> The Four Steps To The Epiphany Book Review – Put Aside Your Pride and Ego When Starting a Business
The Four Steps To The Epiphany Book Review – Put Aside Your Pride and Ego When Starting a Business
Do you know why nine out of ten startups fail? It is very simple: founders have an idea and they ‘ASSUME’ (read: ASS-U-ME – “asses are you and me as founders if we assume”) that whatever they came up with will be profitable without seeking constant feedback from potential customers from the very beginning.
They lock themselves down in the war bunker and rush to develop their idea into software, product or business model and they burn through a lot of money and waste time unnecessarily without getting out and asking their potential customers first if they desperately need their miracle solution and if they would pay for it. Some say that startup founders do it this way because they don’t know any better – I disagree, I think this happens because of pride and ego.
Many are full of pride and that is why they refuse to be humble and go find their future customer, his needs and pains first and then develop a profitable business model. They assume they have a profitable business model first and they build a business without checking if there is a demand for it.
This is a paradox: the fear of being told they are wrong stops many from doing the customer discovery work first. As a result the mistake becomes amplified and more painful down the road. Being wrong is the important part of the startup process: have an idea – go out and validate it by talking to customers – modify it until you make it work or trash it if you can’t. You are in this to make money, not to be proven right or wrong – nobody cares about it but your ego.
There is no room for pride here, you have to be humble and admit if the assumptions were wrong and bend them until you find a problem with enough demand and provide a solution for it that makes a profit. Here are few (not all) of the reasons startups fail:
- Arrogance: we know there is a demand and we don’t need anybody else to prove it. (as pointed out by a friend, this is true for things like a cure for cancer and perpetuum mobile)
- Fear of your idea being stolen: your idea is worthless – the execution is the key (inventions are an exception here). I can’t prove it to you in one sentence here, Steve Blank did it a lot better in this excellent post: Someone Stole My Startup Idea.
Idea of customer development is not just a theoretical assumption, Steve Blank has been there, done that for twenty years and speaks from personal experience. His book “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” breaks the process of finding out if there is a demand for the startup idea down to every single detail and explains each step clearly – there is no room for unnesessary waste of time and money if you follow the steps outlined in the book.
The Four Steps to Epiphany is a very detailed and practical book that will help you to avoid many pitfalls when starting a business and it is worth a lot more than its price – this is a practical knowledge for life.
P.S. I recommend you read first Millionaire Fastlane book for general money management and startup advice.