This column is by Ilya Pozin, Chief Growth Officer & Co-Founder, Pluto.tv
If you want to launch a startup, there’s one thing you need to understand: speed is your friend. You want to build quickly, not because you want to be the first to market, but because you want to know what works and what doesn’t. This way, you can be nimble if what you’re doing isn’t working, and you won’t run out of money in the process.
Not to mention that the longer you spend developing your product pre-launch, the more money you’ll burn through. Without cash coming into the company, each delay takes your company one step closer to death.
Give your startup a fighting chance by launching as soon as possible. Here are three ways entrepreneurs can quickly and efficiently get their company started:
1. Learn agile principles
Through its work helping countless startups, my company, Coplex, has discovered one of the biggest secrets to building startups quickly: the agile methodology. The old school thought process behind starting a business is that, first, you get all your ducks in a row. You figure out what you’re going to develop, each step of that process, then build a team, create a marketing plan, etc. The agile methodology throws that out the window.
The idea is to build fast and constantly release the product along the way, even well before it’s done. After all, products have a lifecycle so they are never really ‘done.’ Any idea of a detailed far-looking product plan should be thrown out the window. Success relies on creating a series of small experiments that allow you to narrow down what customers would want from your product so you can see what resonates and what doesn’t. After each experiment, you evaluate what you’ve learned and adjust development accordingly.
Do research on agile principles so you know what process you need in place for your startup. Personally, I recommend reading books like Value Proposition Design Book by Osterwalder, Pigneur, and Bernarda, Hooked by Nir Eyal, The Four Steps to The Epiphany by Steve Blank, and Sprint by Jake Knapp. Those books will provide you with the agile fundamentals necessary to launch a startup.
2. Don’t be scared of making mistakes
Entrepreneurs put a lot on the line to make their startup succeed. They pour time, energy, and money into the company. Understandably, the risk of all of that going to waste is frightening. But that doesn’t mean you should fear mistakes.
Worrying about making a wrong decision leads to being overly cautious. And all that tip-toeing around slows things down.
There will be mistakes — some small and some big — before you make it to launch. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can realize the true value of mistakes. Every misstep you make teaches you something. The worst mistake you can make is execute a plan, take three months or more and thousands of dollars to build it out, and see it not work perfectly or even at all. Startups take a long time to build. So, release often — if it’s wrong, you’ll save more time versus if you were to release something every couple of months.
3. Don’t over build
Every feature of your product does not have to be ready to roll at launch. What you need lined up are the basics, the core of what will test your company’s value proposition. Once you’ve started acquiring customers, you can begin developing and releasing new features and testing them.
This will keep you from wasting money and time on aspects of your company that might not even be useful to your users. Release a minimally viable product and then collect feedback. Once your product is out, you can let the data and feedback drive how to position the next feature — or to see if there will even be a demand. You can even fake it, and create a button that leads users to a feature you want to build. If no one clicks it, that saves you time and resources on building something no one really wants. That’s the best way to find out what else can and should be added to your company. Plus, it gets you off the ground much faster.
If you want your company to succeed, you need to be able to move quickly. And to do that, you need to understand what typically slows startups down.
What are some other ways to launch a startup more quickly? Share in the comments below!
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