This undertaking has been much more than I imagined, even already. There’s an old saying that I refer to from time to time.
It’s not what you know you don’t know, it’s what you don’t know you don’t know that will get you.
Shifting My Mindset
Over the weekend, I read Start Small, Stay Small (I also bought a few extra copies that I’m going to be giving away), and so much of it really blew my mind.
Focusing On the Product
Here’s a common scenario ever since I learned even the most basic programming task. I’m sitting at work or at home using a piece of software, and I think to myself, “I could totally make this better.”
I know, completely arrogant, and a little ridiculous, but tell me you haven’t done the same! Tell me you haven’t sat using Quickbooks for some reason and thought to yourself that if you ever had the time, you could write a better solution for business owners to keep their books.
What’s the second thought?
“Intuit made $4.2 BILLION dollars in 2015. Imagine what I could make with a better product?!”
I start thinking of the features Quickbooks has but doesn’t need; what it needs but doesn’t have; how unintuitive (no pun intended) the interface can be. Give me an uninterrupted year, and I’ll meet you at the billionaires club.
Make a better product, and people will line up to pay for it.
I know it’s unfair to disparage a perfectly good and extremely profitable company, but my point is that I’ve always been focused on the product. I imagine what database tables are needed, how you would code little portions, what the menu headings should read, etc.
Never once do I think of marketing, or advertising, SEO, business partnerships, or sales teams. After this weekend, I realized that this is why Intuit is so successful. They put the lion’s share of their time and energy into getting people to buy their software.
Learning What You Don’t Know
It has slowly been sinking in, but it’s hard to argue that the product is the least important part of running a business. If people don’t buy your product, who cares how much better it is?
If I’m being honest, here’s how I really imagined this process going. Code up an app, email some people, throw them a free invite, get a mention or two from prominent bloggers, and watch the service grow. If the product is superior, people will talk about, tell their friends, and everyone will switch over.
Now I have a glimpse of why I saw a fat ZERO for sign-ups when I’ve launched products before.
I’ve only been vaguely aware that SEO, search keyword rankings, marketing, advertising, sales funnels, and partnerships exist, but have had no clue how important they are to your success.
This is worse than learning a new programming language, or database, because I don’t have the transferable skills or vocab to even understand the concepts right now. I have full confidence that I’ll learn it quickly, but I just feel like I keep putting more books into my Kindle queue.
At some point, I know I have to just say that I know enough and get to work, but I want to give myself a better chance of success from the jump.
My first step towards success is a realization that I have to focus less on the product. I have to become the sales guy, the SEO guy, the marketing guy.
I’m learning a lot and feeling a mix of being completely overwhelmed with how far I have to go, but at the same time being excited about a new challenge and learning experience.
Got a favorite book or blog that will help? Know the best SEO girl in the biz? Share your thoughts below or shoot me an email.
As always, I appreciate you sharing your own valuable time to read and interact. If there is anything that I can help with, please reach out.