Startup Urgency: sooner is better–the faster you get customers, the earlier you’ll learn what it’s going to take, so take startup urgency seriously. The more immediately you lean on someone who’s been there before, the fewer mistakes you’ll make.
It’s easy to say, “what if…”
- my product isn’t quite ready?
- I can’t make enough?
- there is no obvious price point?
- the brochure isn’t done yet?
- the packaging’s a mess?
- I don’t know what kind of company to register?
- it’s not obvious what to do first?
- it doesn’t work?
- someone steals the idea?
The fastest way to learn, thus improve, your business is through the use of your product or service. It is all theory till someone else is making use of what you do. Of course that does not mean planning is a waste of time.
Planning may not be what you thought it was
People with no experience of starting a business tend to assume that the first step is to write a business plan–and their picture of a business plan is a 50-page document, full of charts and tables. In some cases, maybe, but in most cases it is not. In all cases it is a matter of creating a strategy with a plan for implementing it.
Successful entrepreneurs may take a long time to start the business, but will NOT delay the process and they commit to startup urgency. There will be a sense of urgency every day; complacency will lead to failure.
So, planning should make sure you:
- determine priorities–decide what can you do right now to get you there faster;
- dream in the present–you have a business from the moment you decide to start one;
- articulate the plan simply–get your story right for the non-specialist to appreciate;
- avoid isolation–get feedback from others, learn and apply your conclusions quickly;
- calculate the downside risk and know how to recover;
- remain open to unexpected ideas and opportunities;
- know how to measure progress every day.
Opportunities and Hazards–get help to identify them
The little gains you achieve each day may mask the hazards that lurk in the shadows, but if you don’t commit to startup urgency, you won’t even get to make those little gains. You are so close to the subject that you may not notice what’s there. Get poeple to give you a hand. preferably those that know the territory.
The two best kinds of helpers are customers and mentors.
You have to ask both for their help–now!
Customers: they are the #1 best source of help on what works and what doesn’t work–product features, quality, price, delivery and even thing you have not considered. It costs virtually nothing to get their advice, so there is no reason to delay getting products and services into their hands. There is a real startup urgency to to get those customers and their feedback.
You may decide to offer the latest version of your product at cost, or even give it away, so that you can ask them for help. Hence the urgency of getting the product ‘out there’, so that you can make improvements and modifications to gain greater customer acceptance or approval. Customer feedback is not something you take lightly.
Mentors:mentors come in all shapes and sizes. Some will work for free and others will charge you a fee. Those that do the job professionally have a dedicated interest in seeing you succeed. The return on investment in the services of a mentor generally way exceed the cost. You can ask some of my clients, if you wish!
A mentor is a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person than you are. The mentor has ‘been there, done that’ and can save you loads of time, just as customers can. While customers may be critical out of self-interest, a good mentor will be critical in your interest.