Previously on our Taking the Scary Out of Startup series, we discussed how plan and focus are key elements to achieving your ultimate goals.

walk_before_you_can_runWalk before you can run

While it’s tempting to scream from the rooftops the day that you launch, we advocate a measured approach. Even with extensive testing, there is a risk of drawing too much attention too soon if something goes awry.

We re-launched our site and our software platform last quarter and quickly realized that our customers could not find their reports on the new dashboard. What was intuitive to those of us completely immersed in the testing was not at all obvious to our real-life customers. If we had hundreds of customers in that first two weeks, we would have disappointed many because we did not (and still do not) have a 24/7 customer support team; it's still just a couple of us! 

The same applies when you approach new markets for existing products. For a new group of customers, it is better to have a pilot or small sample to work with. Treat this like a customer lab or an experiment. I am not suggesting that work is done for free but rather that you do more customer discovery as an integral piece of your launch.

Be open and generous with those first customers–if you mess up, own it. If you get valuable feedback or ideas from customers, reward them. It may sound cliché but you created your company to solve a customer problem, so those customers deserve the most air time.

Check back next week for part 11 of this series on solving a real problem. Subscribe to our blog for these updates straight to your inbox!

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