If you’re going to do it, do it fast

A while ago I was asked to consult with a group of very driven people who wanted to create something. They were a SaaS startup and ready to go for their next round of funding (basically a second, larger angel raise) and they were trying to plan out a timeline to show investors where and when they expected to deploy the capital. The team came in and laid out a fairly exhaustive plan for the next three years of their business. They had financial projections, hiring projections, feature projections, you name it and they probably had it.

The only problem was, they were projecting that it would take two full years until a working beta would be available.

Now this startup was in the consumer SaaS space. Two years there is like 5 in other industries. So we worked together to cut as much fat as possible out of their plan and eventually got them down to a beta in about 3-5 months. My point in writing this is this: If you can’t create and test something with users within a few months you need to reevaluate your featureset. Ideally you should be able to get something to the users much faster than this because their feedback should be the driver of what you build next. The tighter you can make that feedback loop the better.

So please, if you ever need help with an idea I’m happy to take a look, just don’t walk in with an expected beta launch that’s 24 months away.