Some do death by PowerPoint, I do death by pitching.
We pride ourselves to have a very hands on approach and to add value by contributing to startups we invest in, both with mentoring, a black book and lots of good coffee. As a result, our WhatsApp is always exploding and our coffee intake makes us 70% coffee. Whilst startup founders have widely different products, markets and customers are, they all face similar challenges.
And often I catch myself saying the same thing over and over again. One of the favourite recurring soundbite is it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Often the entrepreneurs are reluctant to release their MVP (minimum viable product) because it is missing this feature or that feature. This simply means that it does not do all of the things they want it to do.
This is where the “it doesn’t have to be perfect” mantra comes in, unless you are developing a drug or an innovation that could affect people’s health or safety of course!
You know that the product could do all of the additional features you have planned for it. You know it but your user-to be does not. You believe that this additional feature would be “very cool”, but does the end-user need it? Want it?
By the way, do you have an end-user? Do you have someone who is interested in using your product, let alone buying your product? These are much more important questions to consider at this stage than whether your product can jump through every technological hoop you think it should.
If you were running an established company with a large marketing budget, you would be able to engage into an extensive market research and you would be able to run focus groups.
But you are running a startup and you do not have access to that kind of cash, so your only way to find out whether you have a product that people want is to go out and talk to them. If you want to find out whether they like it you must ask them. To be able to ask them whether they like your product or whether they would like additional features you need to get your product out there first. “It doesn’t have to be perfect”.
As an innovator, as a creator, as an inventor, you want it to be perfect. The only way to make it perfect is by getting it out and receiving feedback from users and improving it and releasing v2, then v3, then v4…
It is one of the hardest changes in the mindset and this is what makes or breaks the entrepreneur.
Not being ready to share or showcase your work because it is missing a few features is only one cause. It is very daunting to have your work out there for people to see, use and criticise.
I have been meaning to write a blog for a long time. I used to compose my blogs on my daily commute in the morning and then delete them in the evening on my commute back as I did not deem them suitable to share, not “perfect” enough. So, this is me acting on my own advice and … as a result, I have decided to produce my first blog: it does not have to be perfect…