How To Start a Business With Minimal Investment
My brother in law had a great idea. Hell, everyone has a million dollar
idea. My mother in law has four, my
barber has at least ten, and the guy that details my car begs me to invest in
one of his many.
Ideas don’t matter, they’re everywhere.
The daunting and excruciating process of bringing an idea to
a viable, profitable product or service is where all of the value is. And that’s why so many people fail. Because they don’t have the knowledge,
patience, and drive to execute. They
don’t have the chops to get up and work through the pain and rejection every
day to make it work. They ultimately give
Now back to my brother in law. He had a million dollar idea. Had no idea if anyone would buy it, but
convinced himself that people would beg for his product and pay whatever he
wanted, because he liked it.
He had no prior experience but somehow convinced his wife to pony up the
401K and credit cards to chase the dream.
And I’m sure you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to
guess what happened next. That’s because
I guarantee you know someone that went through a similar process.
Having no start up or project management experience, spending on the dream
went out of control. He started having
some doubts about the sales forecast after obtaining some unfortunate information. This was due diligence he should have done
prior to starting. His wife was freaking
out because it had become a make or break situation for their future. The fear and pressure was so insurmountable
that he was hospitalized after a nervous breakdown. And then they just stopped!
I don’t think he has ever been so relieved over anything in
his life. He lost his house, wife and
401K and filed bankruptcy, but he was now a free man. How did a dream turn into a prison
The reason I am writing this blog today is because this all
could have been easily avoided. My
favorite read that outlines the process of a proper start up once you are
convinced of your million dollar idea is the “Lean Start Up” by Eric
I’m sure most of you have heard of the book but if not,
spend the 20 bucks and save your ass. I won’t
go into too many details but the two most important take-aways for me were the
Minimum Viable Product and the Continuous Feedback Loop.
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the process of building
the bare minimum product or service to test the market. Hell, in some cases the MVP could be nothing
but a phone call or sales pitch to see if anyone is interested. If executed properly this should give you enough
feedback to build the most basic model and that concept should be designed with
as little capital as possible until interest and momentum can be built.
I have built several MVP’s over the years that gave me
enough information to decide whether the idea had legs or not. Some so ridiculous and aesthetically embarrassing
that I don’t want to mention. But guess
what, they worked! 80% of them sucked
but I had so little invested that dumping them was Ok. The other 20% did well and 5% did great!
Once your MVP has been established proceed to your
continuous feedback loop of Building – Measuring – Learning. This allows you to make adjustments and build
upon your product INCREMENTALLY through continuous feedback. If the model is working well, build on
it. If it’s working but not great make
subtle changes, measure those changes and continue to adjust or pivot all
Simply put, this process allows you to bring your idea to
the market without going broke. In other
words, LEAN! I’ve left out a ton of
shit, so again, please spend the 20 bucks and read the book before you taking money out of your 401k. Hopefully the wife
will stick around too.
See more innovative and life changing ideas at MrWallStreet.com
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