On The Secret of Launching Things That Are Just Good Enough

Have you ever spent hours and hours trying to craft something into perfection? Maybe an essay, article, website or product? Ask yourself honestly: Was it worth it?

In my experience, perfection is overrated. While it is true that the devil is in the details and that you will win a lot with perfection in most situations—the road to perfection will take more time than you have.

Instead, spend that time on launching something that is good enough to get your customers or stakeholders excited and spend the time you win on improving it rapidly with the feedback from actual users. There is nothing worse, for your reputation or your financials, than launching a product that it turns out isn’t exactly what your customers want. Few products are.

An argument that I typically hear when coaching start-ups is that they cannot risk anyone finding out about the product. While this fear is warranted in some situations, products and services aren’t as easily copied as you may think. It still takes a competitor considerable resources to beat you to market, with a better product than what you are already starting to launch.

Quickly iterating (or what we throw around with all the craze: being agile) is simply the key of launching something that eventually will turn into something big, while minimizing your financial risk. Try it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Business / Marketing

On Flexible Working Hours and Trusting Employees

Last week, I wrote about my goal of becoming an early riser. Today, I want to highlight how flexible working hours, and in turn just trusting your employees can do wonders for your team (especially if they are remote).

It may seem a no-brainer to trust your employees, yet I have worked closely with organizations and in teams who felt the need to exercise their control through trying to enforce special hours—even for a distributed team.

Here’s the thing, while I am not strictly against office hours (they are good for lots of reasons!) being able to shift away from them can make sure team much more productive. Plus, I am a firm believer in that putting trust in people is one of the best ways of making them excel at what they do.

If you have good internal communication channels, it is more likely that flexible working hours will actually improve your teams output, rather than the other way around because let’s face it, much of our days are, and should be, spent working by ourselves and trying to be productive.

Looking for my quick recipe? Go the middle ground. Let people be flexible with when they work, as long as they get the work done and as long as they overlap somewhat so that the same is actually working at the same time because issues do arise that are best solved spontaneously together.

Apart from that, trust your employees to do a good job—whenever they want to do it—and I promise that you’ll see an improvement in your team output.

Business

On Being an Early Riser

“The Early Bird Catches the Worm”. This is just one of the many sayings about the importance of being early. If there’s one thing that studies commonly show about “successful people” it is that they tend to rise early.

Myself, I am a wannabe morning person. I’m not the one to sleep away the whole mornings, but I am also not the one to naturally get up really early. But I want to be.

Why is this you ask? It’s actually quite simple. You get ahead. Quickly. Just think about it. If you are up and start your day at 5am, you will have had time to catch up on the news, do some important work and be ready to tackle the rest of the world as it wakes up around 8-9am. It works because most people do not get up early, but if you do, you are already at an advantage to everyone else.

As uncomfortable as it may feel, a personal goal of mine is trying to be an early riser. At least a 6am start is where I want to end up. I also know that I am much more effective in the morning hours compared to late at night in general.

I’ll be the first to admit that it is a bit of a challenge, but improving is never easy and we all like a bit of a challenge once in a while, right? So we’ll just have to see in a few months: Have I become the early riser that I want to be?

Business / Productivity

On Networking vs. Building a Network

I’m sure you have also been to one of these parties where someone is schmoozing their way through, deciding instantly if you are someone who could be valuable to them. Sadly, this has become known as networking.

Generally, speaking about networking, people tend to be too business focused and naive. See, it isn’t all about immediate business, it is about building a network with fun, interesting and kind people. Instead of thinking about what this person can do for you right now, be human and make friends.

Networking with the goal of building long-term relationships are what builds up a good network with people. Plus, just as with traveling and meeting people, it is much more fun.

I make it a point to actively keep growing my network. Reaching out to people. Connecting. Talking. If you feel that you don’t have a good enough network—and you should!—make it a point to try and connect with someone new every week. Just think about what a great network you will have in just a few short years.

Let me tell you the real key though. It is being genuinely interested in people, what they do and who they are. This is how you build long-term relationships that are worth something both personally and in your career or business.

Business / Marketing

On remote teams, managing them and in-person meetings

All the craze nowadays is about how you can manage your entire business online and build virtual teams. Last week I wrote about how important I think in-person meetings are, and that I don’t think they can be completely replaced. I do however completely believe in online and remote teams.

Putting it in another way, how could I not? I built most of my customer base in the United States while being based in Sweden, having never set foot in the US, that before I even had local clients. What a different world we live in today and am I not grateful for being able to have these opportunities!

The thing is, for a remote team to work, all parties need to believe in it. If it is us with a client, the client also needs to believe that geography isn’t an obstacle. Not all clients do. It is the same with a more typical team. Everyone needs to be on board with the idea.

I have worked in projects, both us with clients, and in other positions that failed miserably because not everyone believed it could be done and would take responsibility for making it work.

You see, the key, I believe, to remote teams is to use a lot of text based communications in an open chatroom kind of format as possible. This creates the office atmosphere and what I think is most important, creates a transparent environment that you have in an office.

Email is a very closed system that ideally is just between a couple of people. In an open chatroom, your team can read up on conversations between other team members, may jump in with an insight, and at the very least just be aware of what is going on in the organization.

All projects with remote teams that I have worked with that have failed, have lacked this transparency and openness. Consider this a key to a successful remote team. And remember the two golden rules of communication: Nobody has ever been blamed for communicating too much, and, communication is what the listener does.

Business