Fail Fast

The best advice I can ever give an entrepreneur is to “fail fast”.  It may sound a little pessimistic, but just think about the numbers.  Something like 9 in 10 companies that get investment will do no better than pay back investors.  If you haven’t even obtained investment yet, the odds are higher than 90% that this will not be your big hit.

Once you come to terms with that fact that your company is likely to fail, the best thing you can do is limit the time and money that you sink into the opportunity.  You do this by failing fast, by finding the fatal flaw in your business plan.  This attitude is tough, but the alternative is worse.  You can spend literally years developing a product, setting up a website, and designing and printing marketing literature without every selling a single unit.  Your time is better spent attacking the hardest problem first. 

Paying someone to build you a website is not hard — someone will take your money.  Finding someone who would pay for your product is hard.  If your product has a particularly difficult technical hurdle, solving that specific technical problem is hard (but don’t confuse solving the key technical problem with building the whole product).  Take on the hard problems head first.  If you try to sell the product and find that you need a one page info sheet, make it.  I’m not saying that you don’t do anything else, but you only do things if they are on the critical path to solving the hardest issues.

If your idea is truly good, none of these obstacles will be insurmountable.  You will fail to fail.  As this happens more and more often, you may find that you’re quite successful.  The important point is that you were going to have to overcome these challenges sooner or later.  Putting them off only wastes your time and your money.

Every day ask yourself if you’re focusing on the hardest challenge for your business.  Do your best to fail fast.  And if you fail to fail, your work will be worth it!

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