No matter what has been keeping you busy for the last year, I am pretty sure you have all heard that a new Star Wars movie is due out on Dec 18th. Based on this momentous event, I felt it would be a great opportunity to look at five quotes of wisdom from the series and how they can relate to our product ideas as we get them ready for the market.
“Never tell me the odds.” – Han Solo
The first statistic you'll hear as you begin to think about starting your own business is that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn. Not great odds for you to be successful, right? Well, through the series of blog postings, we have been sharing a steady stream of tips to make sure you do not end up on the wrong side of the statistics. From focusing on ensuring you have a pain killing solution as a new entry into the market to spending time speaking to actual humans during your product development, you have many opportunities to increase your product success when it launches. Don't become a statistic and make sure you have your customer in mind through all your critical decision points.
“In my experience there is no such thing as luck.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi
No truer words have been spoken. There are common misconceptions by some that believe the success of a product was based on luck and I would beg to differ. Certainly, there is an element of good timing required, but I wouldn't consider that the same as "luck". Anyone that has actually gone through the hard work, late nights and gut wrenching setbacks along the critical path from concept to launch ... knows "luck" had nothing to do with the success. Having personally gone through the process of launching many hundreds of new products to the market globally, the success or failure has been based on relatively consistent themes. You have to target the right customers with the right product and message at the right time. Easy, right? :)
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Darth Vader
Ah yes, sometimes overwhelming confidence is necessary when you are faced with unbelievers. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly putting yourself out there whether with investors, business partners, mentors or friends. You pour your heart and soul into following your dream and feel you are being told why you shouldn't instead of how you can. There are plenty of times that you should absolutely stop putting good money after bad, and there are also many times that overwhelming confidence in yourself, your ideas and your vision is required. If you have done your homework related to your value proposition and have spent the needed time speaking with humans you will be well positioned to back up that confidence with real tangible results.
“Stay on target.” – Gold Five
So many opportunities, so little time? It is incredibly easy to get distracted by shiny things on the periphery of your product development. A new customer adds a different twist to how your product could be used or you see a new market opportunity open up from some new research. It is important that you consider these data points along the journey and take the opportunity to slow down to do some investigation. It is much more important that you leverage all that hard work you've done in the early days of your product definition related to the usage model, market and customer to keep you focused. Make sure you capture the new information as part of your roadmap and don't jump to add them as part of your minimal viable product. It is really easy to get distracted by shiny things and it is critical that you stay on target.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
Is there any better advice? The classic tough love statement that every one of us needs to hear, as it is inevitable roadblocks will be hit along the journey. No matter how much value proposition work you have done, or how many customers you have spoken too along the journey, you will absolutely hit roadblocks that will feel overwhelming. No matter how frustrated you are, or how impossible the situation feels, take a step back and lean on your network. Seek advice from trusted advisors and friends. There are few things you will embark upon in your life that will be as all consuming as being an entrepreneur.
So, as some of us dust off our Chewbacca outfits from the last movie launch hoping it still fits, I encourage you all to take the words of wisdom from episodes 4 thru 6 (the prequels don't count, right?) and continue developing your pain killing idea for the market.