The Lean Startup, by Eric Reis is essential reading for anyone serious about launching their own startup. It is especially applicable when it comes to website design and development.
The information provided and insight from the book when listened to and followed correctly, will save any would be entrepreneur time, money and a lot of heartache.
We’ve seen our fair share of startups come through the door with varying degrees of success. With over 15 years firsthand experience, I feel like we have a good blueprint that gives you the best chance of success. A lot of this experience was painfully gained through the life cycle of our own startup – Yappie. To name all the pitfalls would take more than one blog post (and would most likely be another book!) so we will cover off a couple of the main ones here.
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is essential and we were guilty of trying to do too much, too soon. We made the mistake of overdoing the first version, trying to pack everything in we could think of and then constantly adding features and functionality before the first version even made it to market. BIG MISTAKE! Development of Yappie took 12 months instead of 4 and all this time we still didn’t find out what our customers really wanted.
The solution here is simple, very effective and extremely important for success. Launch light, release quickly, listen to your customer and change fast. Focus on one thing and do it well.
What does this mean? It means you launch your website or app with a core set of features that your customers need. Once your product goes live, release small updates quickly by listening to your customers and adapting your product to best fit their needs.
You hear it all the time “I don’t want to tell you my idea without an NDA”.
Ever since ‘The Social Network’ movie was released, startup paranoia has sky-rocketed. People don’t want to tell each other about their startup idea in case someone tries to steal it. Not only is it extremely unlikely for this to happen, but the benefits of sharing far outweigh the risk attached to sharing your idea.
We made this mistake during the development phase of Yappie. Scared to tell people of the work we were doing, we missed out on valuable feedback and ended up heading in the wrong direction.
By sharing your idea, you quickly find out if the problem you are trying to solve is even a problem at all. All of the most successful startups are born out of someone simply trying to solve a problem they have and feel other people have.
By sharing you get to craft and refine your idea with other people while it is still in its infancy. Tunnel vision is great if it relates to focus, but having the blinkers on when crafting your idea can result in you missing the problem altogether. Worse still you end up building something nobody wants!