Success. It can be an elusive beast. It can also be an obsession – just like your product. The important thing is to accept the fact that you may very well fail (and fail fast) before you succeed.

Fail fast on your way to success

And listen, I can understand why you’re obsessing over your product. I really can. Most people do, so you are not alone. Even if I know nothing about your product. But, if I were in your shoes, my thoughts would be mostly on transforming that product into a viable business. Because if you don’t, then failure becomes a very possible and permanent outcome. So much for success!

So what’s the recipe to that success you are craving? Well, there are quite a few things you need to factor in to the equation. But what are they and what makes them so important?

The Business model

This is something we talk about time and again. Your business model is actually your product, inasmuch as it is what you should be focusing on if you want a decent shot at clearing the woods. Here’s why.

The links on the chain

There are nine different components on your business model. Every day you get to work on your product, one of these components is bound to be the weakest link on the chain that holds your product together. But – and here’s the thing with chains – you can have the largest, strongest, thickest chain in the world, but if a link is weak, it can break at any moment. Especially under stress. Hence the saying “A chain is as good as its weakest link”. But let’s explore this a bit.

Competition, market trends, revenue streams, economical or political changes. Or even your own team being on the brink of war. You’re likely to come up against all of these problems at some point on your way to success. And you can expect them to change the way you work. By that token, you always need to be ready to refine your processes and make important decisions. Because mentality. Also, because capital efficiency. No, not a thing of myths and legends, but a realistic goal you can build upon.

Agility

Agility is a way to learn fast and adapt quickly to different situations. Another way of thinking about it is to “fail fast to live longer”. So, the game is afoot! Break down any order of business to the smallest possible bits, so that you can have more clear criteria to define success. And create the conditions where you can enjoy a potentially shippable product with every cut! That’s how you know that it only includes finished bits of work. Otherwise it won’t be shippable.

Believe it or not, that’s your most powerful weapon against wasted effort. Consequently, it’s also a way to extend your runway.

No funding, not yet

Yes that’s right! History has proven time and again that a loose definition of funding can prove to be devastating to the entire endeavor. You heard it here first.

Yes, I know how you feel…

“Oh darkness of devastation! When will the light see my eyes once more?”  Magic flute, W.A.Mozart (on Emanuel Schikaneder’s libreto)

How then, you might ask? I get your frustration. But it’s just a problem and like all others, it just needs to be solved. And, after all, this is all about what you’re trying to do in your line of work, solve problems. Isn’t it?

Well, as it goes, hunting for funding is one way to hinder your success without any questions asked. You may be thinking: “It’s good for us. It’ll buy us more time to finish and perfect our product”. There you have it! All rationalized and fixed!

But how about timing? How about losing focus? As we’ve always sustained, your currency in the first stages is knowledge. Not funds. Not a pricing plan. But even if you’ve found your way to the stages of sustainable growth or scaling – congrats, by the way – keep learning. Your success depends on it. And keep in touch with investors, of course. But it will come as a surprise, how much you can achieve with some “pocket-money” and a healthy amount of creativity. That’s how some of the most ingenious solutions ever known to humanity came to be, right there!

Focus – Success depends on it!

Lack of anything short of barely sufficient funding can actually help you focus. A sense of urgency can also do that for you. Do we have time? Are we at risk of losing the time window? Is the trend withering away? Has competition caught up? Have we learnt enough? Will people really want what we’ve made? Is it good enough so they would make a habit out of using it? Will it work?

A simple software application, albeit a top notch one, is never enough to build yourself a business on. If you can focus every day on what needs your attention the most – that is the riskiest part of your model – you’ll most definitely give yourself a fighting chance in securing its viability. It takes commitment, logic, creativity and a lot of hat-switching. Objectivity and execution also help. Work quickly! Go! Rev your engines! And keep your eyes open for opportunities. After all, that’s what entrepreneurs do, right?

Something to write home about?

Wait, not so fast! Simply put – if you’re one of those sneaky devils that go around reading only the headings in people’s articles, hold it right there. See, I’ve hidden a few gems here and there – right in this post – for you to add to your secret recipe – or sauce – of success. So give it it’s three minutes of breathing time, will you? Then it’s off you go and all the best to you!

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Panagiotis Sarantopoulos Panagiotis Sarantopoulos

The Starttech Ventures Head of Content Marketing. Studied Science of Computing at the University of Huddersfield in UK, specialising in Animation for Multimedia Systems. He has worked as a Multimedia Author for IBM Hellas and as an Adobe Certified Instructor and Support Technician for Adobe Systems software at Anodos SA. He has also worked at various Advertising Agencies, as a Web/ActionScript developer.