The lean startup approach has affected millions of entrepreneurs and their startups.
Our startup, for one, also adapted it.
Build, measure & learn.
It’s how you get from the assumption, to building it out, to tracking/learning from the data.
After all, the faster you test things, the faster you get to product-market fit, the closer you get to success. It’s why this approach is so effective.
But with all great things, there are times that it can be a detriment to your success.
As you already know, it’s very important to document and validate your assumptions.
The one thing that can definitely affect you is the time that you waste always trying to validate all your assumptions.
Go, Waste Time & Validate All Your Ideas
Validating ideas and assumptions. It’s super important.
Actually, it’s just as important as getting actual data from real people that use your product.
What I’m referring to is how you might possibly be wasting time being obsessed at testing every single thing, eventually losing sight of what you really need to do, to get to where you need to go.
As a startup, your most precious resource is your time and your time is tied up with focus.
The more unfocused you are, the more time you waste. It’s just that simple.
Besides the tests you need to run and validate, you need to plan to get to where you are headed. You also have different things that pile up along the way, such as team members leaving, building culture, random shit happening, unexpected downtime and so much more. It’s very easy to get distracted, get pissed off and just totally lose focus because of all the ups and downs that happen with startup life.
That’s why when it comes to your startup’s (product) progress, you really have to be laser-focused. The last thing you want is to also waste time with that and have competitors sweep the rug out under your feet. You will almost certainly fail.
So, what do you need to do?
Step 1: Re-focus
Write down your main goal. What is it?
Compile everything you are validating now and what’s coming next.
Is everything you are testing contributing towards that main goal?
Weed out those that are irrelevant or flat out BS. You should be able to spot them without much issue. We all make rash decisions sometimes, so it’s ok to admit that you went too far with something that you shouldn’t have.
Step 2: Prioritize
You already know by now that a huge chunk of a startup’s early period is spent on validating those ideas. That’s why you need to prioritize which you need to do first.
Sure, it’s always great to have more information about the market you are serving but are all your tests really critical to getting you from where you are now, to product-market fit?
I’m sure the answer to that, is no. (If it’s a yes, then why are you even reading this. Go and continue your perfect life.)
Anyway, just sort and score each idea you have lined up. If you have new ideas, it goes to the bottom of the pile unless it’s determined to be really important based on your startup’s current direction.
Research, Data, or a Story to Support Your Opinion
I personally experienced this with SeriousMD.
I began to realize that validating and wanting to see data about everything is basically just hindering our progress forward. We used to ship regularly but as we added more and more features, we had to run more and more validations.
I noticed that the team became so hell bent on testing everything that it became a hindrance to our productivity and our progress. Sometimes, it even became an excuse.
Somehow, the focus was lost in-between, so we had to refocus.
We went through what we were doing that wasn’t contributing to our end goal. In our case, we were focusing on adding improvements to existing modules when the usage there clearly wasn’t being affected.
We identified the main issue we have, re-focused on that and did our tests there. So far, so good. 👍🏻
What’s Your Take?
There are a lot of die-hard fans of the lean startup method out there. I’m sure a lot of what I say here will get smashed and I’ll get crucified.
I don’t really care.
The whole point is that there are people out there running a startup that’s doing everything right from the get go. But all of a sudden, finds itself in a hole.
I’m on the same journey and as much as I want my startup to succeed, I also want your startup to succeed. It’s why I’m sharing my experiences here on this blog.
I hope you find your way back and continue to kick butt. If you don’t really need this, then go and continue to live your perfect life. You are a rockstar.
I’d love to hear your story, [wp_colorbox_media url=”http://denseymour.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Snapchat-Dennis-Seymour-Philippines.jpeg” type=”image”] or leave a comment below about your experiences.