The Startup Loop In The B2B Space

8 steps to consider before you build your next startup

After a couple years hustling and shipping 2 MVP products from scratch, my back is a little tired. It is because I had a rude awakening about how important it is to cross the 10 paying customers benchmark recently. When I first started, I made some naive mistakes but most others were just deliberate errors of judgement because I didn’t pay enough attention to the business basics. I've taken to reading a lot of business books of late on Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet, Naval Ravikant and blogs like Farnam Street that has helped me evaluate and reflect on my own missteps. Now, with a massive chip on my shoulder, I feel a new sense of clarity on how to go about doing this again. I still don’t have all the answers but I am looking to document the lessons I learned (as of today!) and keep powering through. Condensing my recent startup wisdom and knowledge from great resources/peers, I have developed the below 8 golden rules that I want to live with for the next few months.

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer. ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

0. Never start with a solution. 

It’s way harder to convince the world that they have a problem you are solving with your product. It should be the other way around. Unless you have an undeniable first-hand experience with the problem and believe it can attract an audience like you, don’t start building anything. The rest of the rules are pretty straight forward if you can overcome your urge with rule 0.

1. Find a fundamental must-have problem.

Update: There’s an amazing thread on this exact topic that I think you should check out. Link here.

2. Figure out who the incumbents are and how are they solving it.

2a. Verify if there any existing products in this space.

3. Understand thoroughly what the inconvenience/pain point that the customers are going through.

4. Brainstorm & come up with a solution(idea) for them.

5. Verify if the solution is technically feasible (with your tech founder).

6. Check if people like the approach & the solution you proposed.

7. Do people want the solution badly enough that they will pre-order or pay upfront?

7a. Check if they are sugar-coating their interest and/or trolling you.

8. Start building the solution (Wireframes -> Invision Prototype -> Usable MVP -> 10 paying customers -> Scale to a better version)

What do you think? Drop a comment with your thoughts/edits to this loop. And feel free to share this post with someone who needs to see this today.