Modular Startup Philosophy
Successful founders – are just world-class problem solvers
Being a successful founder and CEO is not about being the best at finance or marketing, but rather being a good problem-solver. Even if you have no business skills, but you know how to tackle an extremely large and complex problem – which is basically the whole point of a startup – you will have a much higher chance of succeeding than someone with multiple college degrees or an MBA. Because the problem is that school doesn’t teach you how to do highly sophisticated problem solving, and that’s really all that startups do. They solve highly complex problems on a day-to-day basis in a cross-functional environment. So, if there’s one thing common that every successful founder has had since the beginning of time, it’s that they have a very solid approach to problem-solving. And when it comes to problem-solving for startups specifically – which is what Startup Cavern is about – all the various theoretical business skills that you would learn in business school are already integrated into the Modular Startups Process in an extremely practical manner, along with so many other skills that are startup growth-focused, that you wouldn’t typically learn in most places.
So, what exactly is the Modular Startup Philosophy? It’s one of the most comprehensive and actionable startup development process on the internet, that’s fully accessible to everyone. But more specifically, it’s a highly sophisticated problem-solving system, designed to solve highly complex problems.
Along with complete growth blueprints, and about 70 actionable templates it is also a set of principles and philosophies that are designed to guide a young founder through this crazy journey of building a possibly globally level startup.
The Startup Machine
Principle 1 – Look for the right questions before looking for the right answers
A startup is like a giant machine which has many different moving parts that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The job of a founder is not only to identify and source each of these individual parts, but also to make them work together in a sustainable system. Just like any machine, every startup has a purpose and a set of tasks that it is designed to complete. As a founder, or as an inventor of this machine, your job is to constantly monitor, maintain and improve this machine to keep up with the constantly changing needs of the user. Finally, a startup only truly serves its purpose, if it is able to get this machine (which is itself) in the hands of as many people as possible, that can potentially use this machine to improve their own lives to any degree, in any way.
This is a good analogy to keep in mind when you’re just starting out, because it shows the complex nature of what building a startup is like. Just like it is to build any complex machine, you need to have an extremely systematic approach to building startups. Unfortunately, this is the step that almost everybody skips because they think they would just be wasting time in creating a problem-solving plan, before they start doing things that directly have to do with actually building the product that they have in mind. For idea stage entrepreneurs, this usually leads to always experiencing a sense of being lost. This happens when you try to get answers to questions you don’t even have. Imagine you’re a founder that’s trying to solve 10 puzzles simultaneously (because usually that’s what it feels like) and I give you 1 random piece without telling you which puzzle that piece belongs to. Now, you have the answer in your hand, but you don’t exactly where it fits. To find that out, it might take you days, or months depending on the complexity of the puzzles, and only once you’ve identified which puzzle that piece belongs to, you can actually get down to making it fit. But had you once, tried to ask me which puzzle that piece is for, I would’ve told you, and you would’ve saved yourself a ton of time.
This exactly what I mean when I say, asking the right questions is more important than having the right answers because simply having the right answers does not necessarily mean that you can effectively put that knowledge into action. So, the most important thing for you to do before you begin building anything is really thinking about all the questions that you need answers for, that you will get you where you wanna be, and more often than not, you’ll find that a lot of those questions, will lead to more questions. And that’s the whole point of it. The more sub-questions you have, the better sense of direction you’re gonna have.
Divide and Conquer Startups
Principle 2 – Break down the entire problem into the smallest possible sub-problems
So, we all know that the best way to tackle a really big problem is to break it down into smaller pieces. But I’ve rarely seen anyone applying that to their first startup, and instead, I’ve seen founders taking everything on in one go and not fully being able to maximize the implementation on any one thing. It’s true, building a startup is not a linear process. You need to have your hands dipped into multiple functions of your business if you wanna make it all work together. But unless you can compartmentalize and organize all the various tasks that you have to do, you will almost always be in a state of confusion and distress from worrying about how exactly you’re spending your time and your money.
So, the best way to subdivide the management of your new startup goes something like this:
So as you’ve seen, by breaking down this huge process into tiny, focused bits you’ve created a 100% actionable, plan of action that you can start working on right now. In my next coming video, I’m gonna show you how you can actually get down to work and start building the most agile, progressive, and comprehensive business plan that really puts your startup in the best position to succeed.
Design Thinking for Startups
Principle 3 – Organize and document all thoughts, ideas and facts in a logical and accessible manner to set yourself up for success
So, if building a startup is like building a really big and complicated machine, the most important thing to do, and you have to do this from day 1, is organize your thoughts really well in a way that is systematic, easily accessible and in a way that you can constantly build on to. I’ve seen so many founders being in this constant, overwhelmed state all the time from keeping all this information in their heads. And in doing so they always have this brain cloud that ends up just creating a lot of confusion. Because in the beginning, when you don’t have much to go on with, it’s really convenient to leave everything you know in your head.
