Early-stage is not about speed

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Idea: Take the time to learn and benchmark your idea

Building a startup is not the result of having a game-changing idea while taking a shower and rushing into execution. Most ideas are basics and will be put to the test by the market. Early on, it is essential to take the time to build assumptions to check the solidity of the idea. Take the time to think, read, listen to podcasts on this very topic. After all, we are knowledge workers. If you think about it, most of what we do is turning knowledge into a product, and we never take the time to update our knowledge.

Product: Confront your idea to the market early and slowly develop a product

Steve Blank recommends getting out of the building quickly. It’s essential to involve potential customers at one point to validate market assumptions. Better sooner than later. What most entrepreneurs do to gather feedback, is to engage potential clients with a lot of passion (sales-oriented) and with a product demo. So they rush to create something to show an “alpha” product. This approach creates a mental block in the head of the potential client. Indeed, it is complicated for a human being to tell someone that passionately demonstrates something that the product is irrelevant and that the problem does not exist.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Fundraise: Do not look at the lack of money as a slow down excuse

Without resources and money, you will go slow, and you will feel constrained. I would argue that good innovation comes with strong constraints. If you have raised enough money to feel comfortable for some time, you won’t feel the pressure and drift into a certain routine. I have seen many startups do the right thing once they reached a near-death experience. It’s when it’s a life and death situation that excuses go away, and real questions are put on the table. That’s why corporate cannot innovate; they lack that kind of pressure.

Hire: Hire slowly until PMF

A lot of entrepreneurs blame the lack of early results on the lack of resources. We lack development power, or more often, our marketing is not in full gear, and so on. That is often not the right diagnostic. Things might be slow early on, simply because the startup is not ready, and the market reacts slowly. There is a point where you have to feel that something good happened without applying brut force.

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