The 20 Reasons Startups Fail
Build Your Startup Like a Serial Entrepreneur
Designing your business model
As a CEO or leader of your business, there are three types of work you are responsible for:
Product development, sales and marketing (execution), and business model design. Every founder we have ever worked with has gravitated to either product development or that sales and marketing execution piece, depending on their strengths and interests.
We have to confess we love product development here at Fluent! It is creative and challenging, and it is rewarding to see something we have imagined come to life. Some founders live for the execution side of the business. This includes sales, marketing, customer success, and all of the day-to-day activities that keep a business running.
It is often said that a great founding team will have one person with a product focus and one person with a sales or marketing focus. That is probably true. They are equally important parts of creating something valuable and loved by customers.
But there is a third focus area that startups in particular must keep front and center: business model design. When you are creating something new and innovative, whether it is a new kind of product, a product for a new set of customers, a new distribution strategy, or a new sales or pricing strategy, whatever it is, there is risk. There is uncertainty and there are unknowns in your business model. So you cannot just work on developing your product. You cannot just go out and execute on a sales and marketing strategy. You cannot just build it and hope they will come.
At Fluent, we help founders with this third focus area: business model design. Perhaps you are familiar with the famous business book, The E Myth , which paints a picture of what every founder should be working to achieve: Building something bigger and more valuable than just trading their time for money.
You want to create a system for providing a valuable product or service that ultimately you could personally step away, hiring talented people to do the product development and sales and marketing tasks. In this ideal scenario, the business would not just survive, it would grow and thrive. This is the goal.
You and only you are capable of operating at this 20,000-foot view of the business and solving the big strategic challenges of building the business model and systems that achieve all of this.
So while we would love to geek out with you about product development over a beer, what you will find during this program is that we are going to be singularly obsessed with helping you design and test and prove that your business model works and that you can scale to match your idea of success.
Staying focused on business model design is a discipline. It is easy to just work in your business sort of like an employee, and it is easy to be seduced by the fun of product development. But staying focused on that high-level view and solving for scalable growth is a discipline. It requires a set of tactical skills, such as how to design tiny fast experiments, and how to visualize where you are in the journey so you can work on the most impactful things. It also requires a certain mindset, that of a serial entrepreneur.
When we talk about building a startup like a serial entrepreneur, we are referring to the mindsets that help successful serial entrepreneurs build business after business after business with a great deal of success. First, they get the business model right before committing time and resources to product or to building a team or really to anything else. Second, their passion for the idea manifests, not as certainty, but rather as curiosity about what the business could or should become to solve their customers’ problem. And third, they move fast and stay focused on achieving their actual goal, which usually is not tied to a specific product outcome, but rather than is about serving a specific customer or solving a specific problem.
During this program, we want to help you with both these tactical business model design skills and these serial entrepreneur mindsets. You need to build and hone the business model for your company that will help you achieve your goals.