Startups burn through a lot of time trying to hire the perfect team or score game-changing funding. Which makes sense on the surface of it. Recruiting a true rock star can be the difference between life and death for your fledgling company, and who doesn't like a check with six zeroes on the end?
But according to a straight talking recent blog post by serial entrepreneur and coach Michael 'Luni' Libes, these solutions can actually be a little too alluring, seducing entrepreneurs into chasing magical but elusive solutions to their biggest problems rather than taking an equally powerful but far less sexy option.
What is this often overlooked Plan B? Good old fashioned brute force.
Boring, time-consuming, and unglamorous? Sign me up!
First, a definition. What does Libes mean by the term? "Brute force solutions can take a few hours of effort or a few weeks of effort. The commonality is that they are monotonous, time consuming, and often mind-numbing. And too often, they are overlooked by entrepreneurs, dismissed as either 'too time consuming' or 'below them,'" he explains. In practice, what does brute force often look like?
Need a list of sales leads? Instead of spending money to fly to that trade show, entrepreneurs could just use Google and LinkedIn to "find thousands of names and email addresses to put on a list, with the brute force effort of copying them from browser to CRM one by one by one by one," says Libes. Instead of raising a round to hire people to build the website or plan the event, they could just sit down and do it themselves.
The good news: No one else likes them either
Knowing that this type of approach is hard, boring, and less than glamorous isn't exactly going to entice most founders to come running, but Libes insists that for all the obvious drawbacks, brute force solutions have very real upsides.
"Personally, I love brute force solutions. They are problems that are solvable by the entrepreneurs themselves, if only they would. They create a barrier to entry to the next competitor, who similarly has no desire to use brute force. They get you to market much faster, as there is no need to wait for anyone or anything to get them done. They teach focus, as to get them done, you can't work on anything that might be a distraction," he argues.
His conclusion: Need to populate your database or marketplace? "Add 10 or 50 or 100 entries per day, every day, for a few weeks, digging through websites to find descriptions, contact information, etc., and your website will begin with some value. The value from your sweat equity." Need sales? Start emailing and calling people. It's hard but simple.
What's stopping you from applying the brute force solution to your biggest business problem?