Startup Secrets Sandbox
Startup Secrets Sandbox

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Are you curious what mindset it takes to be a successful founder?

Last edited 66 days ago by Andy Lyngdoh
The most successful startups solve a valuable enough problem that compels people to engage with them to meet their needs.
The corollary of this is that the number one reason startups fail is that they fail to create enough value solving a significant enough problem.
I continue to get curious about this and wonder if you might be too.
If you are, read on.

So what is the starting point for you to found a successful venture?
People often think it’s an idea, and it might be. For example, if you’re targeting a consumer, and have identified a latent need that could evolve into a meaningful desire that compels them to buy your product or service.
In the business world it usually starts with identifying a more blatant and critical problem that unless solved will have tangible and costly consequences.
In either case, the starting point is identifying a valuable enough opportunity or problem to solve.
(I’ve written more about about the overall process in my Startup Secrets series, leading to a that you can read
But I realized that one thing was missing and that’s the mindset needed to keep not only define the problem or opportunity but also keep in touch with your customer’s evolving needs, because the only constant I know of in a startup is change.

Curiosity Killed The Cat, But Ignited Successful Startups

The mindset needed is simply a curious one.
Curiosity will keep you asking questions. Questions of yourself, your customer, their desires, needs, aspirations or their business, it’s problems, challenges and ongoing market developments and opportunities arising or indeed declining.
Again the only constant in our world is change so it’s vital that one stay curious about all these aspects of your venture to stay ahead of the game.
I can’t give you curiosity though. You need to feel that for yourself. Only then will it energize you to go the distance in your venture as things constantly change.
But what I hope might help you is a little inspiration and some frameworks to channel your curiosity.
How well do you know the problem?
Have you experienced it first hand?
Who has?
How would they define the problem?
What would they say is the root cause of the problem?
How could it be prevented?
Is it possible to prevent it today?
If so how?
How could it be avoided altogether?

How urgent is it?
What will happen, and when if it isn’t fixed?
What could be the consequences and cost of failure to fix the problem?
Who might get fired if it is not addressed?
What other problems might be more urgent or take priority over this one?

What alternative solutions are there?
Which of them have already been tried?
Why did they fail to address the problem and what has changed since?
What do you think might make this problem intractable?

How might you break the problem down into sub issues?
Which of these would offer the most immediate relief if adressed?
(Getting to MVP)

What part of this problem is actually part of a bigger problem
What is that bigger problem?
What other problems are part of that bigger problem?
Which of them are of greater priority?
Where should one start?
Is there a logical order to solve them in?

Who is accountable for solving the problem?
Do they have authority to implement a solution?
Budget signoff?
Technical ability to implement ?
Who else needs to be involved for each of these steps
Who will evaluate the success of the solution
In what timescale will any solution make a difference?

These are all sales related questions that will help when you come to define your qualification process for prospecting and running a pipeline
How will the deem it to be a success?
How could it advance the business once this problem is solved?
What new opportunities might open up once this problem is behind us?
These are all customer success related questions that will help you develop a strong retention and upsell business model

What is the next problem that might arise?
How could we get ahead of it? (avoid just shifting the bottleneck?)
What is the big picture of how the business we’re working to solve this problem with, will advance once this problem is solved?
How does the problem we’re solving help the business with its various time horizons associated with their vision, mission, goals and objectives?
What would be cause to recommend the solution to someone else, internally, externally?
... and endless more potential questions that will arise from a curious mind!

Now a question for YOU: What other questions can you think of that would be helpful to really defining, mapping, visualizing, organizing and communicating the problem exhaustively

Here’s my Startup Secret
Never make assumptions, instead, question everything?


The principle behind all these questions is to be really curious, and keep getting more curious until you believe
you could not ask any more questions without being redundant
you could describe the problem in excruciating detail
anyone listening to or reading your description of the problem would understand it so well that they would be compelled to suggest solutions
The point is that you can never be too curious about a problem or opportunity.
Think of it as the key skill that could guide you to find your way through the ups and downs of the startup journey.
Taking it to the extreme to make the point with an exercise in thinking. Imagine you’re in a perilous situation, blindfolded. How could you find your way out of the problem just by asking questions of the right people in the room? Don’t even assume you know who to trust! That is part of the curiosity you need to find the right people who really understand each facet of the problem and how it might be not just solved, but also paid for, implemented, and promoted both internally and externally.
This level of curiosity will help you not only with defining the product or service, and engineering it, but also ensuring customer success and marketing to others. Thus all elements of your business will benefit from curiosity.
Are you curious to learn more?
Check out how this all plays into your , or get a perspective on how all this fits together with a warm .
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