Tim Cheadle

Tim Cheadle

Engineer, Designer, Maker

Stop Focusing on What You Don't Have

One of my favorite things to do is to meet other entrepreneurs. I love seeing other people get excited about building products. The conversations are usually interesting and make me consider situations and perspectives I’d never thought of.

However, these folks usually tell me they have a dilemma. They report that their idea is totally fleshed out but they need a designer. Or maybe their designs are workable; they just need a developer. Once the funding comes in, they can hire a marketing person. It’s always the same story.

If only we had X, we could Y.

Stop thinking like this.

What you’re doing is framing your entire business around what you don’t have. This is not productive. You are focusing on what you can’t do instead of executing what you can.

Most people totally overestimate what’s required to test out a market and see if other people find their product valuable. In almost every case I come across, you can test out the idea with nothing more than a little elbow grease and grit. Would a developer help? Probably. Do you need a developer before you can make any progress on your business? I doubt it.

Are you starting an online store to sell menswear? Just use a spreadsheet and a phone. Sell to customers one by one before investing in a web storefront for products no one wants. You will learn more from selling the first $1,000 in person than the next $10,000 online.

Do you have a new project management strategy that just begs to be a web app? If it’s as good as you think, find someone to hire you to execute the strategy for their project. You will quickly find items you missed and “important” features that just aren’t necessary.

If you truly think you need a developer, maybe it’s time to go learn some code yourself. You don’t need to become an expert developer; you just need to learn how to build pieces of the business you’re aiming for. Writing “bad” code that furthers the progress and understanding of your business is a great step to take. Building something to throw away is more valuable than not having anything built.

The problem is not what you’re missing; it’s that you are not leveraging what you have. While you may not be a “tech person”, you have many other skills and resources that you can take advantage of. You may have a background in sales, marketing, or copywriting that most developers can only dream of. Why not take the time to exploit what you’re already capable of? Once you begin to feel the pain personally, it will become immediately obvious where your business should go.

In short, you already have what it takes. You don’t need anyone else to get started. Just get it done. Go make your own luck and discover new situations. Your business will be the better for it.