StartUp Founders: If You Build It, No One Cares

The best founders are relentless in getting out there, talking to their ICPs, gathering insights, refining their product and messaging until it truly hits. This is the 5:5:5 methodology for getting on with it.

StartUp Founders: If You Build It, No One Cares

Dear Reader,

The world owes you nothing. Success is seized, not received. Build something people want. The sooner you collide your idea with reality (the market) and refuse to remain a secret, the faster you’ll realize you can’t win a deal you’re not in. This is ICP Engagement. (𝕏 Tweet)

Before you write a line of code, you must engage the market – not to confirm your biases but to discover the white spaces, the signals, the magical something that makes your solution “desirable, viable and buyable”. (𝕏)

TLDR; The best founders are relentless in getting out there, talking to their ICPs, gathering insights, refining their product and messaging until it truly hits. This is the 5:5:5 methodology for getting on with it. (Workbook)


2.4 Your Leadership Principles: Do you even have core values?!


Founders fall into the common trap of hiding behind their computer screens, doing everything but actually speaking to prospects. Spend 2x the time engaging with your ICP as you do on your product. Seek them out, learn what resonates, get them on a call. A survey is not ICP engagement.

It’s crazy how many founders start building their product or rolling out new features without taking the idea on a roadshow. Engaging doesn’t just bring you closer to a sale, it uncovers the true magic of customer interaction:

  1. Whitespace: Customers reveal where the real opportunities lie, the real gaps in the market that set you apart.
  2. Visibility: The more people who know about you, the higher the chance of luck, moments that lead to big breaks.
  3. Refinement: Every conversation sharpens your understanding and iterates what you are about to build.
  4. Mumbling: The more you talk about your idea, the clearer it becomes, you’ll mumble less and get to value quicker.
  5. Validation: Real market feedback helps you validate (or invalidate) your assumptions, ensuring you build something people actually want.

(The WVRMV Framework wasn’t as catchy as 5:5:5)

If you’ve done the work, understand your reason for existence, defined your Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) all the way to your Atomic Customer Profile (ICP) then you are ready to start engaging.

Customers are (often) terrible at solution imagineering, but legendary at identifying their problems and communicating opportunities – you just have to listen. Their problem is why your startup exists and why engaging with them EARLY (now) is non-negotiable.

Knowing who benefits from your solution, has the authority and capability to buy, means your job is to get out there every single day, shout from the rooftops and evangelize your product. You (not Ads).

Early days you have to catch your customers by hand. Relentless outreach, more calls, more follow-ups. There is no cheat code, spray and pray doesn’t work; it’s you, doing the work, one prospect at a time.

The goal? Before you go live or release a feature, you should have 5, 50, 100 people (solution depending) who are eager and ready for its launch. It’s a perfectly reasonable expectation that if your solution actually solves a problem people want solved, then surely you can do enough calls to have customers lined up on day one.

The key for most founders is just getting going, figuring out how many steps lie between a call and a close, developing a playbook to follow, and building a cadence. This workbook can help with that.

SU002.5 Activating Your ICP 5_5_5 (aka Colliding With Reality) by James Sinclair

I have two simple 5:5:5 Frameworks for engaging the ICP:

5:5:5 Founders Have To Be Sales Leaders (Focus on Action & Sales)

Founder led sales works. Driving a customer pipeline through consistent, targeted outreach and value driven conversations.

5:5:5 Never Stop Colliding With Reality (Focus on Understanding & Product Advocacy)

Continuously validate your assumptions and refine your messaging until you get to something that works, then never stop.

If You’re Still Here:

Each framework represents a critical ‘earn the right’ step forward – one iota closer to success and one step further from failure. The sooner you grasp that everything is interconnected, the quicker you’ll see there’s a proven methodology; Not for success, but for mitigating failure. Success comes in a billion ways, failure comes in about 15.

Those “(bullshit) slides” you’re crafting for your pitch deck, making it all up as you go along? You might not realize it, but they’re the foundational components of your ability to enter and succeed in the market. This is a game, with guidelines, opponents, players, stadiums, rules, partners, referees and an audience. More hunger games than beach volleyball.

Get on with it, do the work, no one will do it for you, not even dripify. Embrace the 5:5:5 framework or whatever system works for you, commit, and watch literally everything change.

Happy hunting… If you have built something awesome, but the world doesn’t know it yet, you are welcome to grab time with me.

— James

(LinkedIn | Tiktok | Twitter)​

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