Anyone who has been obsessed with launching a startup has come across content that emphasizes the importance of shipping a product as soon as you can. It is the product of the popular Lean Startup movement called minimal viable product (MVP) and makes complete sense because if the concept doesn’t sell to customers with a bare bones solution, then how will a well developed product fair better? I believe in this concept, but as an entrepreneur, how do you know when your product meets the minimal viable product criteria? And how do you fight your own emotions that tell you what you have done is not good enough for the public?
Like many entrepreneurs taking the leap to launch a business, I have faced both questions and I believe that I launched later than I originally should have, but I don’t believe that the delay was a waste of time. I spent two years on Synotate before launching to the public a little over two weeks ago and I don’t regret the countless hours and sacrifices I made to finally launch this business. Each step of the way was a learning experience that has allowed me to make progress with the business faster now than I would have if I had gotten traction with a young product and tried to onboard customers and scale the product in an efficient and secure manner.
This is something that I believe is missing from a lot of the content that indicates that you most likely launched your product too late. I think it is important to consider your resources, skill level and the security of the product before making the decision of the launch. Don’t have the technical ability to make updates to the code powering your application? Be prepared to spend money on a developer. Storing personal information in plain text in your database because you aren’t aware of hashing and security best practices? Be prepared for massive repercussions if your product is exposed.
Launching a technology business is extremely difficult and I believe that taking a cautious approach to learning every aspect of the business from law to security to coding best practices was the best decision I could have made to set the business up for a successful future. It might have been the least rewarding feeling to launch after two years of work and not see splashy headlines like the hot new startup, but I’m playing the long game and now have the skillset that will allow me to improve the product daily, something a lot of minimal viable products aren’t able to do before customers start churning.