There are time-tested procedures for starting a business – from writing elaborate business plans to generating sales projections. While we can learn a lot from following traditional paths, there’s a host of new entrepreneurs who start their businesses in a flash – moving from idea to implementation in a matter of hours. These hyper-startups are volatile, flexible, and sometimes unstable, but there’s a lot we can learn from them.
- Reach out to customers right away. While traditional models would have you create a prototype and run alpha and beta testing with a sample of potential customers, hyper-startups rope their customers in right away. Using crowdfunding and crowdsourcing sites, entrepreneurs can solicit startup funds, feedback, and suggestions from end users before a product is even produced. Bonus – when you do have a product to take to market, you’ve already established a list of potential buyers. You’re researching and marketing all at the same time!
- Let your best customer find you. Now, I’m not suggesting that you won’t need to do any marketing in order to reach customers, but what is worth pointing out is that by assuming you already know who your customer is, you may be missing out on your best customer. Keep an open mind in terms of who will be excited about your product, and even about new or unexpected uses for your product or service. Hyper-startups know to listen to the chatter. Don’t limit yourself by thinking you know it all.
- Be mobile and be ready. As more and more business is done on iPads, smartphones, and tablets, the speed with which a savvy entrepreneur can move from idea to income has become mindboggling. Being ready and able to work wherever and whenever inspiration strikes makes you more effective and more efficient. Integrating social media with your startup right away lets you make changes and share news anytime, anywhere.
- Ride the wave – and know when to throw in the towel. Hyper-startups can flourish in a flash and fail just as rapidly. Keeping abreast of trends and market shifts is essential if you’re going to make hay while the sun shines. Not only does staying up on what’s hot keep you profitable, but it can also permit you to shape trends, in addition to reacting to them. Encourage your customers to stay connected and keep in touch about their experiences and needs. Not only are your vocal customers key in keeping your offerings current, but they’re also your best marketers, bringing in new fans every day.
- Plan for success (and prepare for failure.) So you’ve got a brilliant idea. Are you prepared for what you’ll do if it’s a crazy success and you have more business than you can handle? Make sure you have a plan for how to scale up production and delivery just in case you’re a big hit. Also, have an exit strategy, a stop-loss point at which you’ll cut your losses and move on if the startup doesn’t flourish.
Hyper-startups are inherently volatile. They depend on the changeable desires and interests of notoriously fickle consumers who seek out the new and noteworthy. That doesn’t mean hyper-startups are all bad. It’s possible to make a lot of money in a very short period of time, provided you’re prepared. Even if you choose a more traditional route to starting your company, there are elements of these rapid developers you can use to make your efforts more effective, even long-term.