30Dec
Photo of man with toe tag and text DOA

Stop Building OR Die

Photo of man with toe tag and text DOA

Sales cure a multitude of ills. That’s what my CPA always says, and I can tell you from experience that he’s right. It’s sickening to think how many entrepreneurs have killed their businesses by continually building instead of selling.

Build, sell, sell, sell. Build, sell, sell, sell. Repeat.

It sounds simple. And it is. You have to fight the instinct to keep building so that you can start selling. Habitual “builders” may have a great product, but they don’t have the sales to garner the investment/debt needed to continue…

Samples lead to sales

If you are building a product or service business, you need something to show your customer. It doesn’t have to be the final product, it just needs to be enough to get them interested in buying. Those potential customers can tell you what they want – so ask.

Customer-driven R&D

“What are you willing to pay for?” Some potential customers won’t give you a straight answer to that question; they’re afraid to get locked into a purchase. But if you couch it correctly, you can get great R&D feedback from the people most likely to write you a check.

You will have to get your target customers to pay you at some stage of the process. Otherwise, you’re D-E-A-D. So instead of spending two years and $200,000 – spend 6 months and $30,000. You will know sooner rather than later whether you have a profitable product or service.

Do you know any habitual builders? How do you plan to break the cycle?

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About Alex Lawrence

Alex has been a successful entrepreneur for 20+ years. His current venture Lendio ranks #34 on the Inc. 500 list. Alex earned a BS degree at the University of Utah and his MBA at Weber State University, where he is Vice Provost and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program. If you want to talk with Alex about business and entrepreneurship (or other questions), email him (alex AT startupflavor DOT com), or you can find him on Twitter @_AlexLawrence.
  • Devin Day

    Excellent post. I know that I have found myself in this exact situation. I have to continually tell myself stop building and start selling!

    • Alex Lawrence

      Thanks Devin. Glad it was helpful!

  • This is great! I recently heard one of the founders of Redbox speak, and one of his main points was there is only one thing you need to start a business. A customer. Not a sleek product or cool service. All you need is someone willing to buy.

    • Alex Lawrence

      Paul – that is a great story. Thanks for sharing. Check back in and share again. Good stuff.

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