Sometimes, there is talking about getting stuff done Sometimes, there is putting processes in place to get stuff done Sometimes, there is estimating how long it will take and how much it will cost to get stuff done Sometimes, there is gathering requirements and documentation for the stuff that needs to get done Sometimes, there is politics, posturing or arguing about how to or who should get stuff done Sometimes, there is rationalizing or pointing fingers about why stuff is not getting done And then there is getting it done. If you’re not getting it done, nothing else matters.
Check the Gartner Magic Quadrant, do days of competitive research, engage a strategic consulting firm to identify your competition. Even after all this work, your top two competitors probably don’t show up. Why? Because your top two competitors are Do Nothing and Do It Ourselves. If you’re not competing against them, you’ll likely lose.
What will you do when standing on the edge of failure? Quit? Lie? Scream? Drink? Cry? Or maybe, you’ll reach out to your partners, team, investors, mentors, significant other, friends, etc. and share the issues you are facing. Chances are they’ll help you through it. Facing failure alone is scary and challenging. Asking for help makes it easier. And if you’re going to start a company, you’ll stand on that edge often.
When you are in the digital product delivery business, you must decide how to communicate with the business and commit to deliverables on a roadmap. The best scenario for everyone is to accurately estimate the scope of work and deliver against it. Almost impossible in a fast changing business with agile development. The question then becomes whether to over promise and under deliver, or under promise and over deliver. We’ve consistently been taught to do the latter – it’s the safer and less stressful road. However, when we over promise, we often end up getting much more done. It’s a truth that if you try to get more done, you often do. It just doesn’t always feel that way. When we over promise, we often miss dates, end up cutting promised scope, and risk burning out the team. That’s why we need to partner with the business to over promise together, [...]
Marketing organizations big and small are talking about data-driven design and decision making — leveraging user research and analytics to optimize user experiences, increase marketing campaign effectiveness and improve products — with the ultimate goal of winning and retaining new customers. For start-ups with digital products or those reliant on digital marketing, where platforms are new and resources are limited, putting user research processes and analytics tracking in place can be overwhelming and get put on the back burner in order to meet launch deadlines. Unfortunately, this can have immediate consequences in the form of poor customer experiences, poor conversion rates, negative user feedback, and business requests for user behavior for which there is no data available. Understanding what makes up user research and where it belongs in the process can help start-up organizations build it into their culture from the start. Objectivity is the Goal First off, what is user [...]
“I wish I had that idea.” I often hear people say that when talking about the latest start-up that got acquired or went public. The reality is, in most start-up situations, many people already did. But only a few have what it takes to make it successful. What does it take to turn a great idea into a successful business? It takes dedication, sacrifice and relentless execution. It requires believing in yourself and your idea in the face of failure and critics, and convincing others to do so as well. It takes having the right relationships, partners and friends. It takes risk, and it takes a little luck. Above all, it takes the passion to live your idea every day. The next time you say, “I have this great idea”, ask yourself if you’re willing to go all in. If so, start looking for the right partners. PS - The [...]
I always find it a bit ironic that the advice given to someone looking for a job is to network. The time to network is when you don't need something. This becomes obvious when you look at the steps to building a successful network: 1) Truly like and enjoy talking and listening to people. 2) Call someone and invite them to lunch, dinner, drinks or just have a conversation over the phone. 3) Ask them about their business, their family, their life. 4) Listen 5) Identify opportunities where someone you know can help this person with one of their issues or problems. Ask permission to connect the two. 6) Call, email or otherwise introduce the person who can help to the person who needs help. 7) Expect nothing in return. Think about what you've just done. You've helped two people. Do you think they will be more likely to take your [...]
Many famous and successful people have uttered a phrase similar to “It took me x years to become an overnight success!” This is as true for start-up founders as any other profession. Founding a start-up can be a wonderful experience that will expose you to new people, situations, technologies, business processes and opportunities. It may even expose you to one thing many founders hope the most for, wealth. However, if you are looking to start a new venture and wealth is your main goal, you may want to consider the costs and risks. Most start-ups will take at least 1 to 3 years to start generating any real revenue and 3, 5 or more years to generate any real profit. Along the way, founders often need to give away sizable portions of the company just to fund operations and keep it afloat. People who fund companies don’t do it to pay [...]