by Stella Fayman on January 10, 2013
It was in last year’s New Year’s resolution, and every year you can remember: Start your own business.Why haven’t you started it yet? No one is saying quit your job or throw your savings into building a company. On the contrary: it’s never been cheaper, easier, or faster to test a business idea for its potential to generate real revenue. Now that you’re convinced you can try out your business idea…what can you do? Follow these simple steps:
1) Write a Lean Canvas- Skip writing a long and useless business plan. They are filled with assumptions and research which does not translate into reality. Before furrowing your brow, consider this: those entrepreneurs who wrote business plans in 2007 (especially in industries like real eastate) made historical assumptions on market size, pricing, etc. The market completely changed the following year so their business plans are worth nothing. Instead, use the Lean Canvas framework to think critically through your assumptions and differentiators before quickly moving on.
2) Launch!- Launch something. Be it a landing page, Facebook page, or WordPress site. The sooner you launch something, the sooner you’ll start learning and proving those assumptions right or wrong. Without taking that preliminary step, you’ll be in the dark. Some entrepreneurs ask me when the right time is to launch…their product isn’t quite perfect. I say the best time to launch is yesterday: you’re releasing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) which means whatever you release now will drastically change as you learn about your customers and target market.
3) Collect Data- Do customer development (if you don’t know what that means, take a minute to read Steve Blank). Track key performance indicators in Google Analytics. Even a baby site will start collecting data. If you’re testing something like messaging, even 50-100 visits will give you enough data to make a decision. If 49 people convert on one page while only 1 person converts on another, you have enough data to know which page is better.
4) Find a Developer- You don’t need to be a software engineer to build a simple site. Sites like Weebly can help you build something simple, or you can use matchist to find the right developer to build the idea you have in mind. Don’t let “but I don’t have a technical cofounder!” serve as an excuse for not building your product.
The main point here is that often New Year’s resolutions end up as empty promises…for something as important as your independence, career goals and overall dreams, don’t let that happen! Especially when it’s so easy to get started…