I was in Spain back in 2014 when I decided to run a project. It wasn’t the first one, but it failed. The lesson I learned here was so valuable, that it helped me to understand why a startup can fail even before the launch. One simple thing that reminds me when I can fail at something. It can sound evident, but what’s important is to focus on the right things.
Of course everybody has heard about Pareto’s Law (80% of the income comes from the 20% of work), everybody knows that a BETA today is better than a perfect version 1 month later and everybody knows that without a business model from the beginning, a project has a lot of possibilities to be a fiasco. Nevertheless, why so many companies fail before the launch?
The obvious stuff is not so obvious, and in real life we blind ourselves with our projects. In 2014 I was designing an app for workshops. The deal was simple, they put their offers, users schedule the reparation of the car with a fixed price and they pay it through the platform. As well, everybody could rate workshops with their quality and customer service. It could work, right?
I blinded myself designing the app’s sketch and the landing page. I barely saw what was going on. I spent a lot of time doing that stuff at the beginning, when I should’ve been developing a perfect business model to put this idea into the market. I noticed this one month after when, intuitively, I knew something wasn’t working out. In that moment, I spent time with my customers, or better said, my potential partners, the workshops. In one morning talking and observing them at their work, I knew this business model wouldn’t work with them. The information was there and I blinded myself designing an app when I should’ve been spending time observing workshops, talking with them, diving into the problem. Finally when I got this conclusion, it was too late.
What’s the secret in this whole story? Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Don’t create a perfect prototype, just spend time with your customer and find the real problem. If necessary, develop a quick prototype that can help you to going further without loosing your time in stuff you shouldn’t be doing in that moment. On one hand, where everybody fails is when you got trapped into doing things right, not the right things. But, on the other hand, being aware that you are running into a busy trap is crucial.
If you feel that something is not working how it should be, rethink it. Be sure you have your business model well defined before you stop doing the work. It’s better to spend one month developing it and see where the money will come from, than have a perfect prototype.
Copy this quote on your billboard, print it, always remember it:
Efficiency is doing the thing right. Effectiveness is doing the right thing.– Peter F. Druker