If you have an idea you are hesitant to introduce into the marketplace, you should watch Why Your Business Should [Not] Be Afraid To Launch And Learn, by Lydia Dishman. Though there isn’t much substance to the video, Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart, does mention a valid point.
In thirty-six seconds, Mr. Devine introduces the concept of “launching and learning”. He suggests that latent entrepreneurs can only understand how effective an idea is only if they can receive feedback from the marketplace. He also emphasizes that it’s possible for a dormant idea reduces its chances for success in the future.
Though the scale of his thoughts are quite large, those of us with start up ideas can still relate. My aspiration to turn my interest in web designing into a business began in a senior computer science class. Though the skills I learned motivated me to continue designing, other students commented that the skills were useless because web designers made little money. At the time, there was some truth to this.
I decided to provide web designing services nearly a year later, after Mariners Slo-Pitch gave me the opportunity to retrofit their website. Praise for the work I completed can be found on my testimonials page.
With each new product I create, my skills become stronger, and reception to each product is larger. I could only imagine where Daykeem GFX would be if I began that year earlier.
Chris Brogan also has a launch and learn attitude. He helped to launch Kitchen Table Companies using this methodology. In his article Launch and Learn, he agrees that “there has to be some planning, but thinking about something is really different than doing something and seeing how it really works”. He provides a few thoughts on how to launch and learn:
- Live by execution; die by overplanning.
- Write no more than a one page plan.
- Shop the plan around to no more than 3 people for improvements.
- Plan a test version of the offering, and plan to reassess after X amount of days.
- What does success look like? (You might not know, but put a metric to this.)
- Revise a few things. Launch again.
- Give yourself no more than 2 smaller launches before you go real and go big.
- Have real metrics in place to measure your success or failure.
- Revise and tinker constantly.
If you believe you have an idea with potential, do yourself a favour and launch and learn. I am often presented with excellent ideas from peers or coworkers who are reluctant to execute for whatever excuse.
“Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Thomas Edison