In today’s startup frenzy, although business planning is most important, we understand the pressures many entrepreneurs are under to move fast and show what they’ve accomplished to attract investors and talent. We know from first-hand experience many of the pitfalls in the early days when one first comes up with an idea and has those days of waking up in the middle of the night with excitement to write down more ideas and aspirations for the business. The Principal of TPM Focus, Monique Mills, states:
“It’s challenging for many to take a step back to assess their ultimate business goals and determine the details required to create the blueprint for execution. Everyone wants to jump in and build the tech, but that’s the easy part of it all. There’s so many ways to cost effectively put a beta product into the market but that’s only one small piece of the puzzle required to build an actual company.”
At TPM Focus, we take a strategic, PMI Project Management approach to helping clients build companies from ideas. But as Monique states:
“Founders are not typically interested in the process of laying a strong foundation before building the technology because they’re ready to just go and make millions with their idea, but it’s necessary to assess, define, and plan before you execute. In addition, once you execute there must be a process and metrics in place to monitor progress toward goals, measuring against your plans and adjusting strategies as needed. These are basics of any company that is being positioned for success.”
Founders are not typically interested in the process of laying a strong foundation before building the technology because they’re ready to just go and make millions with their idea, but it’s necessary to assess, define, and… Click To Tweet
Although the excitement and motivation to get started building your technology is keeping you up at night, one has to defer the gratification and instead build the foundation. Why? Because you’ll find that those great features you dreamed about, that woke you up at night, are not what your customers want. In fact, the people you thought would be your customers, won’t be. It’s tough news to break to those just starting out, but it’s a necessary mindset to adapt in which you say to yourself:
“I have an idea I think is great but let me see what the market says. Let me see if those I think will be my customers want it. If those people reject the idea, I’m willing to test it on different customer sets. While testing, I’m going to actually listen to their feedback as it can help me confirm or deny my hypothesis of how great my idea is. Their feedback will save me time, money, and frustration. If the marketplace doesn’t respond, I’m willing to readjust my idea.”
This thought process is fluid and will allow you to learn what you need to know before spending money building a technology that is different from what your customers desire. If they don’t want it, they won’t buy it so it’s best to take a more strategic approach to executing on your idea. More than likely, your idea will go through a mutation which is why you don’t want to start building before you assess the needs of the marketplace. This is called “gathering the requirements” in the project management world and it’s a fundamental concept in building a business from your idea.
- Repeat Steps 1-4 forever!
This is what we call being in “permanent beta” which means your business is always a work in progress. Planning and executing never ends.
“Position yourself to win. There’s no magic formula to building a business from your idea, but there are strategic planning and decisions you can make to minimize your risk in the early stages.”
Is your business a work in progress? How often do you review, assess, and revise your strategy? Each week? Each month? Each year? Tell us your thoughts.
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