Butterfly, Customer Development

Startup Blues

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“entrepreneur to the slaughter” by @gapingvoid

So, you launch your new idea into the world and. . .not much happens. At least, not much seems to be happening from the measures you’ve put into place on your website (traffic, heat maps, click through, engagement, etc.). Then you might start to worry about what others might be thinking about you, your idea, and your future career.

Simply saying “stop worrying” is not acceptable advice, and is not remotely helpful. Worrying is part of what you do; you’ve been worried right from the start. From the moment you had the idea, to deciding with whom to share your idea, through to today you’ve been worried. The difference now is that you think you’ve actually finished something and that it’s “ready”.

Truth is, your thing is never “ready”. The way products and services are being designed and launched today requires them to be quickly adapted and evolved to meet the changing needs and pains of your customers. If you’ve been engaged with potential customers throughout your startup journey and they aren’t embracing your first product version, circle back with them and ask them why they aren’t engaged – they may reveal what you’re missing. Also, if your idea is new and previously unused, you may need to be more patient.

I think the last word in the above paragraph is key – patient. Keep worrying, because you will always be worried about your idea – whether it’s working properly, whether customers are happy, whether your colleagues are engaged – but also be patient, especially with yourself. If you’ve been validating your hypotheses and assumptions through your development (see more here) you may simply need to create some new hypotheses or discard some invalid assumptions.

But above all else get yourself out of the office and in front of potential customers. Keep talking to them, explore their challenges with them, and never let go of your empathy. Perhaps only empathy can get rid of the blues. That and humour – keep having fun out there.





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