Speed and agility is one of the biggest advantages you have as a startup or sole founder. While you may not have resources in the form of a large team, there are plenty of upsides to being agile and staying ahead of the curve. Small teams have a better opportunity than ever before to disrupt large incumbents. The ubiquity of technology has levelled the playing field for all.
Speed is key to startup success.
Without speed, there is inevitable failure. The best startups execute faster than anyone else.
It is not even a choice, it is simply a way of life. Adopting an agile approach means quickly launching your business, while also releasing new versions of your product along the way. It’s like you are setting up a series of experiments that you will conduct. The results of these experiments will allow you to iterate and refine your product along the way.
As we have mentioned before, this approach allows you to see what interests your target market and what does not. From there, you can prioritize your next steps and features to include in your release. This allows you to stay nimble and adjust your backlog on the fly.
This is a huge advantage for small teams and businesses. Failing fast and giving yourself the freedom to pivot is a luxury that small teams and entrepreneurs have over large organizations. Use it to your advantage.
Embrace your mistakes
Mistakes and failure do not equate to the same thing. Do not let mistakes slow you down. Take the learning element from the experience and ensure that you do not make the same error again. There is always something to be learned from
Make decisions efficiently and execute on them
All else being equal, the fastest company to market, will usually win. Particularly in tech, speed is seen primarily as an asset in product development. Speed can become habitual though. As you garner feedback from your customers and begin to refine your feedback loop, you can execute decisions faster. This is the crux of developing speed as a habit. Make decisions, and execute on them.
“Fast decisions are far better than slow ones and radically better than no decisions.”
Many will argue that executing at speed leads to a loss of quality. Until you reach a point at which you are gaining market traction though, executing at speed and rapidly iterating allows startups to capture market share quickly.
Delegate decision Making
Empower others on your team to make decisions without the need to seek agreement with everyone. As a business owner, you should be as close as possible to your end users. If other team members are in close contact with your ideal customer, empower them to get the data they need to make decisions. We spoke about the importance of customer interviews before. Teams that execute fast and achieve success usually have less centralized decision making structures.
Speed is your competitive advantage
As a small team or startup, speed is your biggest competitive advantage. You have the ability to move fast where incumbents cannot. You don’t want to be like Blockbuster in a world where Netflix is executing quickly to move an entire industry forward.
As your startup learns to move quickly, it will naturally evolve faster than ever to the point of near-exponential growth. Also, once you learn to move quickly and maintain speed, a culture of speed naturally forms within your team. The faster you learn, the faster you evolve.
Matthew Johnson is the co-founder of Taskable, a smart to-do list and productivity assistant that helps you get into your workflow. In this interv...