“He who fails to plan, plans to fail” - Proverb
I have gone throughout much of my life not planning anything. In fact I’m so bad at planning that I figured there had to be an easier way and we came up with Holler. When we started Holler we had three things: a vision, an idea of what the first version of our product would look like, and money. We also were able to put together the beginning of a team to execute on the concept.
Lesson one: a vision is not a plan. I can tell you what the future looks like. I may or may not be right but one of the motivations on creating a product company was to help build that future. O.k., team assembled, company incorporated, money in the bank, “FORWARD MARCH!!” Off we went. With sheer persistence and determination we successfully got an iPhone app out the door. It wasn’t easy but we pulled it off.
That flood of initial users that you’re hoping for in the back of your mind didn’t come. While we’ve done fairly well at acquiring users, we wanted to simply see how the product as it existed would perform. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great. I then spent a couple weeks making some changes to the system and released the upgrade. The flood of traffic still didn’t arrive. Plan A went something like this:
Step 1: Build app
Step 2: Profit big time
Step 3: Hire other people to do the dirty work
Plan B, that didn’t exist. Let’s be honest as well, Plan A kind of sucked. Another piece of irony is that the last company I started didn’t really have much of a plan. All I knew was that I wanted a large blog and the rest would work itself out. As it turned out that reality came true and I managed to piece together other parts of the pie and build a business. It was almost an accident though. Again, I had started and eventually built a grand vision, but the plan behind that vision was never put in place.
Had I planned more effectively, I could have built something much larger. So now I’ve realized why it has been so hard to get to the next phase of our company: we hadn’t planned the next phase. Or another way to phrase it was that we didn’t have a long roadmap. Why am I sharing all this with you?
Ultimately it’s in the hopes that maybe you can learn something from our mistakes. Fortunately, we are now putting the finishing touches on our plan and continuing to execute on Holler. I’m looking forward to sharing some of our next steps in the near future. What’s your plan?