Some startups have a solid plan behind, some just an ambitious idea. Which ones do you think are most successful? No, it’s not the ones having a careful planning behind. Those that start from an ambitious idea are most successful, and there is a reason for that. Solving a problem it’s not so much a plan and execute process, but more of a trial and error method.
There is an experiment that might help understand the logic behind. It’s an 18 minutes challenge that uses some spaghetti, tape and a marshmallow, the aim being to build the tallest standing structure with a marshmallow on top while respecting some rules that exclude cheating. Invariably, those educated in a plan and execute paradigm are the losers at this game. The winners are children, used with learning by trial and error.
The truth is that adults and big companies hate trial and error and are more inclined to plan and execute approaches. It seems risky, more energy consuming and a threat to a status and a status-quo. And, it’s so much against the idea that a product, a service or an action has to be perfect. If not the reputation might suffer and with that clients might choose differently. This explains why the ones that are doing great today, are not doing great also tomorrow.
Entrepreneurs are different. There’s a lot of trial and error and there is a lot of need for feedback. Some say that the point is to fail often and fats to learn and develop. The rules are not to fall in love with your idea and just accept that perfect is not what you are looking for. You just need the good enough as fast as possible and the drive to improve through several iterations.
The Minimum Viable Product a version of a new product or service that allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning with the least effort helps you know if the customer cares about your product or service, how it defines quality and if it’s willing or not to pay a certain amount for the product or service in case. This is followed by improvement, adaptation and even some pivoting.
But, to keep it short, an entrepreneur needs to answer these questions:
- What customer pain point are you trying to alleviate?
- What is the business model that enables you to turn customer demand into profitability?
- Who is on your team, and what value does each person bring to the team?
- Are you willing to adapt and pivot, or are you falling in love with your initial idea?
- Where are you going to get assistance?
But, the key issue is What makes you different? Yes, it’s crucial to develop a product fro which there is an actual market, to be able to make money from this, have a team to help you, be flexible and act to improve and learn while doing this, but the key issue is building a competitive advantage and keeping it.