Have you ever taken the time to admire the design of the very short, yet highly illustrative product descriptions on Amazon - all you need to know and nothing else. You're an entrepreneur. Do you really want to go through all that it takes to enjoy such a description of your own product on Amazon? Why not just take investment, and sell in three years - who cares about revenue! Did the latter option elicit a flash of relief? Be honest. Why? Hold onto that for a minute.
Let's now think about how many choices a startup in the ideation phase needs to make in order to develop a commercial ready product. What is the basis for making those decisions; who represents the mythical hand that is the arbiter of good and bad? This frame of reference should be a paying customer, but quite often it's an investor. Does an entrepreneur have a choice in selecting a frame of reference? What lies behind it...fate, confidence? For some time I've voiced the opinion that going to market is a decision. In response, many of you tilting your head slightly and smiling - politely moving on.
Going to back to our collective sigh of relief. Many decisions in business are neither right nor wrong, they just have implications. But this; this is fundamental, but simple. We all want to delay the absolute requirement of putting ourselves and our baby in front of the only teacher that matters - the market and its paying customers.
A customer will gladly not buy your product, but an investor will rarely give you such a definitive judgement and your reputation and ego will thus suffer less. Channels to the market for prototypes are scarce and when accessed, brutal. But, there are hundreds of channels to investors set up by well meaning stakeholders in entrepreneurship who set up safe spaces where people are nice.
So, yes. Going to market is a decision. One that requires taking an oar in a boat heading into gale force winds only to have the dockmaster tell you to turn around they don't want what you are selling. At this point the business itself is a secondary consideration. It's all about the entrepreneur; this is what some refer to as grit. There are investors who back people first, opportunity second. Are they on to something?
I'm a firm believer that entrepreneurial grit can be developed. But how? What about a framework for making progress with customer interactions while simultaneously raising capital; test the market and transparently share what happened and how you the entrepreneur reacted. I have told my daughter for years...it's not what happens to you, but how you handle it that matters. Ultimately going to market is a decision of the entrepreneur. It's not for the faint of heart. Which is why we started The Kindred Project. We're here to support those who have made their decision.