“Fail Fast or Win Big”

If you’ve ever dreamed of starting a business, you need to read the book “Fail Fast or Win Big.” The basic idea is that everyone can come up with a company based on solving a specific problem. What you need is a good idea (not a great one) and proper execution. There will always be things out of your control such as other competitors, market timing, etc. Don’t worry about what’s not in your control. Worry about what is in your control.

The most important philosophy is that when you have an idea for a company, you get moving on making it happen right away. Once you see what the market really wants, you’ll hit one of three options:

  • Evolve
  • Pivot
  • Abandon

No matter how great your idea might be, it probably isn’t perfect. That means the moment you throw it in the market, you’ll see what works and what doesn’t work, and then you’ll be able to modify or evolve your idea to better match the market. Until you have a product on the market, you’ll never know what needs to be changed and what doesn’t work.

Test your idea as fast as possible because it does no good to design a business around an idea that drastically changes the moment it hits the market. Test locally and start small. Then you can evolve your idea as you figure out what the market really wants.

When you first test your idea, you may suddenly come up with a better idea. In the early days of the Internet, there was a company called Books.com that was selling books online before Amazon even existed. What Amazon found wasn’t that the business was about selling books; it was about selling everything to customers online and tracking their purchases to recommend other items they might like.

Amazon initially started with books but now they sell practically everything. Books.com thought their business was just about books, and who has heard of them any more? Amazon took their initial online book selling idea and turned it into an online shopping idea. They basically pivoted their original idea to pursue a much bigger and more lucrative one, which meant selling everything in addition to books.

When you test your idea, you may find that your original idea isn’t as lucrative as you might have thought, but you might be able to find a similar idea. One entrepreneur developed his own web site programming tools to create an e-commerce site and started selling items. Nobody bought anything, but people did want to know how he created his e-commerce site.

That’s when he realized he needed to pivot his idea. Instead of selling stuff online, he realized his real market was selling e-commerce development tools, and that’s the business he’s in now.

So when you test your idea on the market, you may find it just needs a few tweaks to make it better, or you may find you need to pivot completely to a related but different idea. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find a successful business idea as fast as possible.

Finally the third possibility is that you’ll find your idea dies in the market. Maybe someone else is already doing it, or maybe it’s just not a good idea to begin with. In that case, dump the idea and move on to the next one.

There’s no stigma to failing. The only way to fail is by not trying. As long as you keep trying, you’ll gain experience and eventually find what does work. The founder of Dropbox said, “You only have to succeed once.”

That means you can fail a million times but if you succeed once, you’ll succeed and nobody will remember the failures that got you there.

So if you’re thinking of starting a company, however large or small, whether it’s in software or manufacturing, get started now. You’ll never have all the right conditions and resources you need to succeed, so work with what you have and learn and gain resources as you go along. At the very least, you’ll learn something that can help you with your next business idea.

The only other alternative is to get a job and hope you get a raise and never get laid off. There’s no security or achievement in following that dead end route unless you find a job you really love. Otherwise, keep looking for a business to start. For most people, the best way to get rich is to rely on themselves and that means starting and running a business of their own no matter how big or small it may be.

Put your life in your control, not at the whims of a company that doesn’t care whether you exist or not and views you as expendable and a cost liability. Be an entrepreneur and you’ll find life will be much more exciting.

June 4th, 2015 by
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