The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “What are some common mistakes young entrepreneurs make?” is written by Suneera Madhani, founder and CEO of Fattmerchant.
“If you build it, they will come.” I have heard this phrase time after time from fellow entrepreneurs and it is, without a doubt, the worst mindset any young entrepreneur can be in. A lot of people think that all they have to do is build an amazing product in order for their business to skyrocket, but a successful business demands so much more than just the product.
When entrepreneurs first launch a product or service, they often expect to see millions of downloads overnight or a line out the door. No matter how life-changing, though, this is practically never the case. The time before the launch and the time after will impact the business way more than the launch — and sometimes even more than the product — itself.
One mistake many young entrepreneurs make when starting a business is taking too long to launch. They will endlessly toy with their product or idea and put off the launch date, hoping to reach some level of perfection. Your product will never be perfect, especially if you keep it under lock and key. There will be constant change, iterations, developments and even pivots, which is why it’s so important to get an MVP in the marketplace. This is the best way to test the product in a real environment, which will come with invaluable user feedback.
Listen to the users. If there are buggy features, fix them immediately. If there is functionality that they think is lacking, work on adding them. Create an engaging platform that encourages real-time response from the active users, and track the number of people using the product. These analytics are crucial for the continued success of your business.
Perhaps most importantly, what is your distribution strategy? Although we all believe we’re building something so amazing that users will flock to us by the millions, that just isn’t reality. How will the MVP go to market? Where will you acquire customers? Are there any partnerships that can be forged to assist in the distribution? What marketing will be done to support these efforts? Be keen on social media usage based on the different platforms’ demographics.
Lastly, don’t shy away from asking for help. Make sure to surround yourself with the right support system who will be a champion of yours, but who will challenge your thinking. It’s great to have a partner who can be the “brakes” to your “gas,” and vice versa.
The old adage of “If you build it, they will come,” has a nice sentiment, but doesn’t typically perform the way it boasts. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of building the next big thing, and the biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is not keeping his finger on the pulse of reality.
Read all responses to the Entrepreneur Insider question: What are some common mistakes young entrepreneurs make?
How slow decision-making can ruin your business by Karl Martin, founder and CTO of Nymi.
This is why so many startups end up in financial trouble by David Smith, founder of Vexti.
This is where most startups go wrong by Stephen Lake, CEO of Thalmic Labs.
Doing these 3 things will destroy your startup by Michael Gasiorek, editor-in-chief of Startup Grind.
The avoidable mistake every entrepreneur makes by Andrew Filev, founder and CEO of Wrike.