If you’re not embarrassed by the first prototype you put in front of a prospective customer, then you launched too late.  Your instinct will be to postpone your launch until your product is perfect.  The problem with this approach is that you also delay vital customer feedback.  By avoiding customers, you can easily waste months (or years) of effort building something that nobody wants.  The only way to figure out the needs of the market is to launch quickly and get in front of customers.  Get conversations started early and you’ll be amazed at the epiphanies you’ll have.  It’s not uncommon to discover that you missed necessary functionality, or that customers don’t care about what you thought was indispensable.  The sooner you know this, the less money you’ll waste.  The only way to learn is to ask, and the best way to ask is to put a prototype in front of an actual customer.  If you’re building software, make a prototype.  Even if you mock it up with features that don’t exist in the application, a prototype allows customers to see where you’re going and give high-quality feedback.  If you’re starting a service-related business, create slick marketing materials.  However you do it, get in front of customers immediately.  If you’re not embarrassed, then you waited too long.

Matt Sand

Author Matt Sand

Passionate about making a difference through innovation and entrepreneurship.

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