But as in how you keep doing your research, you understand the full extent of the problem that you’re trying to solve, and you start creating comprehensive growth strategies and so on, there’s going to be so many little pieces of information that you’ll soon realize, you can’t possibly keep track of in your head. And sometimes, by the time you realize this, it’s a little too late and you may feel the need to start all over again. So of course, you wanna avoid that sort of a situation all together, and the only way to do that is by following organized and documented thought processes from day 1.
One huge misconception I’ve observed is that people often say that I don’t have enough concrete information to put down on paper from the first day, and that’s because there’s this belief that only the information that you’re sure of has any value, is only what’s worth documenting. The issue with this approach is, that it makes you really tunnel-minded when it comes to making decisions. Because, unconditionally, you eliminate any thoughts and ideas that you’re not sure of before really giving them a fair chance to incubate, and you end up doing this until you’re left with only one way forward – which is really not the best way to make business decisions. If you’ve ever wondered, how successful entrepreneurs always seem to have this confidence in their stride, and this amazing clarity of mind all the time, it’s because they have the answers to all the questions clearly written down in front of them all the time, and if there’s something that they don’t have the answer to, they make sure to at least know where they can get those answers from, even they haven’t done so yet. So, if there’s one thing you take away from this video, it should be this: it’s equally important to be aware of the things that – you don’t know – as much as it is to have a clear picture of things that that you do know. And design thinking for startups, allows you to do this best.
Modular Startup Principles
Principle 4 – The best solution shows itself only once all other solutions have been tried, tested, and eliminated
So, what really is a Modular Startup? Well, a Modular Startup, is a startup that breaks down the entire startup development process into some specific modules, and sub-modules until every possible task becomes an extremely actionable next step. Now you don’t have to manually build this process and these modules, because the Modular Startup process comes with 60-70 comprehensive templates that cover everything from the most minuscule aspects of building a startup to setting yourself up to raise your first seed fund. And it’s all integrated with the most up-to-date methods and strategies that successful companies have used to get to where they are.
So, I say this a lot and it’s important to keep clarifying this, but the Modular Startup Philosophy is a highly sophisticated problem-solving system, designed to solve, highly complex problems, that allows you to discover, design and launch your startup from scratch. It also enables you to create really effective marketing, product development and growth strategies that are easy to understand and easy to apply from day 1 of your launch. The secret to why this process works so well for entrepreneurs is that every step of the process is rooted in one important question that is specific to each step. And if you remember, according to the first principle of the Modular Startup Philosophy, asking the right questions, is more important than having the right answers.
So, in the next part of this video, I’m gonna walk you through the entire process chronologically, but in the form of the questions that you should be asking, while you’re building your first startup.
Simply having these questions listed down, gives you a giant head start because it gives you enough to do in the short run and in the long run. You can, and should, of course, add more questions to this list if you think that’s gonna help give you a better sense of direction. In the end, it’s really all about being able to make every decision with a clear goal in mind, and having a solid list of questions like these allows you to give yourself some guidance, which would be exactly like having a roadmap that can get you where you wanna go.
$0 to $100,000 to $100 Million
Principle 5 – A solution is only complete, when everyone facing the problem has access to that solution
To build a startup you need a bunch of different skills, and it’s rare that any one of us as a founder has all those skills – which is one of the reasons why we have business partners right? But how do you know who a good partner would be? Before you even pitch your idea to a potential partner, do you know how exactly that partner is gonna contribute to the growth of your startup? Because if you don’t, you might be putting yourself in jeopardy. So the question you need to ask before taking a single step towards anything is, who and what do I need to really grow this startup?
One day, I met a bunch of ambitious founders at an entrepreneurship event, and I asked all of them this question? If there’s one skill, that I can give you right now or if there’s one thing that you can become an expert in instantly, what would it be? I got all sorts of answers such as knowing how to program an app or website, or being an expert at marketing and finance and so on. But no one said they wanted to be an expert on growth. How can you grow a startup, without knowing how startup growth works? But the thing is, I wasn’t surprised with the results I got, because most people don’t think of growth, as being a skill that you can actually acquire. The general understanding is that growth is just a consequence of putting a bunch other together and making them work. The reality though, is that as a founder, if you’re not unifying the work that all these different skills are providing, no matter how much time you spend improving the product, or how much money you spend on paid ads, if you don’t know how to go from 0 to a 1,000 to a 100,000 users, you’re never gonna meet your goals. So if there’s one skill, that should make you stop doing everything you’re doing, to go and learn this, it should be a startup growth course.
Now going further into the depths of exactly how a startup grows, and exactly how they start making increasing amounts of revenue, is beyond the scope of this video. But I’m gonna provide you with some links and resources in the caption that will get you there, including my own startup growth course that I designed for this exact purpose.