Want to start a business? Can you test the minimal viable product without a technical co-founder? This year, I had the pleasure of attending a one-day conference for non-technical founders called Hustle Con 2015. The conference featured 15 founders sharing their strategies for starting and growing their company in a TED-style event. If you're someone looking to turn your passion into a business, read on, and get ready to hustle!
1. Build a Community to Be the Core of Your Business
Starting a business doesn't begin with building an app or a website. Focus your early efforts on building a powerful core of true believers for your product. Matthew Brimer, co-founder of General Assembly, scheduled 1:1 coffee meetings, group dinners, and conversations with people who truly believed in his mission of creating a collaborative space for entrepreneurs and startups. The early adopters eventually become his evangelist for General Assembly.
Give karma, get karma. More importantly, always give and be as genuinely useful as possible when connecting with people. The karma you send out inevitably comes back to you.
2. Talk to Your Customers to Find Product Market Fit
The only way to know what your customers want is to talk to them. Interview and pitch customers to find out if your product will work in the market. If you're in a consumer business, the customer always wins. Uber was successful because they did whatever it took to deliver a car within 5 minutes. Every other search engine before Google gave a directory, but Google built an algorithm and had bots scrape the internet to take the work out for the customer.
Sprig listened to their customers and took on customer-driven bets like sourcing all organic ingredients, farm-raised animals, and owning their kitchen, supply chain, and culinary team. Today, a lot of investors question if people care about health and wellness but Sprig is forward looking. Although people may not care about healthy foods today, they will in 5-10 years. Sprig is taking the bet now and riding the wave because they're customer driven.
The business can be ugly on the inside as long as consumers see a good product. The best founders have no ego and will solely respond to the needs of the market.
3. Be Tenacious and Embrace the Ride
As Steve Jobs once said, "I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."
When Adam Draper of Boost.VC was fundraising, he sent out 3,000 emails, got over 350 in-person interviews and heard back from just a little over 30 of those people. Needless to say, you're going to be
hearing "NO" a lot. Learn from each "NO" and keep following your passion. Craft a great story, find your tribe, and tell everyone you can until you find the golden "YES."
Ready to get hustlin'? What advice would you give new entrepreneurs? Please share in the comments below!