Before, it was all about garagepreneurs - the next Mark or Larry with a 5am wake up routine and working 100 hours a week.
The times have changed, you can see a lot of young entrepreneurs working on their start-ups from their living room, a coworking space or an apartment they rented with their friends.
All these stories are inspirational however, there are three major facts that people usually forget:
1. About 90% startups fail within five years
2. 10% startups fail within the first year
3. 42% of startups fail due to a lack of product-market fit.
Throughout my 18 year experience of building and scaling businesses worldwide, I came to a conclusion what are the key ingredients for building and creating a disruptive startup.
#1 - Build an MVP
You need to know your core products, customers, and marketing channels before you try to take your business to the next level. Here’s a fun fact: 74% of startups failed because they were trying to scale too fast.
The key ingredient to success in the digital marketplace is FOCUS. Companies often fail due to getting distracted by the shiny objects and features (‘scope creep’ as it is called) that by the time they’re ready to release their product into the wild, it’s not clear what the product is or who it’s for. The most successful companies, on the other hand, start with a very focused product vision and core target audience — an MVP.
Four main questions that you need to ask yourself right from get go are:
1. What is the problem I am trying to solve?
2. What is the solution to this problem?
3. What is the minimum viable product to test the solution?
4. What is the process going to look like?
Once you have everything outlined, it’s time to launch the product, test the hypothesis and validate the product-market fit.
This is exactly what we did in Glorifyapp.com. Middle of 2017 we started planning Glorify and started to answer all the above mentioned questions. By the beginning of 2018 we felt enough thinking had been done and it was time to build the first MVP. And this is exactly what we did!
#2 - Launch an MVP and test your hypothesis
First of all, let’s make this clear: your MVP doesn’t have to be PERFECT! Just take a look at Glorifie’s MVP to its current look and feel of the product
Three main things that you need to focus on:
1. Test the Product Market Fit
2. Test your pricing
3. Get Feedback
4. Get yourself a runway
By the end of 2018 this is exactly what we did. We had an MVP ready and we let in 100 FREE users to use and test the product. The feedback we got was invaluable! We took those feedback and further improved on the product.
We then wanted to test if people would depart money for the product. So we opened it up again to a bunch of entrepreneurs and put a price on the product. We had a whopping 90% uptake. This was enough validation to prepare for a grand public launch.
We had set a date (August 2019) for launch on Product Hunt. We run a month late due to development set back, but non the less we officially launch on product hunt on 28th August 2019 with a life-time access deal worth $127.
We’ve been hyper busy since our public launch in September 2019!
We have attracted over 8000 users in less than 6 months. And we are just getting started!
We were also voted #2 product of the day on Product Hunt, followed by a nomination for the Golden Kitty Award (by Product Hunt) for the best product of the year!
Our primary focus has been on creating a superior product.
#3 - Build an organization structure and map out all the manpower and tech resources you need to grow in advance.
Having a capable manpower is a must. Besides that, you simply can’t just rely on manpower. You need to trust the whole process.
When it comes to mapping out the organizational and growth structure, you need think about two essential points:
1. What activities need to be automated
2. Those who can’t be automated need to be outsourced.
You need to start figuring out a means to streamline every process you can. This includes automating payroll and billing, creating training videos to quickly bring new hires up to speed, finding ways to automate marketing your business, and so on.
Where you can’t automate, outsource. The majority of your resources should be going into making your core offering work at scale. Thus, only the most essential roles should stay in-house. Where possible, everything from design and copywriting to legal issues and office cleaning should be delegated to external contractors. Once you’ve gotten comfortable at scale, you can think about bringing these ancillary roles back into the fold.
What’s the success formula?
Making your business workable without you.
Your process needs to be simplified and streamlined to the point that even if you disappeared off the face of the earth, someone could easily come in and know what to do. Your process must be easily understood and repeatable. Don’t let anything about your business be so fragile that less talented or unmotivated employees can bring it down.
#4 - Hire through outsourcing
One of the central advantages of distributed teams is the flexibility to access specialized talent, regardless of location. Building in a distributed manner allows companies to tap particular centers of excellence and hire talents with affordable rates.
Remember, you need to stay lean during the scaling process. Don’t hire too many people (especially middle managers or specialists). These take away from your core competencies and leave you prone to trying to scale other areas too quickly.
We have an ambitious vision glorifyapp.com. And we will reach our goals. The numbers are in our favour, but our greatest strength lies in our amazing team who go above and beyond to ensure that we do whatever it takes to reach our goals.
The glorifyapp.com team is from all over the world. Countries like the UK, USA, Spain, Serbia, Poland, Ukraine, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Philippines.
Some of our proudest hires have been from the Balkans, serbia. Matija and Lazar have proved to be invaluable to the Glorify team with their outreach, digital marketing and content creation skills.
#5 - Test. Adjust. Convert. Skyrocket.
Your success is determined by your learning speed. Face it, we’re not the smartest guys in the room and we are not supposed to be the smartest ones. Team effort, challenging environment and diversified approaches to growth will lead you to hypergrowth.
Build your strategies as an MVP - test fast, fail fast. After failing fast, step back from the situation, rephrase your understanding in the form of assumptions and test again. This time, do the tests that allow you to validate or invalidate the hypotheses.
The moral of the story: You can take a hypothesis for granted, or you can discover that you had a distorted perception of the situation.
This learning is key to the success of your product. It is what will allow you to build the right product - the one that meets a real need in an innovative way via an addictive user experience.
The question isn’t whether you will learn, but whether you will learn fast enough. Can you learn faster than your competitors, but also – in the case of a startup – fast enough to find your market before you run out of cash!
The faster you learn, the faster you will achieve success.