Progress could mean running a 180 degree turn and returning to the beginning.
The opinions expressed by employees are personal.
Before launching my current startup , I created a company called with $ 100 and had it increase its revenue to $ 400 million. Certainly, Trace3 has been successful as a technology consultant and as a distributor, but it is a fact that I did not start the company to get rich overnight.
You also need a different reason to start your business. If you want to impact a specific market or simply have longevity, your business base must wage a constant battle to find the truth . And, for a company, “the truth” is translated into value. As an entrepreneur, you should dedicate every day to get to the essence of what customers consider something of “value.”
To grow your business, your job is to seek the truth of what your client really needs. How to get it?
Learn to distinguish goodwill from truth
When you are ready to start a business, you must find five potential customers and sit down and talk with them about the concept, product or service that you are about to bring to the market. Then tell them: “I am contemplating starting this business and I need your help. I would very much like you to convince me why I shouldn't do it. I hope you will listen to the concept and tell me why you think it will not work .”
After explaining the concept, shut up. Do not “sell” your idea. If your potential customers encourage you to continue, then you have to go one step further: ask them to pay for the product right there. Do not ask them to make an investment, but to pay in advance. Tell them to consider that in exchange for that advance payment they will receive something of great value, which will be delivered shortly.
I have started many companies, and asking for money at the moment is a critical act. Suddenly, the picture changes completely : the situation becomes real and allows you to boost the project.
Those people you are talking to could tell you that they need to know more about the product, or that they need another 100 customers to use it before committing to anything. Or maybe he simply says he ran out of money.
Whatever your reason, you can separate your goodwill from perceived value.
Stay ready to change course quickly
A critical moment in the growth of Trace3 came at a business dinner, when a client told me coldly that if our company continued along the same path, in three years it would be out of the market. That was a hard blow, but it was the truth.
This customer recognized that a product of ours that had given us tremendous growth had touched the ceiling, and would soon become a common commodity. Although we had grown from 100 to 300 million in two years, we could be approaching a precipice, he said.
After much reflection and debate, I made the call to change course and invest all the profits of that year in a new bet . We would continue to have the past business, since it was still operating in the market, but we would also found a team and start looking for ways to incorporate advanced technologies to offer the best Silicon Valley next generation products.
I made the executive decision to lose money and invest in the security of our future and thus create a massive opportunity. Not everyone agreed with our plan, but in the end, it worked. The point is that progress does not always mean moving as fast as you can. Sometimes it means receiving hard feedback and saving on things that are no longer working so well.
Progress could even mean running a 180 degree turn and returning to the beginning. If you are moving away from your value in order to get close to money or quick profit, yours will be a short walk … and I don't say it in a trivial sense. When you have to make this call, you will never know if you are making the right decision. Many times you will be wrong.
Failure is not only acceptable: it is mandatory
Progress towards the truth requires trial and error. If you're starting, the classic Silicon Valley term “fail fast” should be your motto. When I started my POP business, I asked five clients why I shouldn't move on. I wanted to fail fast. However, three companies gave me $ 35,000 each based only on my concept … and now I own a company that I love.
POP is a crowdsourcing app that promotes the interaction between the human assets of a company. We pivot at least 20 times in the first six months to know the true value of POP.
Failure is not only acceptable: it is a requirement for success. If you are reasonably intelligent and hire an intelligent team, most of your work will involve testing for value and implementing small corrections.