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Why Budget Conscious Solo Entrepreneurs Bootstrapping A Start-up Company Should Rethink Their Launch Plans
There are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to adapting the software philosophy of Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to your business or product launch.
Unfortunately, the funnel frenzy has contributed a lot to the confusion where people go to market as fast as possible. Instead of taking time to set up their business for the best chance of success, they end up shooting themselves in the foot and struggle.
MVP Gone Wrong
The MVP Model is commonly translated into it’s best to launch a half-baked business or product. However, the intentional of MVP is to cut the fat off of your business or product so you can focus on what is essential without unnecessarily dragging out the launch.
What is unfortunate is that people often have the idea you don’t need to start off with quality, but in most cases, that’s a mistake. Usually, it kills a business before it ever leaves the ground.
Testing an Idea
Now before I dive into what happens in this approach, I do want to address one thing. If you are running a unique idea that you are unsure will work and are merely testing the concept prior to investing the time and energy into building the actual business, running an isolated funnel is fine.
However, it’s important to be aware of what that means in terms of the negative impact that can have on ad costs and to recognize that you will be slowed down by having to build the business properly a second time if it works.
The Inevitable Cycle of the “Test Business” Mindset
When you see something as merely a Test Business or Product, your mindset shifts to rushing it out the door, investing little time, resources, or effort to making it work.
The Doomed Test Business Cycle
- Test Business – Have an idea and try to test it to see if it works, then build it out better after that.
- Rushed Product/Service – You don’t give the product or service the time it needs to make it a winner.
- Bad Website – You throw the cheapest fasted piece of junk website you can just to get something together.
- Skeptical Visitors – Anyone who visits your site is skeptical because of the poorly designed website and user experience. So it’s harder to convert them into customers
- Unhappy Customers – The few you manage to get sales from are left unhappy, because the product, service, or experience wasn’t good. They never return and certainly don’t recommend anyone to you.
- Failed Business – The uphill battle makes it hard to get things moving in the right direction. So you give up and move on to the next failure not realizing it wasn’t the idea, but the execution that led to failure.
Reasons to Avoid Rushing Your Launch
There is an unrealized debt of a poor launch
You may not have to pay it upfront but that’s why we call it debt. When things are not done right, the quickly need re-done. Simply put, if you didn’t do it right the first time, it’s going to cost you twice. If you are strapped for cash, the last thing you want is wasted dollars going out of the business.
But wait.. there’s more!
When this happens, you have to get involved with it. So it slows potential growth just as you are starting to gain momentum and requires more time on things that should already be solved in the early stages of your business.
And that’s assuming you get past all the other hurdles you are creating for yourself.
Increased ad costs
Advertisers like Facebook and Google have to keep their user base happy, so they really only want to send their users to websites and pages that are of high enough quality to keep them that way.
To combat this, they build into their ad placement and bidding algorithms logic that scores the quality of your landing page and website. Although I would love to jump into what factors they look for, it’s for another time. But all you need to know for now is that if your website is of poor quality, they make you pay more than everyone else, and if your website is outstanding, you pay less than everyone else.
So that bad website that comes as a byproduct of launching an idea with minimal effort puts you at a distinct disadvantage because you have an uphill battle becoming profitable.
SEO Opportunity Costs
One of the notoriously overlooked steps in setting up a website for a new launch is taking some basic steps towards optimizing the website for SEO, but SEO is one of those things where the earlier you have it in place the longer you benefit from it. If you wait 6 months or a year to do it, you waisted that time. You lost 6-12 months of free traffic by search engines and you won’t ever get it back.
Poor Conversion Rates
Another major downside is that a quality website is half the battle. A study showed that 48% of people said that a company’s website design was a primary determining factor of its credibility.
Your #1 goal starting off as a business should be trust and buyer confidence.
If your visitors are skeptical, you can say goodbye to a healthy conversion rate. Meaning you may as well have decided to launch your business near the summit of Everest because it’s an uphill battle for you.
The problem compounds at this point. You have to pay more per visit thanks to the ad companies, and you have to have more visits to make a sale. This is a recipe for disaster.
Now I am not saying you need to spend 10k on a site for a new launch, but you do need to invest the time and resources into making it good enough to not turn potential customers away or severely damage your marketing efforts.
Customers Don’t Come Back
A big part of growing a business is to keep the customers you earn. If you are constantly having to fill a bucket that has a hole in the bottom, you’re not in a position to thrive. Great services, products, and experiences are essential for retention and recommendations. When you rush the product/service the customer knows it and isn’t happy.
A Better Philosophy for Launching a New Business or Product
Now that we have laid out the downfalls with this common approach, let’s talk about solutions.
The Amazing “Your” Business Cycle
- Your Business – You believe in a business or product and want to take ownership of it and make it succeed.
- Quality Product/Service – You take extra time into the development of your product or service until it’s truly ready to hit the market.
- User-Friendly Website – You spend extra time in the design, content creation, and planning process of your website and refuse to just go for the cheapest option.
- Build Trust with Visitors – People instantly trust your brand and understand your messaging. They are intrigued and consider making a purchase.
- Happy Customers – As customers start rolling in, they tell their friends, and repeatedly come back for more.
- Successful Business – Like Obi Wan Kenobi, you had the high ground. You had everything working in your favor to make your new business a smashing success.
Fixing Perfectionist Paralysis
It’s true, there are some people who psychologically get in their own head, strive for perfection and never end up launching their business or they spend way too much time and money on a not so good business concept only to see it fail.
I am guilty of this myself. I love strategy and can frequently bounce between business ideas. There are plenty of ideas I have had that never saw the light of day. I hold high standards for myself. I have for as long as I can remember. The mounting weight of all that needs to happen to make any one of those ideas a reality at times causes that.
But sometimes it’s ok to let ideas pass by until you land on one you truly believe in and have enough confidence in to put the time, money, effort into creating something awesome.
The GETMO Principle
Nevertheless, perfectionism will kill your business. One thing that has helped me in understanding the balancing act between putting out a quality business and just getting it out the door was brought to my attention by Craig Groeschel, he has one of the most popular leadership podcasts in the world. I highly recommend checking him out.
The acronym GETMO meaning Good Enough To Move On.
The law of diminishing returns
This was paired up with a simple chart where we see that there is a point at which the time we spend to increase quality suffers from diminishing returns. Instead of chasing the extra 5-10% of an increase in quality by spending twice as much time, you stop when it’s good enough and move on to the next thing.
When you start to view your time as an investment this way, you really begin to make better judgments about what deserves more time and what doesn’t.
Why are we perfectionistic with business?
That last psychological barrier comes don’t to over personalization and fear of rejection.
Like a designer, people can over personalize their business and take any critique as a personal attack. Try to detach yourself from that and realize that feedback is good and can help you grow and be more successful.
If you are afraid of being rejected, lots of people feel that when starting a business. Just take the early days as an opportunity to learn and grow. You won’t get it perfect, but hopefully, if you listen, you will learn how to get better and modify your business to be a welcomed entity in the wonderful world of commerce.
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