You are an early stage startup (let’s say still in Beta). You rolled out an MVP and now you need to mature yourself by taking it to the next level of stabilization.
So, what do you do? By now, you have sufficient data on the basis of which you can steer the direction of your product. In addition, you also have loads of feedback from the fraternity and outside fraternity on what all could be done with your product.
How do you then process all of that data, advice, feedback etc? Let’s just also say that you are bootstrapped and have limited resources at your disposal. Complicates the situation a bit more? Sure, it does.
So, how do you deal with this complication? Develop less expensive features? Try and seek funding? Build features that someone suggested will make a lot of money? Try and think what features will appeal to investors?
If you resort to these methods above to build your product further, you will most likely end up as a headless chicken. Building for the sake of building without knowing where the development is taking you. You will have lot of confusion, unclear and unsure as to which path to walk.
So, who saves you then from this misery? Your STARTUP VISION – the single most important thing at the center and at the base of everything you do.
Your vision is YOUR vision and it is unique to you. A vision is NOT an execution plan or a forecast for next 5 years. It’s that central idea that gave birth to your product/service and drives its strategy which in turn drives all of your activities.
It’s your VISION that helps you stay focused, choose between what to do and what to IGNORE. It’s your vision that makes your product/service unique.
Let me illustrate this point with a very simple example. Wal-Mart has always had a strong vision: “We save people money so they can live better.”
Now, all of Wal-Mart’s strategies and activities have been driven by this single objective. When driven by a vision, the company will look to and devise cost-effective ways of keeping costs low and maximizing benefit for consumers.
Now, let’s say there was another store that stocked same goods as that of Wal-Mart but gave a better store experience. Should Wal-Mart have tried to replicate the good store experience as that of another store? No. Because it would add extra cost to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart stands for being cost-effective for its users, therefore it should stick to doing what it has started out to achieve and keep unnecessary fat at bay.
Startups and early stage entrepreneurs – Though the example talks of a big company, remember all big companies start small. A key ingredient that goes into making of a successful company is a clear, distinct vision that keeps the company true to its core and makes it a strong differentiator.
Neither borrow visions nor be without them; both are routes to disaster and useless cash burn. Have a vision and work towards it steadily, success is sure to follow.
How much are you driven by your vision? Do share your thoughts and comments below.
Pic Courtesy: www.groupinland.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NIDHI KAPOOR - Nidhi is the co-founder of FounderMates. She holds an MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from Imperial College, London. Prior to starting FounderMates.com, she worked with 2 reputable startups in London. One of the startups was as young as a year old where she was the first hire while another was almost 5 years old. This has been an enriching experience for her in understanding the dynamics and needs of a startup across a broad spectrum.
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