CREDIT: Getty Images
As the founder of a startup development studio, Coplex, there’s one major mistake I see inexperienced entrepreneurs make time and time again: moving too slowly. But the need for speed in launching a startup has little to do with being the first to market, and everything to do with having the necessary resources. New entrepreneurs spend so much time trying to get everything perfect that they run out of money.
To launch a startup, you need to be agile and you need to be quick. Slow and steady will not win the race. You need to be efficient, decisive, and ready to learn and adapt. But for people unfamiliar with founding a company, moving at such a fast pace can be scary. After all, it’s your dream on the line and you don’t want to drop the ball in your haste.
There is a way to launch a startup quickly and successfully. You just need to do these three things to make it through the process:
1. Understand agile startup principles
The traditional business process is all about planning. You decide what your company is going to be about, refine your idea, develop a process to make that a reality, hire employees, and go through a thousand other steps before even starting to create your product. Figuring out each of those steps requires time and money you don’t have at the beginning.
Enter the agile startup methodology.
The basics of these principles are to launch a startup quickly while simultaneously releasing versions of your product along the way. There is no concrete plan, but rather a series of experiments that test assumptions about your company and product. The results of each small test allow you to refine your product. This method enables you to see what interests your target market and what doesn’t, and from there you can decide what the next step of development is.
Since you’re learning as you go, you don’t need to worry about sticking to a plan. And if something unexpected pops up, you can continue to move forward instead of going back to the drawing board.
Learn more about the details of the agile methodology, by looking into what experts have to say on the process. Start with 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. These will help you understand the basics of what you need to know to launch a startup.
2. Embrace mistakes
Many people equate mistakes with failure. They worry that one wrong decision will mean the end of their company. As a result, they begin to worry and overthink each step they make, which slows down the process.
Unfortunately, that fear of mistakes can actually lead to failure because of the delays it causes. Instead of worrying about each possible misstep, accept the fact that you will falter. Give yourself and your team permission to make mistakes, as long as they approach them as a chance to learn and do better. Iterate and test small aspects of your product. If something doesn’t turned out like you had hoped, understand that it’s better to find out after spending a week working on that feature rather than six months down the line.
Also, know that when you’re practicing the agile startup process, you’re focusing on small aspects of your company. If something turns out to be a mistake or not resonate with the market, it’s on a much smaller scale than a traditional launch process. Just analyze what data you’ve gathered and make a new decision based on that information.
3. Don’t over build
Great startup ideas have plenty of room for growth and development. However, great startups know every possible feature or product does not have to be ready from the very beginning. If you continue to develop beyond the bare minimum, you’re wasting time.
Get the core of your company out to your customers first. See what they have to say about the product, what new features they’d like to be added, or what else they’d want from the company. Then use that information to prioritize your next steps of development.
Performing A/B testing after you’ve gone to market will let you see what the true possibilities are for your startup. For example, say you’ve released the basic version of an app. You have an idea for what feature you’d like to roll out next, but aren’t sure if it’s worth the time and effort. Create a button for that feature that leads the user nowhere. If nobody clicks on the button, you just saved yourself a lot of time and resources developing a feature no one would use. But if the majority of users are interested in the button, you know it’s worthwhile to develop that feature.
When it comes to building a startup, the secret to success is speed. The quicker you get off the ground, the quicker you can prove your concept to others and the quicker you can begin to see some money rolling back into the company. Follow these tips and you’ll see your business take off sooner than you could have ever imagined.
What are some other ways to launch a startup more quickly?