Enough excuses. Just launch already!
by Kristin Leu
In my new start-up venture, my partner and I were recently surprised. As we fell behind schedule, we reassured ourselves that we didn’t need to hurry; we were working with little time and limited resources. With only two people, there’s a lot to do. How could we move any faster? While we were planning the second phase of the biz, dawdling on the details, crossing every “t” and dotting every “i”, someone else launched.
Whether it’s the fear of failure or the age-old problem of an artist’s work never being complete, there’s a lesson or two to be learned from business pros: Just do it, dive in, move forward, make money, and take a risk. It doesn’t have to be perfect to launch. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes, but there’s really no other way to learn. And if you don’t, someone else will.
We contemplated and weighed the pros and cons to figure out next steps. First, we realized that being first to market isn’t always best. You’re “new news” in the press and you’re likely to have increased name recognition, which is great for initial sales. However, a frequent mistake of new launchers is a false impression of competitive advantage (most likely the reason we fell behind in the first place). A few weeks ago, on MSNBC’s Your Business, Norm Brodsky from Inc. Magazine said, “Usually, first to market is not usually the person to last.” (That makes us feel better.)
Second, we have design-thinking. What can we learn from other companies? Should we make our products faster and cheaper? We realized that in some areas we should cut a few corners and spend less time. But can we cut back on the quality of our products, the beauty, the details or the design? No way! We’re going to add MORE design. And we’re double-checking to make sure it’s in every corner of the business, from our processes to our products, and everywhere in-between.
So, we’re back on track and thankful for the lessons! Competition is good but don’t let it catch you off-guard. Unless you’re like us, then it will give you just the kick-in-the-pants you need. What did we learn?
- Most problems have an opportunity hidden inside. Keep your eyes open.
- It’s not important to be out there first, but don’t hesitate to launch because you’re waiting for everything be perfect.
- Keep design involved in all of your actions from the start – from the merchandise, to marketing, to sales, to customer service – and your products and services will speak for themselves.
- Realize that as a start-up you can’t do it all. You’re small and you have limited resources, but you’re also lean and mean. Go for it!
Your Business. TV show dedicated to issues affecting small business owners. Sunday’s at 7:30AM ET on MSNBC.
Open Forum by American Express. Helpful tips, tools and networking opportunities.
A Little Less Conversation (JXL remix). A great tune to kick-start the action.