"Being true to your word is a very important part of building trust in business. Whether you are offering services or selling a product, make sure you always deliver on what you promise.
You can do everything else right, but if you are the guy or girl that promises the world and doesn’t deliver, your mistake will be uncovered in the end. Your reputation is everything and it will impact every business you start, not just this one.
It’s far better to under-promise and over-deliver, or at the very least deliver exactly what you promise every time.
4. Benchmark Against the Best
Launching quickly is important early on when the conditions are uncertain. Once you have a clear path, however, quality is more important. For example, with WP Curve, the first website took me three hours to put together. When it was clear the team was going ahead with the business, I put up a new site, and made sure it was well designed and faster than anyone else in the industry.
Any time you feel yourself wondering if what you are doing is good enough, compare it to the best:
Don’t ask your friends to pick between three logos. Instead, compare them all to Apple. If it’s nowhere near as good, try again.
If you write a blog post, compare it to one on KISSmetrics.com55. If it’s not as good, rewrite it.
If you launch a website, compare it to bench.com56 or simple.com57. If it’s nowhere near as good, then you can do better.
It’s often asking a lot for a small business to reach the levels of an established leader. You will be compared to leaders, and if you don’t measure up, then people will notice.
By comparing yourself to the best, you set higher expectations for yourself, and you will be better for it.
5. Learn From Others and Yourself
Don’t debate every last issue internally until you are blue in the face. Whatever you are discussing can probably be solved by either looking at what other companies have done before you, or implementing a quick decision and learning from the real data.
The minutiae that you are debating could be distracting you from a fundamental problem that you aren’t seeing.
Always take a step back and ask yourself if it’s feasible that someone else may have solved this problem before.
6. Outlearn Your Competition
Eric Ries says this best:
“Startups exist not just to make stuff, make money, or even serve customers. They exist to learn how to build a sustainable business. This learning can be validated scientifically by running frequent experiments that allow entrepreneurs to test each element of their vision.”
The companies that learn the quickest, win. This is partly because they do no not make decisions based on assumptions and partly because they learn from their predecessors. While your competitors are debating which assumption is better than the other, you can build a competitive advantage by gathering real information from your customers.
Eric Ries calls it “Build, Measure, Learn.”
Michael Masterson calls it “Ready Fire Aim.”
I call it “Getting Shit Done.”
7. Always Consider How Your Business Looks Without You
Don’t believe that people should only work on their business and not in their business. It’s crucially important that you do both.
However, you always need to be conscious of how your business will operate and grow without you. You’ll naturally gravitate to things that you do well, but if your skills are hard to replace, you have to be careful.
An easy way to do that is to consider what happens when the business is, say, five times as big. WP Curve has rough estimates for:
How many developers it will need (using an estimate of clients per developer).
How many project managers it will need (using an estimate of clients per project manager).
What payment fees, admin fees, and affiliate fees are per client.
How much paid content creators will cost.
How much a reasonable marketing expense is.
How much a reasonable expense is for other items like conferences, video equipment, etc."