How to start building a business that people value

Good morning! This is The Zero to One. Equipping you with the best tools, resources, and actionable tactics to take your startup to the moon.

Here’s what’s in store for you today:

  • ICYMI: How Flodesk bootstrapped to $25M in five years.

  • Build a profitable business that people actually want by following these five steps.

  • Videos and articles to take your business to the moon.

  • Opportunities for you and your business to take advantage of.

  • Top tools for your business.

  • Cool jobs currently open in the startup world.


Last week I deep dived Flodesk. The email marketing tool making it ridiculously easy to design emails people love to get.

In just over five years, Flodesk scaled from 0 to over $25M ARR helping small business owners and micropreneurs grow their businesses.

Click below to see how putting the customer first is one of the best ways to grow a lean and profitable business.

Build a business people want with this simple 5-step framework

Here is a step-by-step framework you can use to build a profitable product or service people truly want.

1. Decide on a group of people you want to help

The first thing you need to do is pick a group of people you actually want to help and work with every day.

Don’t underestimate the importance of wanting to work with these people. Don’t put all your time into building an ed-tech business if you don’t want to work with students all the time.

Everyone has their crowd. Find yours.

2. Start talking to people

Find 10-20 people from that group to speak to.

If you don’t enjoy speaking with them - lesson learned. Move on to a different group.

If you can’t find enough people to talk to in that group - lesson learned. Move on.

Now what do you ask them?

3. Ask these four key questions

  1. What is the biggest problem you have in your business today?

  2. How are you solving that problem today?

  3. How important is it that you solve this problem (1-10)? Anything less than an 8: “Is there any problem you’re facing that is above an 8?” and then Q2 again.

  4. How much would you pay if I could solve this problem?

4. Look for common answers

If you found a common problem across the group. What are you still doing here?

Start building.

Build a solution though. Not the landing page yet

If you don’t find a common problem - go back to #1.

5. Circle back to your original interviewees

Set up follow-up calls with the original people you spoke to.

Show them your solution and ask if they’d pay for it as it is.

Yes? Well done. You now have a business. Sell it to them on the call.

No? Ask if there is a specific feature they would pay for today if you prioritized building it.

If the answer is still no I would rethink your solution. You may be going the wrong way.

If you do find people willing to pay, continue to find more. You have a valuable product. So keep going

Videos or articles to help your startup go from Zero to One 📽️

  • 5 tactics for better customer onboarding (link)

  • How to bring fun back to your company (link)

  • How to acquire customers in a crowded market (link)

  • Unique take on weekly 1:1s (link)

Founder Opportunities 🛎️

  • 10 VC funds that truly invest in pre-seed startups (link)

Tools of the week 🔨

  • Break the Web: Make SEO easier for your marketing team.

  • Designjoy: Unlimited designs on a subscription basis.

  • Balsamiq: Get your ideas out quickly and clearly with focused wireframing.

Cool startup jobs I found this week 🕵️

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