By Jared O’Toole
May 7, 2009
As I have entered this crazy world of entrepreneurship, I have noticed a few key things that have kept my ventures moving forward. Launch, Learn, Revise, and Repeat. Seems so simple, but this process is what will make any project a success in the end.
This is by far the most important and most feared step of the process. Too many people have ideas yet never do anything. They make a product and are never satisfied and keep tweaking until they are sick of the product themselves. Launch it! You have to put yourself out there. This is first step is the biggest, but most satisfying hurdle to overcome. Obviously if you don’t implement your idea it never has the chance to succeed or fail. Not a SINGLE project has ever launched with everything perfect. The idea is in place, but the expression of it is rarely fully developed. That is just fine! Don’t run from this step.
Now you have launched your project, it’s time to listen and learn. Put yourself out there as far as you can go. Gather all that good and bad feedback. Analyze everything people say no matter how outrageous. Maybe this person is just bored and feels like putting your project down, but there also might be a reason behind this. What made them rip apart your project? You can’t take everything to heart, but many times there is an underlying reason your stuff got criticized. Also be sure to listen to the good feedback and aim to develop those parts of the project. When someone praises something, look to see how you can make that even better. This is focusing on what you’re doing well and making it great! Many times this is more important then fixing the things that you aren’t so good at because you will waste time and energy on things you only hope will be decent.
Now here is the tricky part about listening. You have to listen to the things that aren’t being said. What? This is where you ask yourself questions like: Why aren’t people praising my work? Why does everyone come to my homepage and immediately move on? Why aren’t people criticizing my work!? There can be many reasons for these things. Maybe people don’t get your Web site and you need a hook phrase front and center on your home page to pull people in. Maybe if nothing is being said you aren’t edgy enough. Putting yourself on an edge means you will get lots of criticism, but also praise. Either way, people are talking about you because there is something different about your project.
It’s tricky, but you have to learn to listen to everything that is and is not being said.
It’s time to take all that info you gathered by listening and put it to good use. Start making changes to your project accordingly. One thing I think too many people believe is that this means something like an entire Web site makeover. In reality it’s usually much smaller. Learn to revise simple things like each word in a sentence. Make each word raise the readers’ eyebrows. Maybe a color change from green to blue. These simple changes are what add up over time to create a powerful project.
Always repeat this process. Once you start revising things you have to launch those revisions! Then gauge the response to those revisions and continue to tweak them. No matter how successful you are this process should never stop. There are always things that can be made better.
But remember this whole process is pointless if you never get out there and launch your project for the world to see!
Jared O’Toole graduated from Ithaca College in May 2008 with a degree in finance. He quickly realized the corporate world was not for him and started to pursue his own dreams as an entrepreneur. Since then he has co-founded http://tv.factor77.com where he helps deliver much-needed business advice to entrepreneurs and business owners via interviews with business experts. He is also the co-founder of the newsletter http://helpanentrepreneur.com, which allows anyone to submit their upcoming business events to be published in the weekly newsletter for everyone to see and attend. Corp! is pleased to welcome Jared as an ongoing contributor to our Gen Y Advice department.