You know one of the 'continuous issues' I come up against when consulting for startups is trying to impress upon them the need for urgency.
I can never stress this enough that speed to market whilst not everything (management experience and executive execution is on the other hand everything) - it does make 'coming out' to the market so much easier.
4 times this year I've been pulling my hair out in frustration with different startups, where the eventual outcomes would have been so much more advanced if they had speed to market.
They are all on the path to various levels of success but when you have an innovative concept and start along the path of eventual release your job in getting customers, marketing and traction is just so much easier when you aren’t the 5th company to release the latest and greatest acme widget.
Today’s news is tomorrows fish & chips wrapper (lol I don’t think many people are going to get the reference these days).
I don't mean delivering products half cocked but basically get the crap stuff like web sites, marketing, product definition and brand identity also basic logistics like crm, hosting, phone numbers, urls, fulfillment (if delivering physical product), legal services and pro-forma contracts, banking services and ecommerce processing.
All the crap above should not take more than 7-10 days MAX!!!!
Guy Kawasaki has a great section in his book about the 80% rule and that going to market is the ultimate immediate target. It will never be 100% plus your customers are going to give you better feedback on the last 20% than you ever could think of so release already.
Oh also while on the topic...if you are developing something technical....once you finish coding you are only 25% of the way there. Get over it already....yes it may feel to you like you just gave birth but other people are now going to bitch slap your baby around to get it ready for the world - stop being a primadonna.
Also anyone in startups pitching to me 2-3 year projects I tend to consider them naive. I only care whats going to happen in the next 6 months after that you're really only guessing.
The shorter more defined the time frames the better as far as I'm concerned.
BTW as way of example - I only ever sign consulting agreements with companies for 12 weeks. Any longer than that I've realised that they get a little 'loose' with your time and start loosing focus.
Basically my goal is that before I start day one I pretty much have 80% of what I'm going to do in that 12 weeks defined so that there is a time limit race to get it all achieved.
I want to give you examples of where each of the 4 companies got bogged down but this wouldn't be appropriate but I'm sure if you look at your own startup you'll be able to find stuff that you've screwed up on as well.
So if you are reading this and thinking of calling me to come in and help, make sure you have your running shoes on because if I'm working 14 hour days - you better be prepared to keep up.