viernes, 2 de agosto de 2013

Emprenda temprano, emprenda simple y evalue

Launch Early, Launch Simple and Test

GUEST MENTOR, Kathryn Minshew, founder of The Muse: When I hear the words other people use to describe me or my team, one that I’m most proud of is “scrappy.” In the early days, we had no budget at all. And even as we’ve grown, it’s been important to us that we never operate like we’re so successful that we can just blow money. Staying lean and eschewing big marketing bucks has forced us to get creative about talking to our users and testing the market demand for our product—but doing so, we’ve also found that it’s completely possible to figure out what the market wants without spending a ton.
The secret: Launch early, launch simple and test. When The Daily Muse initially wanted to launch a job board, our first ideas were insanely (and needlessly) complex. We wanted to integrate with social networks, gather rich personal data to build predictive algorithms, and put together numerous cool visualization tools before launching out to the world. We were just sure users would love it! During Y Combinator, in the first five minutes of a wild meeting with Paul Graham, he urged us to “[expletive] launch already!” And so we scrapped the complex plans and we did. Thirteen days later, we were on TechCrunch with an MVP of our new photo- and video-based job-search product:
And from there, we started learning. We did three things to capture and maximize the usefulness of the feedback we got:

1) For our individual users (jobseekers and the career curious), we collected data. We tracked their mouse movements with CrazyEgg. We saw which videos were most watched and which jobs saw the most applicants with Mixpanel. We also encouraged users to give us feedback by embedding simple forms on the site. (One read “TELL US WHAT YOU LIKE” in large letters across the footer.) We also spoke to hundreds of individuals in four geographies to hear their thoughts. All of this cost us less than $100 a month.
2) For companies, our paying clients, we added another simple Google form to the bottom of our product. This one read: “GET FEATURED ON THE MUSE.” When over 100 companies signed up in under 24 hours, we knew we were onto something.
3) We watched for organic growth. We wanted users to love what we were doing so much that they would share it with their friends and colleagues. That means excited tweets from recent college grads, our profiles being blasted to professional networks on Facebook and LinkedIn, and “omgweloveyou” emails in our inboxes. If we weren’t seeing that and seeing our traffic grow, we would know that we weren’t quite there yet.
And more importantly, when we did see it, we paid attention to what exactly our users were saying. They liked our focus on office culture. They loved how visual the site was. They were thrilled that we also offered content on how to handle tough situations at work and during the job search process. We used that feedback to validate our hypotheses about what our users really wanted and sharpen our focus—and learned things that no nicely prepared market research study could’ve told us.
It worked. And it showed us, beyond a doubt, that the best way to gauge market demand for a consumer product was to—you guessed it—get it in front of actual consumers. Of course, you then also have to pay attention to what they tell you—through analytics, through social media, and, if you’re lucky, what they actually say to your face. But most of that comes with a price tag that even a bootstrapped startup can afford.
When talking to first-time entrepreneurs, I often ask them: “How do you know that people want your product or service?” As you can expect, the answer is often that they don’t yet, but will know once they launch. And they’re right. That’s why it’s critical to launch as quickly as possible so you can get that feedback. Throw those bells and whistles out the window; you can add them later. Get your product in front of actual, living, breathing strangers. Your college roommate’s approval does not mean there’s market demand.
One of the top causes of startup death—right after cofounder problems—is building something no one wants. And it’s a sad fact of entrepreneurship that a fancy marketing budget and a lot of launch buzz can conspire to hide that issue. Launch early and often; learn as much as possible about how strangers use your product; and test, test, test.
So what are you waiting for? Just [expletive] launch already!

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