Failure to Launch
Ok, you’ve come up with a business idea that combines your passion, experience, and skills in a way that people might actually be willing to pay for. You’ve done your research and found that there is a market out there for your idea. You’ve prepared yourself for what’s to come with a SWOT analysis and maybe some other tools. Now it’s time to actually start moving on your business. But how do you do that?
A lot of people get stuck at this stage. Overthinking can really kill your momentum. Some people overthink about making the product or service perfect before they launch it. Some overthink by trying to eliminate every last ounce of risk before they take the next step. This has been compared to planning every last detail before a missile launch, when what we really need to do is start moving and adjust as we go, as you would if you were driving a car (Eric Ries, The Lean Startup). Here are two tips to overcome overthinking and launch already!
Don’t Wait for Perfect, Start Moving with Your Eyes Wide Open
Many of us like to plan; some of us like it too much. We feel like launching our business idea before it is completely perfect is a form of laziness. Truth be told, perfection may be a cover for laziness, since it prevents us from having to actually DO anything, but I’ll leave the pop psychology to someone else. The reality is that perfection is hard to come by and almost NEVER comes BEFORE you launch. Launching while you continue to develop isn’t lazy, it’s very practical.
Your business exists to serve people in some way. They pay you do provide a product or service that solves their problems and meets their wants and needs. The best way to serve those people is to get your product out there and listen to what they say about it. Perfecting your product depends on feedback from real customers who can experience your initial offering and then let you know how to improve it. Launch and listen.
Don’t Try to Eliminate Risk, Manage it Like an MVP
Others are stuck in a holding pattern out of fear of failure and what that might mean. Can you really risk your family’s financial security, your job security, and your savings to start a business? You don’t have to, so don’t let this fear stop you. This tip is a two for one.
Part 1 – Hustle
Starting your business out as a “side hustle” is a great way to manage risk. You can start working in the evenings or weekends and gain momentum while you still have a steady income from a job. This takes most of the financial risk out of possibly failing. If you have no job, go out and get a crappy job and build your hustle on the side. You just need a source of income to pay the bills and your growing business will supplement it more and more. Don’t quit your day job until your new business can replace your necessary income.
Part 2 – MVP
What if the risk is less about not making money and more about start-up costs and expenses to get going? Most businesses can work around that too. We are all familiar with the concept of Most Valuable Player, but many industries use the abbreviation MVP to stand for Minimum Viable Product. What is the smallest, simplest, least expensive to produce version of your business that is still a true representation of what you want to do? Launch that MVP, learn on your feet, and slowly scale your business up using internal financing from your business profits. The initial investment of both time and money will be smaller and allow you to get going with less risk.
Just to make a quick example, let’s take J-Dog Junk Removal, featured in a post here:
They started out with only the founder and his wife, hauling with their own truck. They did a small version of the final product, reduced risk, and learned what to do and what not to do to make a great company. If they had tried to hire 20 people and buy moving trucks, they would have failed and more than likely wouldn’t even have started. What’s even more interesting is that they probably would have made the wrong investments because they didn’t yet know what it took to be successful in their market. They learned that as they grew.
Don’t hesitate. Launch, hustle, and scale.