When you find yourself with the spark of a great idea that sets of fireworks in your head for all its potential, all you can see is the end result: a product that makes users happy and the people who work for it satisfied with their results.
It’s doubly true for non-technical founders, as all the specialised work that comes with building an app is fogged over by the rose-tinted glasses of the dream of making it.
A clear end vision makes you blind to the details of the journey
To be truthful, there is a disconnection for every entrepreneur between what they imagine their app should become, and the actual work that goes into building an app and growing it until it reaches all the features one imagined in the beginning.
Many times, a founder will try to burn through stages, whether that means burning through money, burning through the stages of building an audience or designing the app, too focused on the end goal they have in mind. Sometimes, the way they hurry their product’s development – by pushing for tight deadlines or by wanting to jump key stages – stops them from seeing flaws that build up and become serious problems for the business. In worst case scenarios, such ignored flaws become the reason a startup fails.
We already know most startups fail because there is no product-market fit. It’s not hard to imagine that one of the reasons this happens is because some entrepreneurs are so busy dreaming big, they forget to pay attention to the day-to-day results of their work that would instruct them on the status of their business. It is, after all, too often said that the devil is in the details.
Plan for the long haul
Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you or any aspiring entrepreneur out there should stop dreaming big. In fact, the best thing to do is to dream big, and to also remember to plan small.
When you set out to turn your idea into the product you dreamt of, remember you’re actually setting out on a long journey. While it’s important to keep your destination in mind, paying attention to what you pack, following your route and checking transport schedules is also part of the deal.
How does this translate into the journey of building an app? Well, mostly it means planning activities and setting milestones.
Instead of, say, building an MVP without waiting for user feedback because what you’re aiming for is a product that’s more complex, have the patience to validate your product. Build a user base and even start bringing in some money, before upgrading your product.
Treat milestones as checkpoints to success
Milestones in your app development journey should be consistent results across a period of time. Things like how your app is performing, usage metrics, information about your users, how engaged they are and how it all translates into business value.
When your metrics are what you expect them to be at any given stage of your business, you’ll know you are doing well and are set to make further steps into the direction of the dream version of your product.
More so, when you allow yourself to plan small and to wait for results, you start seeing how different variables affect your product and your users’ experience of it. You start identifying problems before they have time to strongly affect your business, like fixing user experience issues before your app gets upgraded with new features and becomes more complex.
The hidden advantages of planning small
When you plan small, you unwillingly start working in increments that allow you to reflect. This gives you room to listen to your users and making the most out of your feedback sessions. Before you know it, your users’ feedback guides the growth of your product in the direction that most helps both them and your business.
Secondly, planning small lets you become more aware of your successes. You can’t be happy of the things you’ve accomplished, the things you’ve crossed off the to-do list, unless you put them there in the first place.
Keep your eyes on the prize and your ear to the ground
It’s an amazing feeling to have a product idea that flourishes into a dream with many facets, where all those involved, whether users, partners, investors or your team are satisfied. In many ways, it’s what keeps an entrepreneur going in their struggle to make their dream a reality.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remain grounded and to keep in mind that making a dream become a reality is hard work. It involves planning, evaluation, reflection. It involves paying attention to your users and giving your full attention to the stage your business is in. It involves making sure that both your product and its support systems, like marketing and customer support, are aligned.
In today’s tech world, what makes great entrepreneurs succeed isn’t the size of their dreams. It’s the amount of forethought they put into their planning and their dedication to making things happen. Our encouragement to you is to dream big when it comes to how great a product you can build. And at the same time, plan small when it actually comes to building your idea. That is how you give yourself the best chances to make it.