If your just starting your business or bringing your business idea to life, here’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard: Don’t focus on scale.
When you focus on scale you hinder and delay other important decisions that need to be made now in your business. They are being hindered by a problem you may or may not have later down the road.
Yes, I know no one wants to think of their business not taking off to be the next big thing, but truth is if you focus to much on your destination you’ll never be able to get out of the driveway. Getting your product out the door is paramount, if you don’t have someone that will actually pay for your product then don’t spend so much time scaling something that doesn’t need to be scaled, not to mention the cost.
Imagine building a web app that you think will be a smashing hit, but you don’t yet have any customers yet, so you guess on the things that would want in said app. You build this extensive and beautiful app around assumptions that you have made. Which those assumptions may or may not be right.
You may have gotten some people to say “Yeah I’d pay for that” but they don’t actually give you money, well because it was still an idea when you asked them. Then come to find out when you spend all the time and money to build the app and you go back to them and say here it is. But they don’t buy because it doesn’t do x or integrate with y.
Yes you could pay the developer a new contract to go back in and fix those things and add those features after already spending thousands on a product that doesn’t work for your potential clients. Yes that is a path you could take, but frankly a painful very expensive one, and one that could put you out of business before you even really get started.
So how do you remedy this problem? I’ll give you a hint it’s in the beginning of the article. Don’t worry about scale when you first get going, worry about now. Get what you need now to make a minimum viable product. Once you start getting sales and feedback then you reiterate and make it better as you go.
Once you get users in the door of your MVP webapp and you find out what they really want. You find out by taking feedback, then you can get a bigger and better picture of what you need to take things to the next level.
Only once you have a solid user base, you focus on the scale of your app. At that point worry about how shiny it is and how great it integrates with every piece of hardware your users wants it on. Focus on getting the core of your app/business honed in on what users will gladly pay you for. Then you perfect it.
No sense in renovating a house that’s haunted, no one will buy it.
By starting small it’s easy to go back and make major changes, and have the ability to scrap the entire code base and start over if necessary.
If it’s simpler to build it’s usually not scalable and that’s ok, it makes it easier to go back and make changes that are necessary for you to succeed in the long run.