By Alex Bitoun |
There’s a big difference between creating a product that works and scaling that product to create value that improves the lives of people.
I’ve been fortunate enough to experience both.
I am not an expert. I am just passionate about a good cause. Here are three tips to increase growth in your startup company based on what I’ve learned and from my experience (the good, the bad, and the passion behind it).
Whatever you build, my suggestion is to ensure it improves the life of people.
To me, value means improving the lives of people. Everything must create value for people.
There are two parts to creating value. First, we must think outside the box. There is nothing wrong with making what exists better, but if you really want to increase your growth, you’ve got to see beyond how things are done today. You have to become curious about what creates value for your target market. Think about disruption. Think about new perspectives, things that have not been thought of yet.
Take Uber, for example, they did not just try to make the taxi business more efficient; they thought beyond that. They thought about how to create specific value for the end user—How do you make it easier for someone to get a ride?
Uber has completely changed the transportation industry, as opposed to someone who comes up with the idea of just taking things to the next level (e.g., creating an app where you can pay the cab driver through your phone). The company took a completely different route. By taking that risk to create disruption they’ve created huge value for people.
The second way to create value—see opportunities in every barrier. For example, when the idea of Airbnb came into play, one of the main questions probably was: “Would someone want strangers in their house?” There were hundreds of reasons why this idea could fail. However, they overcame each hurdle one by one because they saw each hurdle as an opportunity to be different.
Creating value means really focusing on who the users are and how we can improve their lives. Then the rest will come.
This is exactly what we are doing at Sagely right now. We are working directly with care partners and elders through our products and care program. Rather than focusing on who pays the bills, we are focusing on how we can improve the lives of elders. And this is a mission that everyone on the care team resonates with and wants to be part of, whether it’s the family, the community, the care partners, or the elders themselves.
If you are able to understand data and understand the way memory works in a computer, then you can understand the source for everything—the patterns, the usage of software, the reasons why something is happening, and the likeliness of certain events to take place to create something else.
When you start understanding data you can analyze it and you can make evidence-based decisions. This creates a huge value, especially right now, as you’re looking at trends within your industry. Move into real-time data. Figure out what’s happening right now. Then you’re that much closer to predicting what will happen.
As you begin to analyze the numbers and chart the trends, something powerful starts to happen—information begins to surface that transcends mere data, and starts to form into a plan. So now you’re moving towards artificial intelligence—predictive modeling—predicting what’s going to happen. You begin to ask: “What is likely to happen here?” The answers to these questions really start to separate you from your competition and that creates massive value.
The 80/20 Rule originates from the Pareto Principle. This principle is named after economist Vilfredo Pareto. He analyzed the economy in Italy and realized that 20% of the people owned 80% of the wealth. The principle states that if you focus on the initial 20% of what will make your business a success, you’re creating 80% of the value. There have been many studies on this principle and I have seen it hold true in my life. This means that when you are looking to increase your growth, be careful of the diminishing returns of getting consumed at looking at the details.
What do I mean by this? You see, getting the last details worked out on your product is very hard. For example, think about the idea of creating driverless cars. People will pay for it via an app and they are going to get a ride from these driverless vehicles whenever they want. Let’s say you came up with this idea in five minutes. In the 20% brain space, you created 80% of the value—that’s what Pareto is saying. However, you start getting deep into it and you begin to worry about how you’re going to handle tips, laws, ordinances, etc. And when you start looking at all those details it becomes very time-consuming and things begin to grind to a halt.
The reality is you don’t know the details until you get there. So, if you end up focusing on all the details too early and try to create that perfect design from the get-go, you won’t get very far. It’s a problem that often occurs in large companies. There are too many people focused on the details and nothing gets done.
My advice is to focus on getting that prototype ready. Get the excitement going and build value around the big picture. As you learn more and as people start to use your product, you’ll get feedback. That’s when you address how you’re going to work out all the details.
Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happen.” I think this sums it up pretty well.
Keeping the main thing the main thing.
There are a lot of elements that create success for a startup like yours—lots to focus on. However, if you can remain focused on these three big-picture principles you can save yourself a ton of time, perhaps even pave your way to success with the product and service you have in your hands right now.
Keep the main thing the main thing and then tackle the details later.
You’ll get paid for your success. But more importantly, you will have passion that comes from impacting the lives of people and positively transforming your community, your country…even the world.