• Gideon Grobler

Start Ups: The Most Important Thing 01 - Getting The Work

As a startup, it’s rather important to create and maintain sustainable values that people or businesses could not go without or want to be a part of… after all it’s all about solving a real problem or pain point that is worth something (preferably money). You need to be awesome at what you do - preferably the best in the world to get the best results; who is the best in the world?

“There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.” - Julie Rice

This is by no means a full “how to guide”, but rather “something that warrants some consideration”; there will be several or probably numerous publications in the future about this topic. As with anything you need to be good enough that people will exchange money for your product or service. You need to know who the influencers and the decision makers are; what they want, what they value, what they are willing to promote. You, your product and/or service needs to speak to their values and desires. You need to be an exceptional influencer yourself through authentic relationships built on trust. To build trust you need to consistently deliver overtime. Be remarkable, be consistent, be authentic. The word product and service is interchangeable in the context of this publication.

To the crux of determining “What real problem are you solving?”; how is the problem formulated, how does it look, feel and smell? Being the best matters and makes life easier, however the market needs to be aware of your awesome products. The market needs to know and believe in you.


Ideation is a key skill to exercise to formulate a framework, practicing the ability to unpack and understand things, especially the formulation and creation of value propositions; continuous learning and improvement. Things to consider when understanding the person who will be using the solution is to ideate the premeditated criteria with the input and collaboration of selected people:

What does your target market feel, think, say, do or want? Worldview and framework created through ideation and collaboration - What matters is what the market believes to be true. As the great behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman said “What you see is all there is”.

More questions (not the only questions - asking good questions are more important than answers at this stage) to deep dive and understand when defining the problem - who said this was going to be easy:


  • Think deeper than the obvious - this is harder than it sounds.

  • Why does the problem exist? I mean, why does it really exist?

  • Whose problem is it? Who is going to solve it? Are you the solver? How to get attention?

  • When are you going to solve the problem? It’s never too late to start; have some GRIT

  • Where will the problem be solved? It’s always about location, location, location.

  • How are you going to solve the problem in an effective and efficient way? New thinking is required; evolution is inevitable, be at the forefront (balance the Risk | Reward dilemma).

  • What are they willing to give to have the problem solved?

  • What do you have? What do you need?

  • Finding the best people for the situation?

  • When to stop or continue?

Become genuinely interested in other people to uncover their true self and desires, the real wants. By being interested, you need to be a good listener and encourage people to talk about themselves to get to the good stuff; Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

Talk in terms of other people's interests; Stir in the other person an eager want to obtain the product and be linked to you.

Basic principles to nail down when “getting work”:

  • Supply | The stuff being given Product - Your product should be so good that they cannot go without it Price - What is your price point for your awesome product Promotion - Communicating your awesome product to a target market that cares Place - Handing over ownership of the product in a clean and convenient way Purple (Credit to Seth Godin) - It’s better to compete on differentiation rather than cost; getting loyal fans for your product rather than cost conscious non-loyal participants. Build a relationship, be remarkable, be consistent, be authentic.

  • Demand | The stuff that is required Need - Do you understand the need and can you explain it in the market’s lingo. Money - How much money is available for the solution Willingness - How much money are they willing to spend on the solution


As per economics, there should be a good fit between supply and demand for a viable market to be in place. Move from competition to differentiation, move from a red ocean to a blue ocean, move from short-term thinking to both short and long-term thinking.

Thinking fast, the lazy type of thinking is most likely not going to be good enough - thinking slow and making your brain really work is what is required to be successful in winning work; there is no real quick answer, it takes a lot of time and practice. Separating and sorting the vital few from the trivial many is key in ordering your priority and decision making.

Some key advice is to stand out of a sea of averages, by being your unlimited self and have the ability to tell a good story. Networking is highly underrated; networking in a real, vulnerable and willing to put in the mindful-time without having any expectation of getting anything in return.

You need fans that wholeheartedly support (financial) and route (promotion) for you, that shows and tells their co-workers, friends and family about your awesomeness, that makes life a lot easier in the word of finding work. As usual you need to you (the amazing you) and have mass amounts of trust with your fans who will be there for you every time. Obtaining fans by truly knowing who they are and being awesome for and to them, building a tribe comes to mind.


Credit where credit is due: