I used to be a perfectionist, but now I care a whole lot less. I know that’s a complete 180-degree shift most people would struggle to make. But I chose to do it because not doing so was getting in the way (big time) of my progress.
And if you’re an entrepreneur, you know how much time you spend thinking about the best possible scenarios. That could be to launch your business, product, new service line, or perhaps a pivot. In all cases, you want to know if what you’ve built or offered has any credibility.
“Is it good enough?” might be the most critical question you want an answer for before you launch it. That’s where the problem lies. All that “knowing” leads us nowhere. We’ve got to ship it to know the truth.
We can test, brainstorm, survey, argue all we can but the only way to know if you (or your product/service) is going to sink or swim is by shipping it. What if nobody buys it? What if it fails? As I said, the only way to know is to ship it.
Countless entrepreneurs are stuck at this stage right now. They’re scared of shipping after investing so much time and effort to build something they’re proud of but don’t have the confidence if it will be a hit. Maybe your product sucks. Perhaps it’s a hit. Or maybe, it’s somewhere in between. But how are you going to know that?
Not by surveys, testing, user groups, talking to potential customers, or asking them how much they would pay for what you’re building. These activities are all great, but they will keep you from shipping your work to the real market with real customers, actual needs, and the ultimate reality about your product or service.
Jason Fried said it the best, “simulated answers aren’t real. And real answers are only uncovered when someone’s motivated enough to buy your product and use it in their natural environment — and of their own volition. Anything else is a simulation, and simulated situations give you simulated answers. Shipping real products give you real answers.”
The best-case scenario is that you do your best to build a product or service line that caters to your ideal customer’s needs. It doesn’t have to be perfect because the perfect client doesn’t exist. But you ship your service anyway. Iterate it on the go because you will be receiving plenty of feedback from the real customers who’re keen to invest in your services.
Think of Microsoft Teams — the product used to suck when it was launched. It’s gotten so much better over time. What would’ve happened if Microsoft had chosen to wait for a couple more years for the product to be perfect? Slack would’ve gained more traction and market share. And we know that people find it super-hard to switch to new products and most, rarely get it done unless forced.
But the point is that the team developing MS Teams understood the value in the iterative approach, which helped them continuously develop and refine the product and help user-community gain trust (in the product and its development). Why? Everyone loves it when their demands and requests are being heard and acted on.
And I pretty much think that’s the secret of building great products and services — ship it and iterate using real insights, real answers from real customers who need your products and services. And if that sounds risky, believe me, you’re not ready for entrepreneurship. The whole game of being out on your own is risky, and that’s not sexy.
As Paul Martinelli says, “jump and grow your wings on the way down.” Just ship it, dammit!