You are not Google (don't have a million customers, so don't think about the future)

failed challenges goals business

Let me tell you about the weight loss programme 1 - Project, which I worked on for half a year… And purchased by less than 10 buyers…

We worked as a team, with a specialist manager, a few marketers, a few support staff, a designer and me as a programmer.

Since we have found a generous investor, we have set high goals - this will be an exclusive programme, so we need it to work for all users. It needs to be scalable - we don't have problems when we have thousands of active users at the same time. It needs to be fast, efficient and high quality.

We worked hard and we succeeded - we launched the programme.

...There were no buyers.

We have started advertising more intensively.

Facebook and Google soon blocked our ads. Why? It turns out that these platforms don't make it easy to advertise "weight loss" programmes - ads with these words are automatically rejected and not seen by anyone. We didn't know about this beforehand. And now, here's the problem... Our app has these words in the title, and now it would be a lot of work to swap the titles all over the place. Hm...

Influencers refused to promote our app. Because, again, it turns out I don't like the name, and even more than the name, I don't like the one unique exercise of the programme on which the whole system is based. There is also a problem - after all, it would be absurd to take Monopoly money out of the Monopoly game, so it is impossible to take out this exercise of ours without destroying the essence of the programme.

And the number of advertisements that have been run have not attracted the public, and there have been only a few purchases, certainly not enough for business.

Google, Apple, Microsoft and other tech giants have an audience that will buy anything.

And you don't. We didn't have it. All we had was the idea that "this will work", investors' money and lots of free time. We worked. We put many hours into the preparation, the planning, the branding, the launch.

...When it would have been enough to launch some super-ordinary prototype first, and then adapt it to a wider audience if the need arose.

Actually, I was not the only one to make this mistake. Experienced companies with inexperienced managers make this mistake too.

For example:

  • Quibi - a platform for short video clips, a competitor to Youtube and Netflix. Retrieved from 1750 million dollars! Launched in April 2020, closed in December because there were simply no viewers - no market demand. Later, the video production that was produced for the project was sold for less than 100 million dollars.
  • CNN+ - a news and documentary platform, also a competitor to YouTube and Netflix. Launched in March 2022, closed in April 2022 🙂 Tucked over 300 million Dollars received from subscriptions just 0.3 million dollars.
  • Fresh market (case in Lithuania) - a chain of shops, a competitor of Maxima and Barbara, was put in at least 10 million The company spent €1.5 billion (probably at least twice as much), launched an online trading system, and went bankrupt just a year later. The market was not ready at that time (2014-2015) either.

What am I trying to say with all this?

Investing large amounts of time, attention and money in a grand future is only optimal if you already have customers - you can prove to yourself that there will be customers, enough of them.

It is better to run a system that will break down with the number of buyers than a system that has no buyers at all. A potential buyer, if he really wants to buy, will wait until you have an alternative, but he's not interested in a perfect system that... well, he's just not interested. That's why the popular Agile or Lean management systems.

I think the same approach can be applied not only to business management, but also to personal challenges or, say, creativity.

  • For example, you might want to go jogging. Do you now need to find the best running shoes and the best running route? I think not - I believe you can run with just any old sneakers you have or to run, barefootif that's what you want.
  • Or would you like to sell the paintings you create? Do you now need to spend 60 years learning the craft of art before you can start selling what you have created? I'm sure not. (I would apply this even more to creation itself - it is better to have bad creation than no creation at all, because at least you learn something for the future.)
  • Or you want to improve your relationship with your mother. Do you need to think of some super-duper-fun-plan to make your mum happy? Well... I'm sure not. I believe that a simple invitation to go to the theatre together, or even just a bouquet of flowers, is quite enough!

Thinking and strategising is good, but just doing is even better. And while you're doing it, see if you need to continue at all.

Google and the other internet giants need to take care in advance, because if Google launches a chair rental system tomorrow (say), they will definitely have more orders than you will. Just because they already have millions, billions of fans and potential buyers. And you, me, we probably have only ten of them. Different sizes, different targets.

  1. I won't name it, because legally I can't do that. Well, the programme itself is already closed.

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