The First Hurdle to Overcome When Starting a Company


I often get asked what the first hurdle I faced was when I started HireKeep. In my opinion, the first hurdle I faced, and the first hurdle that many founders face is closing the first sale. And after closing the sale, getting your first dollar.

It’s All About Capital

The bigger question is: how do you get yourself to the point of being able to provide a product or service that customers are willing to pay for, without making any money until you do? When you get to that point and you’re talking to companies trying to figure out whether they’re interested in buying from you or not, you’re going to run into some situations where they don’t want to pay you for an unfinished product or pay you upfront. If an opportunity presents itself to sell your service, but you don’t think it’s ready yet, should you take the chance?

The way I see it is: take it. Take the opportunity to sell something because it gives you traction and direction. What I’ve noticed with a lot of the startups that I mentor is that they ask a lot of specific questions. They’re trying to figure out what they want to sell and how they want to sell it. There are so many things going on within the company and they’re trying to do so many things at once that by the time they get to their first sale, it might be too late because they don’t have a specific product to sell. Sometimes, they even run out of money before they even get to their first sale.

So How Do You Get The Cash?

One of the best avenues is to get to the point that you have something sellable (your minimum viable product) and go out there and start trying to sell it. And if you can’t build it, go out and sell the idea of it. Go out and sell the concept of it and see who bites. Pretend that it exists. That’s the crazy part about it. If you can imagine it in your head, and you pitch it as a product and somebody goes “holy crap, I want to buy this thing,” then you’re onto something. You’re onto a lot more than if you build this fancy schmancy product and you go out and nobody wants it. The initial validation of someone willing to pay you will light a fire under your ass to actually go and build whatever it is that you’re selling.

That’s how I envisioned building my business and that’s how we built HireKeep into a $1M business in a year, completely bootstrapped from the revenue we generated. We’re evolving, we’re identifying needs in the marketplace, and we’re figuring it out as we’re selling it. You can’t build a great idea in a bubble. You have to be out in the market, making mistakes and figuring out what not to. You figure out what to do by first figuring out what not to do. Every failure, every pivot is one step closer to success.

If you’re looking to build your company’s revenue generating teams check out HireKeep. We match candidates to positions at high-growth companies by analyzing skill-set, culture-fit, and past experience.

If you want to hear more of my ideas on entrepreneurship, sales advice, and leadership check out my YouTube series #PaulTalk. If you have any topics or questions for me to answer shoot me a message on Linkedin with the subject PaulTalk or tweet @hirekeep using #PaulTalk.

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