I want to address something I see frequently in the media. Something that can beat even the best of us into a piece of meat.
The “what makes us so great” articles. I have to laugh when I read the articles about how Entrepreneurs break the rules, never give up, have a beautiful well thought out business plan, great ideas and most importantly lots of money to make it happen. Why? Because I have NEVER met one yet who had all this going on at the same time.
Even better are the three lies about the types of entrepreneurs
The Superstar Entrepreneur
These ones are the darlings the media love to shine a light on. S/he has the visionary idea that is going to change the world, they work nonstop and make it happen by sheer willpower. They ignore customer feedback because they know what’s best, and spend months and years building and building their product. Once the product is released to the market they have overnight success and are instant legends. Seriously? This almost never happens.
The Business Plan Entrepreneur
This is the most common method of success that is taught at virtually every business school, with the business plan at its backbone. Its the advice everyone hears: Get a great idea, borrow or raise money, hire people, build your product, test it and then sell it. Launching and running your business in this way is flawed because most business plans are based on wild assumptions that are sometimes pure wishful thinking instead of actual customer feedback. What you NEED is the validation of your product/service and a short-term action plan.
The Money, Money, Money Entrepreneur
This is probably the number one reason people don’t launch a startup — the wild belief a startup needs to have a large amount of money to start a successful business. A startup needs a reasonable amount of money to begin. The truth is raising too much money is one of the mistakes that can lead to the downfall of a startup. Once large amounts of money are committed the clock is ticking, the company has less room for mistakes, and it becomes much harder to pivot if you realize the product you built is not right for customers.
BUT there is one Universal truth about being an entrepreneur
“…whatever you build, make sure customers want it! “
The number one reason for startup failure is building a product no one wants. You never want to take a chance on a vision that does not reflect what customers actually want. According to a study by CBS Insights, 95 per cent of start-ups fail, and an amazing 42 per cent of them failed because there was no market for the products or services, that they have created.
Once you have an idea, spend your time, energy and money on validating your idea, and figuring out how you will get traction, instead of jumping into building your final product. While there is no one-size-fits approach that will work for everyone, whatever you build, make sure customers want it!
Customer feedback and validations tools today allow you to get your product in front of real people, and even sell it before you have an actual product. Finding customers first reduces the assumption bias and tendency to obsess about building the perfect product.
To your success!