What does it take to build profitable growing sustainable software business – without a cent of external capital or top coding skills?
It takes a validated business idea. When your leads stop you midway through the pitch, and ask you to “shut up and take my money”, it is as good validation as it gets.
Pre-sale is the best validation.
It takes funding. Able and willing to pay customers are your best investors. They would gladly pay in advance for building a product that promises to make their pain go away. They don’t want a share of your company or a seat on the board of directors. If you listen closely, they already know where your business should be doing next. And if you deliver on your promise, they will you generate you PR no money could buy.
Customers are the best investors.
It takes technical talent. And these days hiring the best takes more than stock options or good hourly rate – it takes sense of purpose. Show the talent how this work would get him or her closer to where they want to be – and help make the world a better place along the way – and you’ll get 10x worth your payroll and never have to fire a soul.
Inspiration is the best incentive.
It takes powerful allies. But what can you offer somebody who is miles ahead of you? Testimonials and referrals are the lifeblood of every good business. Share publicly what you’ve learned from the people you admire, what works and what doesn’t and why. You benefit from their leadership, so you’re doing your tribe a service by letting them know about your idols. Persuade to give them a honest try.
Leads are the best compliments.
How do you get all these?
You learn about people – your customers, your employees and your idols. You get to know their dreams, hopes and fears better then they do. And then you learn to talk about that at length and in their own words.
Yes, it is hard upfront work, but it gets you disproportionate results. That’s what gives you the edge in the world where everybody and their grandma can get a professionally looking website for $100. Unfortunately (or luckily) very few understand what it really takes to create a successful business.
Learn this one skill from masters like Ramit Sethi and Dane Maxwell, who helped thousands of student build their own online empires.
Learn how to call to action.