One of the most critical aspects of an entrepreneur’s journey is the balancing of resources. An entrepreneur seeking to solve a problem needs to get to product-market fit before running out of money. Spending too much money before problem-solution fit will tend to tip the scales towards solution bias – a deadly position to be in.
As such, it is critical that you know what stage you’re at in the journey from problem identification to launch. You want to be in a bootstrapping mindset when you’re working on understanding the problem, the market and the competitive landscape. You want to be entirely focused on understanding all the parts that play into a problem and what triggers it.
After validating the problem – and properly understanding it – you start prototyping the solution or different aspects of it. You want to validate the assumptions that make up your idea. That costs money. However, since you’re still exploring and understanding the business opportunity, you want to remain in a bootstrapping mentality. Spending money this early will unconsciously give you the impression that your idea is polished. Worse still, you will start falling in love with the idea – a big no no at this stage. Being disciplined at this stage of your journey is detrimental to the success of your endeavour.
Once you’ve reached product-market fit, it’s time to spend. It’s time to give your idea the full shot it deserves to succeed. Great products will eventually prevail, but a full-on launch will go a long way to providing you with the initial buzz necessary. That’s especially the case if you’re planning a crowdfunding campaign where you have a fixed time window to reach your launch goal.
I’ve been facing these sorts of decisions with the tray-table I’m developing. I’m at the stage where marketing collateral needs to be prepared for the Kickstarer page – things like an explanatory video, photos, stop motion and infographics. The balancing act between spending a little higher because you believe in your product and wanting to remain in a bootstrapping mentality is a tough one. Keep in mind that the success of a crowdfunding campaign is validation for product-market fit in my case. As such, I need to remain incredibly disciplined with the resources at my disposal.
Being aware of where you’re at as an entrepreneur is vitally important. If you run out of resources before reaching product-market fit then it’s game over. It’s as if you’ll have more problems the more money you have (and decide to spend) early on. Stay disciplined out there.