Eight months ago, I started a company (now, MajorClarity) based on a kind of crappy idea that I had a really tough time articulating.
It took a different form or meaning every time I explained it to someone, and no one really knew what we actually were trying to do or how it would become a sustainable business.
Despite all of that, and despite being an inexperienced college student, I was able to secure investment from an incredible EdTech incubator, 4.0 Schools, for my company.
We have since undergone our first pivot; we are quickly gaining momentum as a legitimate company, and things are looking up daily.
I now look back on our start and wonder what 4.0 saw, and why they chose us. I think I’m finally starting to understand that they knew something most people, including myself, don’t: It doesn’t take a good idea to start a company.
In fact, most companies are usually founded on half-baked, crappy ideas (as 4.0 CEO Matt Candler always says).
People just don’t realize because all they hear about are the mega-success stories of Facebook and the likes, where some genius had a brilliant idea that took off incredibly fast.
This premise is validated by the fact that startups that pivot at least once or twice, on average, raise 2.5 times more money and have 3.6 times better user growth.
Usually, you don’t get it right the first time -- that being said, it’s shown that pivoting more than two times isn’t great, either, so have some wherewithal.
Startups are often founded by outsiders, with limited experience and perspective. It takes customer feedback, iteration, and grinding it out to figure out what you actually need to do as a company.
Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup" and a major catalyst behind the trend of lean methodology business management, writes that using lean methodology (validated learning from customers/users, iteration and testing),
[Startup] teams tend to converge on optimal solutions rapidly even if they start off with really bad ideas.
With a “hungry, but humble” approach, entrepreneurs are able to converge on sustainable business ideas, regardless of their starting point and past expertise or knowledge.
Customers and users will tell you what they want and will pay for, but it’s important to sift out false positives by listening to actions, not simple words.
Starting a company has no prerequisites. There is no entry-level amount of needed experience, knowledge or brilliance. You don’t need the next billion-dollar idea.
You just need to be ready to work incredibly hard, work with humility, be sensitive to market feedback and push through all the times you want to throw in the towel.
Obviously, this won’t guarantee you not to fail, but it will increase your chances of success. So, what are you waiting for? You’re out of excuses, so go start that company.
Photo Courtesy: HBO/Silicon Valley