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  • Writer's pictureTristan Wilson

When you don't know what you're doing, it's okay

Embarking on a B2B software startup journey without a technical background can be daunting. Before I started, I was plagued with doubts:

1. Idea Theft: What if someone steals my idea?

2. Rejection: What if potential clients aren't interested in talking?

3. Perception: Will approaching clients without a product make me look unprofessional?

4. Credibility: Does changing my initial idea undermine my credibility?

But here's the reality I wish I'd known from the start:

1. Idea Protection: The true value lies in execution, not just the idea. Most customers are too busy with their own businesses to start coding overnight.

2. Facing Rejection: Not everyone will resonate with your vision, and that's okay. Focus on those who do. If you’re solving a legitimate problem they face, they’ll be glad you called.

3. Bold Approaches: People truly respect the courage to present an idea, even without a product.

4. Adaptability: Evolving your idea based on feedback is a strength, not a weakness.

In my early days, I was tempted to engage in busywork that felt like progress but wasn't - like designing logos or attending irrelevant conferences. It's easy to get lost in these tasks to avoid the real challenge: facing potential rejection.

Two game-changing resources were recommended to me by a mentor, Brian Cooney, and experienced founder Larry Baker of Earthwave Technologies.

1. “How the Lean Startup Changes Everything" by Steve Blank - This taught me the importance of evolving ideas and business models based on customer feedback, bypassing the need for lengthy business plans.

2. “Crossing the Chasm" by Geoffrey Moore - A revelation about the technology adoption lifecycle, highlighting the crucial segment of innovators and early adopters, and the importance of targeted engagement.

The biggest takeaway? Talk to real customers. Validate or refute your hypotheses as cost-effectively as possible. I don't claim to have all the answers, but sharing these insights might illuminate the path for others embarking on a similar journey.

Follow the conversation here!

Photo Credit: View from the living room of Steve Blank himself who graciously opened up his home to a group of students in March of last year to teach us about startups - long story!


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