There’s nothing easy about starting a new business. We started with a kernel of an idea, little cash, and an enormous learning curve. We are two moms who ditched our corporate careers to put our experience in design and marketing to work to create an amazing product that we would have a blast sharing with the world. After years of making other products look good, we wanted to create something so amazing it would shine on its own. We set out to break into one of the most competitive industries there is. Here are few things we learned during our first year out.
1 Focus is Everything
2 Ask for Help
3 Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Gears
It’s great to have a plan, but don’t be afraid to throw it away when things aren’t working. There is no way to know in advance what barriers or opportunities might present themselves. If something is not working, make a change – even if it means starting over completely. Constantly evaluate your product, delivery methods, and marketing approach and be open to course corrections that will get you faster or better results. There’s a lot of trial and error involved in starting up. Growth comes from failure as much as it does from success.
4 Get Early, Awkward Exposure
One mistake that many start-ups make is waiting too long to get their product out there. It’s typically not feasible to completely perfect your product before you start showing it to potential customers. Exposing your product before you’re ready will help attract early customers and allow you to get good feedback that you can incorporate into your final, perfected product.
We knew we had a long road to developing a beautiful product and attractive e-commerce site. We also knew we probably weren’t going to get everything right on our first go-round. We intentionally published awkward marketing materials and unfinished products very early in our journey. We got great feedback that helped us make design decisions and shift our marketing in a better direction. We also built up a fan base that became our first customers once we were ready to start selling.
5 You Have to Keep Going
There is nothing quick about starting up. It's a long game. Sometimes painfully long. Some days will feel hopeless. Some days you will want to pack it all in and walk away, but those times are fleeting. Just when everything seems so very wrong, you will have another victory. No one is going to push you past the hard parts. You have to push yourself and keep going. Every single day.