Venturing Alone



What’s it like to start a business on your own?  I mean just you, no one else.  Is it possible?  When I started my company in 1985, I had a partner but I was the first to jump off the cliff into the venture.  It was scary and I was very busy.  My partner joined after a couple months, which made things easier.But, what if you’re doing it TOTALLY on your own, and although consulting gigs are still putting food on the table, I’d like to focus on software product startups.

I think that it’s fair to compare software startups similarly to writing a book, or creating a piece of art that you sell.  A lot of work being done by yourself that requires discipline, creativity, and alone-time to create a product that you are going to sell, support and market.


The nine-point checklist I’ve written about in the past also applies to one-person enterprises.  The good news is that you will own the checklist with no misunderstanding.  Also, you will have no one else to blame.  You own the business strategy and execution.

  • Target Customer – Remember, that this is ONLY you, so you need to be precise in who you’re selling to.
  • Compelling reason to buy – This also needs to be extremely clear and goes hand-in-hand with your target.
  • Whole product – This requires a LOT of work on your side, also a lot of diverse skills, which means you need to depend on…
  • Partners & Allies – You better find people, especially other entrepreneurs, that you can depend.
  • Distribution model – It better be SaaS or download.
  • Competition  – This is one area where you don’t want to worry too much.  Run fast and out-sell them all!
  • Positioning – Again, an area to be precise and focused.
  • Pricing – If you’re going it alone you should be able to have a decnt cost/value ratio, but don’t undersell yourself   I’ve seen this happen too many times and you end up working WAY TOO HARD.
  • Next Target – I wouldn’t worry about this right now.  Focus on succeeding with your current customer base.  Build loyalty and they’ll help you find your adjacency.


I have met a lot of folks who ‘go it alone’.  They all are wonderful, inspired people.  I don’t want to name names here because some folks don’t want the world to know that their app depends on them alone.I think one of the biggest challenges that lone-startups have is, basically, loneliness.  It’s tough when you’re not feeling well, or are a little down, or just want to have someone to share your daily successes and challenges.  My advice there is to network as much as possible with many people, even if it just means meeting for lunch or coffee.  Blog, post, stay on top of social-media, because relationships are still the most important component of any business and it is even more valuable when you’re building a business on your own.

So, go it alone?  Sure, just go with your eyes open.  Everything is on you so pick the right startup, work hard and have fun!