November 13, 2014
For entrepreneurs who are constantly coming up with ideas and wanting to “build a thing”, the actual start portion of a startup is pretty easy. “I’m gonna build a thing,” you tell yourself, and-voila! You’re starting up. What comes next, though, are a series of startup decisions that you must make in rapid succession. AskforTask CEO Muneeb Mushtaq wrote a blog post that covered the three mistakes a startup can make in the first 100 days.
Although Mushtaq and his cofounder (and brother) Nabeel Mushtaq have seen tremendous growth at their two-year-old startup AskforTask, they are still very keen on the mistakes that can be made during the early days. AskforTask is now available in over 100 cities, but they spent their first six months in beta, focused only on Toronto. CEO Mushtaq says they are still in the building stages, but felt that the lessons they have learned are valuable for sharing with other early-stage founders. You can read the entirety of his blog post here, but these are some of the takeaways:
Just Ship It!
So many times, a founder waits to release a product because it is not yet perfect. Ship an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and get as much feedback as you can. This makes your product better and proves that there is a market fit, but don’t discount the added bonus of this process: Your early users have a higher potential of being brand advocates because their voices have been heard.
Love the One You’re With!
Love your first customer. Or your first ten. Sure, you want a million customers or more, but you can’t serve a million customers, so focus on the feedback and the sales funnel with the customers you’ve got.
Try Something that Doesn’t Scale.
Mushtaq references Paul Graham’s advice in Business Insider and suggests that the early days are the perfect moment to try things that simply won’t work when your company is larger. Manually recruit new users. That’s right, go face-to-face and ask someone to try your product. If you’re not confident enough to make the ask now, how can you guide this company to major success? “The right things often seem both laborious and inconsequential at the time,” says Graham.
Don’t Be Precious.
Your startup is not a household name (yet!) Don’t be afraid to pivot when the market tells you what you really should be doing. The biggest strength you have in these first 100 days is the ability to be resilient and adaptable. Wield that power. Do not fear it.
Mushtaq concludes, “When launching a startup, mistakes are inevitable. But surrounding one’s self with good mentors, like-minded individuals, and keeping an eye on the big picture are all integral to ensure any mistakes that are made are as minimally damaging as possible.”
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