“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field”.
-NIELS BOHR, Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner
Two weeks ago I wrote a post about how you can build your startup without any capital. The feedback that I received it was quite positive believe it or not… but one question arisen again and again.
The question it was something like that; OK Andreas let’s assume that we figure out one startup type that doesn’t require any initial capital investment, how I will be able to deliver confidently a great value to my potential customers, given that I am neither an expert nor I have any significant experience in that field?
Undeniably is a great point, and of course it’s necessary to be addressed.
What is expertise?
Initially let’s try to define roughly what is expertise and if it’s required in the process of building a great startup.
If we attempt to deconstruct the topic of expertise, my understanding based on the research that I carried out and some talks that I had with individuals that are so-called expert in their field, expertise it’s composed by 2 core elements: in-depth knowledge of a very narrow area and on-the-job-experience.
Allow me to make a parenthesis here, and try to separate the 2 notions that distinguish expertise. The one notion, is the actual ability to master one topic and be able to deliver superior solutions to your clients.
The other notion, is the perception that others have about your know-how, which make you in their eyes expert or not (proof of superior knowledge as Tim Ferriss puts it).
This, in the business psychology discipline are named as credibility indicators (factors that make you look as an authority figure in the customer eyes). This post will dive into the 1st notion of been an expert (the actual ability to deliver superior solutions) and I will leave the other notion for future posts.
Is expertise required for building a startup?
Let’s go back into the question if expertise is required in the process of building a great startup and if is needed how long will take to acquire it?
Unfortunately there is a big confusion, especially among youngsters that make them feel that is impossible to build their own startup, because they believe that they are not beholders of the 2 qualities that constitute the expertise factor (in-depth knowledge of a very narrow area and on-the-job-experience).
Now that we set the context, I believe it’s time to dive into the answer of our very specific question;
Does expertise required for building a great startup?
The biggest expertise hack of all time
Let’s clear things up from the very beginning. Your objective is not to become the absolute expert in your field, so as to have a successful startup. This is just another startup myth and it’s a fool game to try accomplish this task before to launch your startup because, 1st is not needed and 2nd an absolute expertise need more than 5 years to be developed.
Now let’s leave Tim Ferriss, which is the absolute expert and master of that field to reveal the biggest expertise-hacking technique that change my life personally and many million others as well. Believe me is a game-changer. What is that hacking? Here we are, fasten your seat belt and enjoy the flight.
Tim Ferriss: “If you aren’t an expert, don’t sweat it. First, “expert” in the context of selling product means that you know more about the topic than the purchaser. No more. It is not necessary to be the best-just better than a small target number of your prospective customers”.
That’s it “guys” it’s super easy, and it really works. Let’s paraphrase the master; in the very beginning you don’t neither have to pretend that you are an expert, nor to be an absolute expert. What you have to do be is to be more knowledgeable and experienced than your target customer (thus select wisely your target group).
This is how so many startups appear in the market and flourish. You might ask, if it’s so simple why it’s not applied by everybody and succeed in business.
First I never said that it’s easy and 2nd this one of the numerous of right decisions that you have to carry out along your startup path. This is just the foundation that you have to build upon it.
Keep always in mind “Business is not (and has never been) rocket science it’s simply a process of identifying a problem and finding a way to solve it that benefits both parties”. -J.Kaufman
Customers want and seek a solution to their problem or fill their need, nothing more nothing less.
That’s all for today, I am very confident that if you embrace Tim Ferriss’ proven advice, it will change radically how you perceive yourself and your dream of becoming your own boss.
All the best