This week I’m handing off the blog to a good friend and client of mine, Pascal Wagner, to provide a case study for one of my coaching aphorisms, The 1-10-100 Process. Pascal’s experience provides additional insight into what happens when my clients put my advice to work.
Investors are looking for a solid framework of how your company will grow and succeed, and they want to understand all of the assumptions underpinning that framework. It’s called The 1-10-100 Process, and it meets all the same criteria as a five-year projection, without the arbitrary time variable.
You’ve maybe heard the terms “dumb money” and “smart money.” If this is your first rodeo, “dumb money” refers to capital from investors who provide nothing but the cash, ie. they have no experience or connections in your industry, while “smart money” comes from investors who can offer you their rolodex and years of experience in addition to their funds.
Unfortunately, smart money is by and large a myth.
All startups are based on assumptions, and most have devastating assumptions that make the product or service impossible to square. If you have a good startup, it doesn’t mean all your assumptions are right. It means that you’ve done everything you can to find out which of your assumptions are wrong as soon as possible. And once you’ve done that, you don’t just quit and do something else.
If you have a problem, do you honestly care HOW it gets done, as long as it works? Spoiler alert: the correct answer is no. Sure, you probably have conditions of satisfaction — the solution can’t cost more than X dollars, or require new software systems, or disrupt your supply chain. This is all a part of what success looks like. Once that’s defined, if your team can get the job done with helper monkeys in cute little vests, more power to them.
Why the hell would you worry about your site’s scalability if you don’t know how to effectively acquire customers? Your site falling over someday MIGHT kill your company (probably not). Never growing past eight customers WILL kill your company. Instead of using your beautiful brain and precious funding to solve theoretical scaling issues, perhaps you should go run some customer acquisition experiments. Build a fucking landing page. Buy some AdWords.