Ingredient #3: Launch it broken & fix it live.
Let me be upfront with you right away. I have never been a perfectionist, so launching anything broken doesn’t bother me like it may bother you.
With that said…Stop being a perfectionist! Don’t spend months or years on a business plan, perfecting, perfecting, perfecting. It will NEVER happen. Buy a domain name and create a business card before you buy a business license.
Here’s a little story of how I failed fast in a weekend. (Yes, it’s better to fail fast than slow).
When we (Biringer Farm Products) won the best cookie in the nation award at the Fancy Food Show in New York City, it was a pretty big high. We were on the map and getting lots of attention for our Lemon Tea Cookie. When you bit into this cookie you said WOW. The lemon-powdered sugar hit your taste buds with pizazz.
I wondered: What if I started an online cookie company called WOWcookies.com and curated the cookies that made you say WOW? It would be the go-to place for the best cookies in the world. My graphic designer whipped up a logo and business card, and away I went to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco to find truly WOW cookie makers to bake for my brand. There aren’t many cookies in the world that make you say WOW, so mine better live up to its name.
I only found two cookie-baking companies in that whole show that measured up to my WOW expectations, and I needed at least a dozen types of cookies. And here’s what else I discovered: even if my WOW cookies lived up to their reputation, they also required a direct “ship” component from the cookie baker for me to fulfil orders. This was early pre-Amazon/internet retail days. The two WOW cookie bakers I found couldn’t or wouldn’t ship the cookies directly from their bakery, which was pivotal to my business model.
Done. Out of business in two days and pretty painless. Glad I didn’t write a business plan, agonize, borrow money, plan a launch. Started broken, stayed broken, but failed fast.
(ok this really dates me, letting you see my old aol account)
Fast forward a few years, for story # two.
After years of brainstorming and mastermind groups with fellow entrepreneurs, I hit on an idea to explore and develop. I wanted to recreate the intimacy of my 1:1 storms, but be a sort of matchmaker, bringing the right mentors to the right people. I made up a name: CO-STORM – “brainstorming together,” and started talking about it on social media. I got enough interest to encourage me to pursue it more. Read the full story of how the idea originated here: https://www.thecravecompany.com/2015/11/co-storming/
I set a date (six weeks into the future) and called it “The Ultimate Co-Storming Mashup.” Launching a new event during the December holidays is probably not the best idea. But I decided to try anyway and launch it in a “broken” circumstance. I booked attendees into cafes for 4-person group luncheons.
It went OK for a first time. I felt everyone moved the dial on their projects. But to my surprise when I called people for their feedback, I found out they didn’t want to storm over food. So, I keep iterating at each event, asking for feedback, and every Co-Storm gets better. People come away with new perspectives and tools to move forward.
If I were a perfectionist, this idea would still be in my head– simply notes in a google doc. But I launched it broken (with a lot of unknowns and uncertainty), and now I fix and improve it each time.
The result? I have people calling me from around the world wanting to bring Co-Storms to their cities, and we are prototyping a partnership. That will change many times over too, but that’s ok. I’ll fix it as I go :)
What about you? Are you tying yourself up with perfectionism and making it impossible to launch your idea? Pretend you are in business and see what happens. Create a prototype or just jump in with your imagination and talk to your target audience to see if your idea catches that spark of momentum. If it does, fill in the details after and run with it now. If it fizzles, you’ll get it out of your system as fast as you can.
P.S. Need help taking the leap out of your head and launching forward with that idea or project? I can help you. https://www.thecravecompany.com/storm-1-1-melody/