Problem Finding

Most startups fail, and there are many reasons for that. The biggest one is due to failing on product / market fit (PMF). The current trend in entrepreneurship is to raise enough money to build out an MVP, and then work towards PMF. This is a trap that even I’ve fallen into. Even two years ago I went from having an idea one night, and two weeks later I was entering into due diligence on a 1.1million dollar raise – I was doing entrepreneurship right, I thought.

Since then, I’ve been working with my co-founder of DecisionTree.io, Dr. Alan Cornford, on doing a deep dive into the science of minimizing entrepreneurial failure, while bootstrapping. What we’ve discovered is that instead of validating an idea hypothesis as most documentation suggests, instead we spend the initial heavy lifting on problem finding.

Over the last 5 years, we’ve helped dozens of entrepreneurs through my private founders coffee group. Now we want to find a cohort who we can use as public case studies of a successful model using our novel method. Our success relies on your success, so we’re equally motivated.

During these last few years we’ve noticed countless incubators and accelerators, whose only metric is usually how much money they’ve helped a company raise – which we feel is a terrible metric – our founders coffee members have collectively raised millions of dollars over the last few years, but we don’t value that like we do the magic of finding a market of paying customers. Raising financing does not signify you’ve found a market fit, and usually just accelerates the burning of money faster.

Our unique model optimizes the time to problem validation, market fit, and then paying customers – saving the financial raise process for once the market has been validated, and that money can be used as fuel on the existing flames – not to find the fire.

As my friend Alex Cruise said,

“There are problem finders, solution providers, and executors”.

Most entrepreneurs are good at solution providing, which is the easy part of these three roles – what we’ve been focusing on is the optimization of problem finding.

We’ve been testing this with founders coffee, friends, and family, and we’re now ready to take on our first twenty entrepreneurial customers.

To apply:

  • You should be making less than 10k monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
  • Understand this is a 6 month engagement – you can quit any month, and you can be fired from the program any month.
  • If you make it to the 6th month, we guarantee you will be bootstrap funded, and/or accepted into an accelerator/incubator to get you to the next level – the traditional ideation -> PMF process.
  • You should have a way to access at least 1,000 people in your proposed market segment where you want to find a problem (people with money that you want to find and validate a pain point or unmet need).
  • Email [email protected] with your where you are in the problem finding and validation process, as well as your proposed market segment and your relationship to that segment. It could be as simple as “I have access to over 1,000 insurance agents on Reddit and LinkedIn”. This process is best suited for entrepreneurs, or what I affectionately call wannapreneurs, that have something to prove and are ready to hustle – this is more important than having an idea on what your business might be yet – in fact this is preferred. Please also include a link to your LinkedIn or resume/CV. People in margalized communities and those with no entrepreneurial experience are encouraged to apply.

What you will get:

  • Unlimited access to Alan and I while you are in the program.
  • We will help you build out your capitalization table, Pro Forma, and incorporation documents so that you understand them enough to help others build theirs. This alone can be over $15,000 in legal fees, so it pays for the entire 6 month program on its own.
  • Goal setting and advice at a frequency that matches how hard you’re hustling.

Expectations:

  • You’re dedicated to this exercise. If we’re not providing you value, and you’re not moving faster than you’ve moved in entrepreneurship before, it’s likely not a good fit.
  • You will be asked to leave the program if you’re not meeting the goal targets we’re setting for your success. You only pay each month if you’re invited back, and you want to continue.
  • We can use you as a case study in any marketing materials. We’re only successful if you are, and we’re eager to prove we have a method that beats the existing startup failure rate by at least 10x.

If you’re accepted into the program, the cost is $500 CAD/month (roughly $375 USD). If you have a financial barrier with this amount, please let me know in the email – but please also include how we can be reassured this program is your priority as opposed to working to pay rent/bills if you’re accepted on a grant. We expect after this initial first cohort, the cost will at least double based on proven value and the success of you, our first cohort.