Being an entrepreneur myself, I often encounter people who have ideas for new business or apps they want to start.
The conversation always goes like this:
Them: "I have an idea for a new online platform."
Me: "Oh okay, what is it?"
Them: "It’s a new way of doing x"
Me: "Cool! How far through the idea are you?"
Them: "Oh not far, I’m still thinking about how it would work.”
Transport to 6 months later
Me: "How’s your idea for x getting along?"
Them: "Oh not very far, I’m still trying to work out y"
And so on every couple of months; it’s the same conversation every time, and it’s frustrating.
I get it. Some people are less risk-adverse than others. However, what a lot of people don’t realise, is that a lot of successful entrepreneurs and business people are successful not because they know some sort of secret that others didn’t. It’s that they are willing to take a chance on themselves and believe in their ability to pull something off.
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as over planning. Both when working with clients at Hatch, and personally, I see it a lot. People think that if they spend a lot of time planning, they will reduce the risk of their new business failing, but it doesn’t always work like that.
The problem with over planning is that you end up locking in too many of the details (functionalities, design) by making assumptions about how your market will respond to your product. You then spend all this money and take your product to market, only to find that you weren’t actually able to tell the future and your product doesn’t quite solve the problem you thought it would.
The better way which we use and suggest at Hatch is the LEAN methodology. This way of thinking centers around building the minimum amount of product as possible that you can use to get market validation, thus comes the term minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP approach has a number of benefits:
- You are forced to keep your product simple & focussed, leaving out all the unnecessary fluff.
- You can get your product to market quicker.
- You save money which you can direct elsewhere to market your product or run testing.
- You can tweak your product over a short period of time to add value to it’s offering and use the insights gained from testing your MVP to direct future decision making.
- You aren’t over committing to something that is uncertain. For example, you could be building an MVP as a side project whilst you keep working full time and then transition into your new business as it grows.
Now that we’ve reduced the risk of starting your idea, by building and growing it in a smart & pragmatic way, the only real reason you wouldn’t do it is because you don’t believe you can do it.
I want to repeat what I said earlier and remind you that most of the successful businesses you see weren’t created by people who knew something you didn’t or had IQs of geniuses. All they did was believe that their idea could make a difference and they believed in themselves to go out there and do it. Put quite aptly:
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
- Mark Zuckerberg
You’d be surprised by how much can be achieved in a short period of time so get out there, have some faith in your ability, take your idea and make a start!