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3 Lessons that will help you build a Great Business from Zero To One

Hey, I'm Emils and I run The Booketlist where I read and summarize the best business books out there.

Of course, Zero to One is at the very top of the list, and rightfully so. The book is full of life-changing advice if applied correctly. Although Peter Thiel mostly focuses on building massive businesses in this book, a lot of the lessons can be applied for us, Indie Hackers, too.

Lesson 1: Start small

To become a monopoly, you should aim to start in a niche market. The reason is a very obvious one: you'll be able to dominate it much easier than a larger one.

As Thiel put it, the perfect target market for every startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by little to no competitors.

You should dominate your small market, then grow to adjacent ones.

Lesson 2: Focus on foundations

As a founder, Thiel states, your first and, quite possibly, most important task is to focus on building great foundations. Thiel has even coined his own law in Silicon Valley: a startup messed up at its foundations cannot be fixed.

Thiel believes that choosing the co-founder is crucial in this (although, I'm not sure if he's familiar with solo-founders...) and you should have a prior history with your business partner.

Having a clear and aligned goal, and extending openness to the invention should be prioritized. The only way to replicate the invention levels of the beginnings is by creating new things.

Lesson 3: Marketing matters

As much as technical founders would hate to admit it, distribution trumps great technology. Without a way to market and sell your product, your company will not achieve success.

“If you've invented something new but haven't invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business - no matter how good the product is.”

Starting small attitude applies with marketing your product - you should focus on one distribution channel that works, then dominate it. If you can get just one distribution channel to work, you have a great business.

“Your company must sell to more than just customers, and more than just its product.”


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