I wish that from the start, before starting any business, that I knew the secret of how start-ups successfully become big companies. Of course there are several steps in this process but I want to focus here on where 90% all die: I’ll call it start-up pregnancy, right from the start.
In French, we refer to launching a start-up saying “Je me lance”, which means to throw oneself. And indeed statistics show that the act of starting up is for many a very suicidal one. So how to start-up without killing yourself?
Wanna know? It’s one simple and magic word. MICRO-TESTING. It’s actually crucial in every aspect of life, but let’s focus on business.
Before going full steam on ANY project, micro-testing It’s when you try something as a hobby or side activity with small qualities, or small human and financial investments to TEST if it works in ghetto conditions. And this is one of the key ways to tell apart a wannabee entrepreneur from the high-success-rate serial entrepreneur. Only his “selected projects” are successful. But in the labs behind the scenes they try millions of things, than in great part fail 🙂 Aborting of a project you were working on because it’s unlikely to succeed is very intrinsic to finding those that will succeed.
Micro-testing MUST include observation. It’s vital to measure the effects of the tests you make, in terms of profit, logistics, human resources required, etc…
Micro-test, observe, then go full-steam. Would you climb a 90-feet old rope without pulling on it a few times?
I know it can be tempting to have offices, desks, computers, nice chairs, and all the atmosphere, but invest in that FIRST, and you are dead for very sure. If that’s your approach, you either want to feel like you’re doing something, or other to perceive you’re doing something. Drop it, spend ALL your initial efforts on the fuel and motor of the business, not the shiny polish.
My first start-up was an epic fail. The one thing we all did right was to not bet everything on it, we had other revenues or were still students, so it was fine and we learned a lot.
My second start-up, which became a proper company, is an electronics business. It was micro-tested for about 6 months, and thank God because it took long to take off. By the time I finished my Masters it was a company craving to get my full-time attention.
With this notion of micro-testing, the argument that quitting your job is a tough decision is in most cases an invalid one. Because, the right way to do it, is to not take risks at first, and test things as a hobby or side-project.