get machines to write content from data, and then we developed a product around it. Before selling our first product, we raised more than $1 million in funding.
With a mission startup, you must show that your innovative solution to the client problem will work before you develop a product around it, and this is a chicken-and-egg situation where most mission startups fail.
Fortunately, there are ideas such as minimum viable product that can help. In an MVP condition, you may evaluate the viability of your solution in a real market with actual consumers and genuine income without having to spend all of that money on automation.
That will take time, and there isn’t much of it to waste.
Learn No-Code and Low-Code
It doesn’t matter what you’re creating; you’ll need to rely on technology and innovation to get an edge. There is a slew of third-party suppliers (HubSpot, Salesforce, Shopify, Zendesk) that can level the playing field with larger businesses in marketing, sales, e-commerce, and customer service. But they will only take you so far.
With no-code and low-code technologies, you can organize your data around a single location, such as a website or even just a database. In addition, no-code and low-code will allow you to create internal applications to help you innovate, whether that innovation is built into the product itself or simply how it is accessed and delivered.
Attain Sustainability and Seek Catalysts
What is the most significant question for a start-up on a mission: what can you include into your business model to allow it to survive indefinitely while you search for one or more growth accelerants?
For example, I may operate Teaching Startup “forever,” or as long as I can get entrepreneurs to ask me questions. It’s inexpensive to operate and isn’t my main source of income, and the only thing required to sell and deliver the “product” is nearly all automated with no-code and low-code.
It took me some time to get here, but it also allows me to focus most of my effort on how to increase the value of the product to more people. I do this by seeking catalysts – new features, larger clients, strategic partnerships, or improved marketing assets – that might take the business to a new level.
Take Time to Grow
On paper, machine startup looks easy. Raise cash, distribute it, go out and raise more money until you’re finished. In reality, it’s far more challenging. On the other hand, mission startup is easier. There’s no typical method to scale development, but once you’ve drawn it up on paper, it’s considerably easier to put it into place and keep going.
It’s a long process, though. You’ll have to suss out one catalyst after another in the identical way that machine startups must do. And, just as the machine startup founders must be wary of poor funding terms and investor demands, mission entrepreneurs must be careful about avoiding unscrupulous partners and consumers who promise the world but never deliver.
There are two ways to get to the same destination. Both have a lot of potential for danger and gain. One is simply much more realistic for most people. In fact, a mission startup may always turn into a machine business; it just doesn’t have to.
Failure is unavoidable, regardless of the path you choose. However, the worst kind of failure is failing at something you don’t enjoy because you believe there’s an obstacle too big to do what you truly desire.