Know Where You’re Aiming Before You Pull the Trigger
In the startup world, speed can count for everything. You have to be quicker and nimbler than the big players. That’s your key advantage. But it’s easy to get caught up in the urgency and move without thinking. In the beginning, you put together a road map of where you want to go. Like any entrepreneur, I’m always anxious to light the fire and get going. I like action, progress, products, sales, anything that keeps things moving. But some recent conversations reminded me how important it is to re-focus on your end game.
While it sounds obvious, it’s easy to lose sight of exactly what you’re building and why. You may build a product because it’s useful and has a potential market, but miss an even bigger opportunity. After launching my first company, I felt under the gun to hire a development team and build a product. While that’s true, I should have felt even more pressured to keep talking to customers. You need to know what your customers want and how to approach their problems. You don’t build a product for yourself, you build it for them. Pulling the trigger on a development project is exciting, but may be the wrong move if you still have some research to do.
With one core business idea, there are probably at least four different paths you could take with it. Each path will end with a slightly different product and a slightly different set of market conditions. You should do some rough calculations (back of the napkin assessment) and investigations into each of these markets. You might have started down one path which is interesting and has potential, but find another that has the true golden opportunity. So before you pull the trigger and build something, make sure you truly know where you’re aiming and why.