Every time you show another person something you’ve created as an entrepreneur, you make yourself vulnerable. And when it turns out you’ve made something of little value, you will feel the pain of getting it wrong.
And yet, successful entrepreneurs understand this as a healthy part of the process. Because if you want to come up with products and services people want, you must first kill off all the mediocre ideas they don’t want.
And if you don’t? You can end up like Webvan — a dotcom-era flop which blindly burned through $1.2B in cash. They took an unvalidated idea, hit the accelerator as hard as they could…and slammed straight into a concrete wall, all because they failed to get it wrong in small doses.
“The key ingredient: get out of the building with customer discovery. Listen to what people want, hear what they don’t want, and try to build something so you can reach product-market fit. You get out of the building, use the Business Model Canvas to keep score, and have a minimum viable product — a rapid prototype, or something else to show people.”
Hornthal tells you this: don’t isolate yourself with product development, building things in a cave with zero outside input. You need to go talk to the people you want to serve. Potential customers. Use an industry standard tool like Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas to keep track of the ideas you’ve already dismissed, and more importantly the ideas which hold some promise.
And along the way, you look for quick ways to show your customers your ideas in rough form. Prototypes. Proof of concept. Minimum viable products. Things you can mock up quickly to show what you mean.
Hornthal says, “As you go through these week-by-week pivots and iterations, you demonstrate it’s blue and not black, it’s round, not square.