Most startup founders know speed is important. But speed in the wrong direction may be worse than going too slow when it comes to developing a new software product. Veteran startup CMO and former marketing head of Google play Patrick 'Mad' Mork tells how focusing on the wrong thing killed his startup: “When I was at GetJar in 2010, we had to rebuild a large part of the platform from scratch. We had grown too fast and had made a number of obvious mistakes when it came to scalability. We lost at least a full 12 months rebuilding our systems, when we should have been focusing on other changes that were happening [in] the market. That mistake, among others, eventually doomed the company (along with the $40M we had raised in VC funding).” In the first of this three-part series demystifying startup failure, I talked about the concept of speed when it comes to building your team. Today we’re going to dive into the concept of focus and how it relates to speed for a startup.
Last time we introduced the concept of speed in three critical areas: talent, focus, and market validation. Today we are going to dig into how your team can impact speed at your startup. You can have the best idea in the world and it will still fall flat if you don’t have the means to execute your idea fast. Because it’s your team that executes the plan, you need to incorporate speed into your team vision.
Consider this your cheat sheet for developing your startup.
Where did they go wrong? What did they do right? Analysts have scrutinized hundreds of startups to identify the factors that lead to certain doom and those that will propel a startup to success. There is one common element across all the analyses of failed and successful startups that must be present for the founding team to succeed: speed. Achieving and managing speed - knowing when to brake and when to fly at full throttle - is a critical skill of successful startup founders. After working with dozens of startups and hundreds of software products ourselves, we see the key areas of talent, focus, and market validation as particularly important in driving speed.
We’ve built and worked with hundreds of different software products since 2008, when we first opened our doors. Over the years, that experience has resulted in a fine-tuned methodology to set our clients’ software products up for excellent performance. The way we work allows us to meet you where you are in the lifecycle of your product. You may have an idea that needs to be developed into a completely new product, or you may have an existing app needing improvement. Either way, we direct our efforts where they make the greatest impact for you. I’d like to show you a little more about how we do that here.
If you’re building or growing a SaaS product, you likely know by now there are a lot of metrics you can use to measure how your business is doing. In fact, the sheer number of SaaS metrics can be overwhelming if you’re new to the software-as-a-service world. At Belighted, we discuss KPIs (key performance indicators) with clients in our scoping workshop. It’s one of the components of the Lean Canvas. And it’s an obsessive focus for many SaaS founders. Let’s step back together and look at the most important SaaS metrics for a minute.
When you set up your marketplace, you need to figure out how money is going to exchange hands. This usually involves funds moving between buyers and sellers with some amount to you for providing the platform, for a three-part transaction. The transferring of money is heavily regulated and can also be a source of friction for your marketplace users. You want to get the choice right from the start. The marketplace Listminut came to us wanting to speed up development, improve conversions and expand into France. Our work also involved changing from a payment gateway to a more marketplace-friendly payment processor. Stripe Connect provided a great solution.