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How To Build a Software Company With No Money

How to build a software company with no money | Thinking about hiring your first developer? Don’t rush into it. First, make sure you’re not building a product nobody wants. In this video, I teach how to test your software idea without writing any code whatsoever.

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– Technology adoption lifecycle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_adoption_life_cycle
– Tools for prototyping your software: balsamiq.com, uxpin.com, invisionapp.com

Can you build a thriving software business without writing code?

Can you generate real revenues without having anything built?

The answer is yes, and I personally believe that it’s the only way to do it.

A couple weeks ago I was in San Francisco hosting my Sales Pipeline Intensive event for my SaaS Academy clients, and one of the speakers John (founder of five9.com, $1.2B saas company) echoed a similar sentiment…

It was funny because we hadn’t connected prior to his talk.

So I did some research on his latest company JetBridge.com, and it mentioned all the different areas they were innovating sales using AI/Machine Learning, and when he comes up, he just smiled and said “oh, all that’s BS” ????

It was all made up. 🙂

Well, in his defense, at this point they did have a product in the outbound calling space that did have revenues and customers, but the rest was just positioning…

.. to allow them to get customers and learn fast.

And that’s what I want to teach you today as you continue on your journey building a software company (or any business for that matter).

You don’t need to have it built before you sell it.

And even better, if you don’t, I’ll show you a way you can get your future customers to finance its development…

Watch this week’s video to learn the exact same structure that one of my coaching clients Ryan used to generate $200K for his first prototype that he pre-sold.

When you build innovation there’s a few things you need to understand… one of the first is you can’t sell it to big, old, slow moving companies.

You need to find innovative and early adopting companies…

… so I share a framework to make this easy called the Technology Adoption Curve.

Also, once you have the idea, most founders will build it first then show it to customers.

But what I recommend instead is to build a Clickable Prototype, design a Customer Advisory Board and then co-create it with them.

Finally, if you want to ensure you get real commitment from your customers, then you’ll need to get them to throw down with some money.

True “Customer Validation” doesn’t occur until there’s some kind of financial commitment made…

… without it, it’s just a bunch of nice people grin f@ck*ng you.

It’s the WORST for a startup founder.

Have you ever tested an idea for your startup?

What creative ways – like my buddy John – did you use to test your idea?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

I share a few others in my video from my previous startups Flowtown & Clarity as well.

Can’t wait to read yours.

Till next week.

Dan “sell before you build” Martell

Don’t forget to share this entrepreneurial advice with your friends, so they can learn too: https://youtu.be/wlouEWnEFVQ


“You can only keep what you give away.” That’s the mantra that’s shaped Dan Martell from a struggling 20-something business owner in the Canadian Maritimes (which is waaay out east) to a successful startup founder who’s raised more than $3 million in venture funding and exited not one… not two… but three tech businesses: Clarity.fm, Spheric and Flowtown.

You can only keep what you give away. That philosophy has led Dan to invest in 33+ early stage startups such as Udemy, Intercom, Unbounce and Foodspotting. It’s also helped him shape the future of Hootsuite as an advisor to the social media tour de force.

An activator, a tech geek, an adrenaline addict and, yes, a romantic (ask his wife Renee), Dan has recently turned his attention to teaching startups a fundamental, little-discussed lesson that directly impacts their growth: how to scale. You’ll find not only incredible insights in every moment of every talk Dan gives – but also highly actionable takeaways that will propel your business forward. Because Dan gives freely of all that he knows. After all, you can only keep what you give away.

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