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Many people believe that success in entrepreneurship comes from having a brilliant idea and implementing it. Successful entrepreneurs, however, say something different. In his best-selling book, "The Lean Startup," Eric Ries shares insights gained from his time founding a multimillion dollar company and shows how a startup evolves through a cycle of continuous innovation. It may end up looking completely different from the founder's original vision.
The tips below tap into the "Lean Startup" vision to help you launch a successful startup:
A lot of new entrepreneurs want to build the perfect product before launching. This is understandable; everyone wants to make a product that they can be proud of. However, it can also prove to be an early mistake.
It’s much better to quickly bring a crude version 1.0 to market than to spend months – or even years – perfecting the product. Presumably, you’re building a product that you think other people want.
To build a successful startup, you have to build a product that people actually want. You do this by launching quickly and getting user input so that you can help product development to move in the direction of users’ interests. You can’t incorporate user feedback if you build several iterations before even bringing it to market.
The point of launching early and becoming your own boss is to allow you to iterate often. After you launch version 1.0, users will find bugs and offer feedback that helps you build a better version 1.1. It is crucial to the evolution of your startup that you bring new versions to market as often as possible. Doing so will allow your product to evolve in the direction that users want--instead of stubbornly adhering to the founder's original vision.
Ultimately, you want your product or service to evolve in a manner that creates more value for customers with each iteration. Ask customers about their experience. In the early days, you might reach out to each customer individually, giving them surprisingly good customer service and building personal relationships with them. In the later stages, sending surveys asking for customer feedback will suffice and go a long way for your startup.
Do More of What Works
The key to a successful self-employment effort is to identify what you’re doing well and find ways to do more of that. This seems like an obvious step, but many startups do not implement it to the necessary extent.
For example, some advertising channels work for your product and others don’t. If you’re getting a high ROI from Facebook ads, spend a bit more on Facebook ads as your budget will allow. When you’re earning your advertising dollars back in two to three weeks, don't hesitate to increase the spend even a tiny bit more.
The flip side is also true: Do less of what isn’t working. If your Google ads have a long payback period, don’t be afraid to abandon that channel. Always do more of what works and less of what doesn’t work. That is always the bottom line.