Welcome to the nineteenth of our Entrepreneurial Wednesdays series. In this series, I share my thoughts on lean entrepreneurship as I take my first steps in my journey. I will be sharing my lessons learned with you.
We’ve been through so much together now. Last time we were discussing growth engine. Before that, I gave you a deep understanding of pivoting. So what comes next? Well, it makes sense that I want to build upon the strengths of your startup. One of them is the ability to adapt. This virtue makes startup very unique and undoubtedly is considered a competitive advantage, at least until some point.
A bit of planning and a bit of managing
So what comes first? Should I plan the activities in the company and then manage them? Or should I do a little bit of planning and then hope the situation will sort itself out? Funny enough, both can work in your favor. But the thing is, entrepreneurship has become more of a science than ever before. Paying attention to your metrics has never been more important. Customer research and interaction have never before been so sophisticated. This is the reason why wild guesses rarely find their way into practice nowadays. Of course, there is no general answer to the questions above because there are so many elements influencing the course of your actions. And you’re only left to adapt to them.
Once a startup starts to grow, many things can go wrong. Your attention starts to be more and more divided. Growth can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. That is why you need to be extremely flexible in these stages. Remember when I was discussing smaller dosages? How it’s more efficient and time-saving to create less and sell as much as it’s demanded? The reason why I’m mentioning this is because what I’m about to say next is connected to it on so many levels.
You cannot change quality for time. That is one of many discoveries of The Lean Startup. This means that whenever you find yourself in a hectic situation, think first of the outcomes of your adaptation rather than how quick you can do it. Think about what can go wrong if you do it faster than you are able to. Of course, adaptation should be really quick but if you do it without considering alternatives and consequences it can undoubtedly ruin your business. You cannot change quality for time.
Push The Tempo
I know, I know. I have been talking about being fast as one of the most important things in startups. And now, I’m saying something different. But there’s nothing wrong with it once you see the logic behind it. Create MVP, deliver it to your customer ASAP, receive feedback, repeat and ignore anything that’s not relevant for this process. This is a little bit more romantic than reality. There’s more to it, so many things that can influence this process (for good and bad).
First, it’s a continuous circle of processes. If in one cycle you get something wrong, you have to solve it in the next one (not a rule but it might happen). This means that when you are hurrying (and a nervous person makes mistakes) you can break something that can eventually mess up the whole cycle. BAD. This means that it’s highly recommended to set up a tempo that is comfortable with you and your team. If someone can’t keep up, something will go wrong and in the future, it will be bothering you.
In this case, what you need to do is communicate and be self-aware and aware of your team’s qualities. How fast can you be? How fast can you be and not mess up the cycle? It’s not the end of the world if you mess something up at this stage (you can still pivot) but you will definitely lose invaluable time. This leads me to…. You cannot change quality for time. So please, don’t try to do that.
Be as fast as you can be. Not faster, not slower. If you are too fast, you’re going to lose more than win. It’s firstly about experiencing the cycle. Understanding the elements influencing it and only then you can adapt properly. Make sure that you can clearly judge what you are capable of doing and if you do that right, the results will be more than great.