Agility, efficiency, decisiveness and adaptation are how today’s successful entrepreneurs beat startup’s low success rates. It wasn’t the idea, experience, funding, or connections. In fact, many of today’s leading startups started with a different idea and almost 100% of them took the first steps without funding. The defining characteristic of those founders is their ability to move and adapt quickly.
Entrepreneurs are known to underestimate the input and overestimate the output. In real startup life, speed is easier said than done. It takes more than pushing yourself and the team to get things done quicker. It’s not always about staying up late to meet deadlines. It’s more about making the right business decisions and setting strict rules designed around speed and agility. Here are five ways to move quickly without working day and night.
1 . Reduce Scope Of Work
You may say, we’re not really moving fast if we’re trying to cut corners. Reducing the scope of work does not eliminate the actual work that needs to be done sooner or later. What it does is allow you to release quicker so you can define the next stages with more certainty based on customer insights.
As a rule of thumb, prioritize releasing must-have features even if it’s one single addition as long as you can ship it to the customer quickly so you can focus on the next small milestone. In a startup, the sum of small wins is greater than one big success simply because each small win is planned individually and based on previous lessons from earlier releases.
2. Do Manual Work
There will always be initiatives and product releases that cannot possibly be built quickly. During product development, a strategic way to move quicker is by combining automation with manual work to simulate the solution or feature. Netflix was a startup that continued to ship CDs to their customers while it was building its online streaming platform.
3. Hire Remotely
There are more advantages to hiring remotely than access to a bigger pool of talent. When it comes to speed of execution, your startup can virtually be working 24/7 with members from all over the world. With the rapid growth of remote work, more and more employees are looking for flexibility. Limiting your hiring to in-house positions significantly shrinks the talent pool.
4. Sell Since Day One
Speaking with potential customers is a form of selling. Even if you can’t or prefer not to presell your product, the conversations you have with future users allow you to build awareness for your product and relationships with customers. By the time you launch your app idea, people will be ready to buy, use and recommend it.
Especially for non-technical founders who are waiting for their team members to complete the product, speaking with key stakeholders like future partners, investors and customers is what you should spend your days doing. Closing partnerships, funding rounds and sales contracts take time. The sooner you start, the faster you will get things done.
5. Delegate Leadership
And the obvious is, if you can’t move as quickly as you need, hire someone who can. At the end of the day, your startup is a risky investment with high returns. Moving fast allows you to evaluate your potential return on investment quickly. There’s an opportunity cost from the time and money wasted on projects that won’t succeed or ones that show signs of success and can be more rewarding with more commitment.
As an investor in your own startup, speed of execution allows you to evaluate your progress from an ROI standpoint consistently. This is where agility and adaptation play a big role. If things are moving in the right direction, you double down. If they’re not, you adapt and start again.